Sun, July 18, 2010 | Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Iranian criticism of Russia escalates following Russian president’s statement
Iranian top officials have reacted strongly last week to a statement made by Russia’s president Dmitry Medvedev, who warned that Iran is close to acquiring the means to allow it to manufacture its first nuclear bomb. Speaking at a meeting with ambassadors in Moscow, Medvedev said that Iran is getting close to achieving the potential that would allow it to manufacture nuclear weapons, and that the Iranians did not behave properly.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki strongly rejected the statement made by the Russian president, saying it was “completely erroneous”. At a press conference he held during his visit to Spain, Mottaki said that whatever the purposes behind such statements, Iran categorically rejected them. He said that Iran is interested in maintaining good relations with Russia, but does not accept some of its stances in recent months (IRNA, July 13).
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of the Majles National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, also had reservations about the Russian president’s statement. He said that Iran expects Russia, a major world power, not to be misled by the false information spread by Western intelligence services. He said that IAEA inspectors are free to visit Iran’s nuclear facilities, and that the Russians are well aware that the Iranian nuclear activities are meant for peaceful purposes (Mehr, July 13).
Meanwhile, the reformist daily Mardom Salari strongly criticized the Russian policy towards Iran, claiming that Moscow’s hostile views on the nuclear issue have become a permanent matter in recent months. An editorial published by the daily says that the rapprochement between the US and Russia has led the latter to toughen its stance towards Iran over the past year. The damage to Iran’s interests by the “new tsars” in Moscow is reflected not only in the nuclear issue, the article says, but also bears on Iranian interests in the Caspian Sea, on Iran’s acquisition of S-300 missiles from Russia, and on the ongoing delays in the operation of the nuclear reactor in Bushehr. Russia is considered one of Israel’s major allies; it supported the former government of Yugoslavia in the massacre of Bosnian Muslims; and suppresses Muslims in Chechnya and in Dagestan. The daily claimed that Russia’s audacious attitude towards Iran results from the fact that Iran has ignored Russia’s violations of its rights over the years, the lack of appropriate response from Iran to Moscow’s hostile stances, and its insistence on continuing to expand economic ties with it (Mardom Salari, July 14).
The conservative daily Ebtekar also addressed the latest statement of the Russian president. A commentary article published by the daily, titled “Behind the scenes of the Russia-US agreement against Iran”, brought up a theory that Medvedev’s announcement reflected a covert agreement between Russia and the US in which the US released the Russian spies it had recently arrested in exchange for toughening the Russian stance on Iran, reevaluation of its position on transporting nuclear fuel to the reactor in Bushehr, and increasing Russian pressure on Iran (Ebtekar, July 14).