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Author`s name Michael Simpson

Military Operation in Syria and Iran? Idle Speculation!

There is no need to persuade Russia that spreading of weapons of mass destruction all over the world must be stopped; and this concerns not only Iran, President Putin
The previous week was abundant in international affairs. In fact, many of the events were connected with the celebration of the 300th anniversary of St.Petersburg. Leaders of 40 states came to the city, where they have touched upon a great variety of international problems. Certainly, visit of the US president to St.Petersburg and his meeting with Russia President Vladimir Putin was in the focus of the days.

It won't make sense to mention all the subject discussed during the negotiations, there were too many of them. Summit talks are held not every month, that is why the range of urgent bipartite problems all countries have to discuss is considerable to draw attention of the leaders of Russia and the USA. However, one problem hass certainly turned out to be the most painful for both sides. Iran has recently become the main target for the criticism of the present-day administration. Future relations of Russia and the USA with Iran are not clear yet.

What is the result of the talks held by Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush? To all appearances, the results are rather vague. The USA is still sure that Iran's nuclear program is dangerous for development of the American power engineering. Russia, on the contrary, disagrees with this opinion. Does it mean that Washington will proceed with the anti-Iran campaign? Yes, it is highly likely that it will. However, it remains still undecided what the campaign will be and in what aspects it is expected to be carried out.

Many observers notice that both, Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush tried to avoid making harsh statements connected with the situation in Iran. Neither criticized each other. And this is quite clear: diplomacy is a very delicate art. After all, the presidents gathered for the celebration of St.Petersburg's anniversary, and it would be inappropriate to get quarreled because of different opinions concerning the future of Iranian ayatollas.

It's interesting that on the eve of the visit to Russia, George W. Bush said in an interview with Russia's television Rossiya: "We've had all kinds of reports that we're going to use force in Syria and now some in the left I guess are saying force in Iran, force here and force there. You Know this is pure speculation. We used military force in Iraq after a very-very long period of diplomacy." That is quite a curtsey in Moscow's address. At the same time, it is not yet clear what may stop the USA from usage of force in Iran, even after "a very-very long period of diplomacy."

Russia President Putin declared in his turn that "there is no need to persuade Russia that spreading of weapons of mass destruction all over the world must be stopped; and this concerns not only Iran." Vladimir Putin says that he had managed to reach mutual understanding with the US president on the problem. At that he emphasized that Russia strongly objected to usage of Iran's nuclear program as an instrument on unfair competition with Russian companies on the Iranian market.

So, Washington sees Iran's nuclear program as a threat to the US's national security, while Moscow thinks that pressure exerted upon Iran is an instrument of unfair competition. It is still a mystery how the two different views upon the Iranian problem can be reconciled.

After all, it is unlikely that the situation could develop according to a different scenario. Washington will hardly likely give up the attacks upon Teheran's policy to allow George W. Bush making a nice present to his Russian colleague. The same way, Moscow is not ready to give up its authority in Iran. And this is not because of the contracts concluded with Iran for construction of nuclear power plants; the sum of the contracts is hundreds of millions of dollars which won't be compensated to Russian companies if the construction is stopped.  In fact, the spheres of Russia's authority have been gradually decreasing within the past ten years. If Moscow yields to Washington's pressure and freezes cooperation with Iran, Russia will be running the risk of turning into a secondary player on the world political scene.
 
As for future American policy toward Iran, US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said in an interview with The Financial Times that the USA would like Iran to have some other political regime, "a democratically elected government that would give up the support to terrorists and production of weapons of mass destruction." The adviser didn't explain what the USA would do in case if Iranians fail to elect this democratic government.

Photo: BBC Russian archives

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