Russia’s role in helping the Iranian nuclear program is mostly ignored

This has largely gone without comment in the blogosphere:

MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin said on Friday he was convinced Iran was not trying to build a nuclear weapon and that Russia would press ahead with nuclear cooperation with the Islamic Republic.

Putin’s defense of Iran, where Russia is building a nuclear power plant, comes in the face of U.S. concerns that Tehran could be using Russian know-how to covertly build a nuclear weapon.

“The latest steps by Iran convince Russia that Iran indeed does not intend to produce nuclear weapons and we will continue to develop relations in all sectors, including peaceful atomic energy,” Putin told Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rohani.

“We hope Iran will strictly stick to all agreements with Russia or the international community,” Putin said at the start of talks with Rohani at the Kremlin.

The United States has criticized Moscow for pressing ahead with construction of a 1,000-megawatt reactor at Bushehr in southern Iran.

Russia’s top nuclear officials are due to travel to Iran next week to finalize the final technicalities of its start-up later this year.

The question of Russia’s nuclear ties with Iran is certain to figure in a summit between Putin and President Bush in the Slovak capital Bratislava on Feb. 24.

Most bloggers have so far concentrated on the negotiations France, Germany and Great Britain are conducting with Iran, in the hope of preventing the country from arming itself with nuclear weapons. The fact that Iran wouldn’t even have the capability of doing so without Russian help is rarely mentioned. I hope that this summit will change that, and also that Bush can persuade Putin to cut that crap out.

10 thoughts on “Russia’s role in helping the Iranian nuclear program is mostly ignored”

  1. I wonder if President Bush still has the warm and fuzzy opinion of President Putin that Bush had early on.

  2. Ralf, This revelation of the Russian/Iranian/Syrian alliance raises many questions. Just one: is Russia still conducting a proxy-war against capitalist America, even after Glasnost, Perestroika, and the fall of the Berlin Wall?

    Just as innuendo gets trampled by facts, proxy-warfare fails when the proxies are directly confronted. Removing Saddam has illuminated the proxies and their patrons.

    I’m beginning to believe that Horowitz’ “Unholy Alliance,” an operational alliance between radical islam and global leftists, was the final, logical, strategic deboubt of Russia’s Primakov communists. They weren’t going to let America’s apparent victory over them stand for long.

    I think we declared victory in the Cold War too soon. Tired of the expensive conflict, harangued by socialist sympathizers at home, tempted to wear the mantel of “Victor,” and too ready to spend the illusory “peace dividend,” our nation claimed the victory prematurely.

    There’s still a lot of sweeping up left to do.
    (Today, Fox news is reporting that Russian nuclear materials are “unaccounted for.”)

  3. Steve, I would not interpret this as an anti-capitalist war. I doubt that Putin is a communist. If he believes in anything, it is that what is good for him is good for Russia. We are dealing with totalitarian nationalists. Ambition and greed matter more than ideology here.

    Perhaps you are interested in this article

  4. Werner, most “communists” in the USSR were not really communists. They were opportunists who used communism for personal gain. Putin was just better connected for the transition to nationalism than most of his comrades.

    Europe would have to join Bush in confronting Putin, for it to have any effect. Since Europe lacks the balls, it won’t happen.

    I suspect that the CIA is in the process of building a better network of human intelligence within the Russian government than it has had in a long time. (certainly under Madame Albright the Russians had free access to everything in the State Department) There may be little to gain at this time in publicly revealing the genuine antagonism that exists between the two countries regarding Iran and other proxies.

  5. (link)Health of men in Russia is rapidly decliningBy MARK MCDONALDKnight Ridder NewspapersST. PETERSBURG, Russia – A 90-pound chunk of masonry breaks off the facade of a high-rise building and crushes a man on the sidewalk below. Another man, stumbling home from a late-night party, falls in the street, passes out and freezes to death. Two men break into a railroad yard and die after drinking several quarts of industrial solvent from a tanker car.There are so many odd and horrible ways to die in Russia that it’s almost no surprise that the average Russian man isn’t expected to see his 59th birthday. Men in Bangladesh live longer.”Normally only during wartime do we see the kind of decreases in men’s longevity that we’ve seen recently in Russia,” said Vladimir I. Simanenkov, the head of the department of internal diseases at the St. Petersburg Medical Academy and a senior official with the city’s Public Health Committee.Government statistics show that the average Russian man lives 58.6 years, compared with 73 years for the average Russian woman. In 1990, life expectancy for men was 63.4 years.The reasons sound simple: Russian men drink too much, smoke too much, live with too much stress and go to the doctor too rarely.The consequences are anything but simple, however. Russia’s erupting men’s health crisis could trigger major social or political unrest in a nation with huge stockpiles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.Russia one day could even become incapable of patrolling its borders or policing vast expanses of rural emptiness, creating new havens for smugglers, terrorists and others. Military leaders already complain that most new draftees are so unfit, drug-addled or psychologically damaged that only about 10 percent are capable of withstanding boot camp.Death rates are soaring for stroke, lung cancer, stomach cancer, TB and heart disease, the nation’s No. 1 killer with a rate double that of American men.Murray Feshbach, an expert on Russian health and demographics at the Smithsonian Institution’s Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, says the situation will grow worse.He said the country’s HIV/AIDS infection rates rival those of southern Africa, and that Russia is undercounting deaths from the disease by attributing many of them to secondary infections such as tuberculosis. By 2020, he said in a telephone interview, HIV/AIDS alone is projected to kill 250,000 to 648,000 Russians a year.Hepatitis C, mostly caused by intravenous drug use, also is poised to explode, Feshbach said.In the next 20 years, according to Goskomstat, the state statistics agency, the Russian National Security Council and the United Nations Population Division, Russia’s population of 144 million could drop by a third.Russian women would have to have almost twice as many children (2.4) as they’re having now (1.3) just to keep the population from declining, but Russia has one of the world’s highest abortion rates. Some surveys suggest that there are more abortions than births.============================================
    (link)Winter 2005Russia, The Sick Man of Europe By Nicholas EberstadtThe Russian Federation today is in the grip of a steadily tightening mesh of serious demographic problems, for which the term “crisis” is no overstatement. This crisis is altering the realm of the possible for the country and its people — continuously, directly, and adversely. Russian social conditions, economic potential, military power, and international influence are today all subject to negative demographic constraints — and these constraints stand only to worsen over the years immediately ahead.Russia is now at the brink of a steep population decline — a peacetime hemorrhage framed by a collapse of the birth rate and a catastrophic surge in the death rate. The forces that have shaped this path of depopulation and debilitation are powerful ones, and they are by now deeply rooted in Russian soil. Altering Russia’s demographic trajectory would be a formidable task under any circumstances. As yet, unfortunately, neither Russia’s political leadership nor the voting public that sustains it have even begun to face up to the enormous magnitude of the country’s demographic challenges.

  6. I made the the previous post because it highlights what I consider to be the depth of Russia’s problems. More than anything else, Putin needs friends. Russia has tremendous natural resources that can buy it some time with which to make changes, but it needs friends. And since the United States is the only power not sitting on Russias border eyeing its territory, we are its logical friend.

    Needless to say why Putin is supplying Nuclear technology to the mullahs, whilst they are instigating the chechen insugency is beyond me. Or has he made a deal?

  7. Mssr’s. Schwarz and Werner, thank you for your references. They only paint a darker picture. Crimeny!

    Communism has always been a catch-phrase for the anti-democratic centralization of power: it is Fascism dressed as Collective Welfare. And your comments conclude that it is alive and well in Russia.

    Towards the end of the Cold War, we weren’t only being harangued by domestic socialists. Our current critics in the halls of power of old Europe and Russia are the same ones who organized in Bonn, Paris and Moscow to oppose Reagan’s Pershing II missiles in the early eighties.

    Blogs like the Eurabiantimes, Frontpagemag and Europundit have all touched on this: German Foreign Minister, Joshka Fischer’s pro-Soviet activism at that time is too late forgotten. And, Alain Jospin, Chirac’s prior Communist PM, enacted that country’s command economy: the 35-hour work week. He capitulated to the trucking unions when they blocked the Chunnel, and he promoted France’s anti-American agendas in the WTO, UN Human Rights Commission, UN Climate Change Conference, UN Iraqi Sanctions Committee, etc.

    Neither politician has ever hidden his ideological animosity toward our liberal captalist system. There should be no wonder why they “hate us.”


  8. Steve,

    Russia is no longer able to conduct a cold wqar againsdt America, but they do like to play spoilers. Russia, and to some extent China are in some ways nothing but over-sized versions of France.

    As to Russia’s demographic, health and other problems that Robert posted about: : I’m preparing a post that treats this context.

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