Iran is getting ever closer to obtaining a nuclear bomb and wants to get the ultimate insurance policy against a possible military attack. Moscow is doing everything for Tehran without asking for anything in return. Russia is pulling Iran’s chestnuts out of the fire and at the same time is allowing Tehran to walk all over them.
The situation around Iran's nuclear program remains very tense. Tehran has unexpectedly decided to "add fuel to the fire" and filed a $4-billion lawsuit against Moscow with the International Court of Arbitration. Iran is accusing Russia of reneging on a contract to deliver the S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems. The deal was cancelled by Moscow two years ago.
In an interview with the Valdai Discussion Club , Deputy Director of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis Alexander Khramchikhin explains the reason behind Tehran’s unusual move.
What has caused Iran to take the dangerous step of filing a lawsuit against one of its key partners?
Apparently, Iran wants to protect itself completely from a potential war. So far, its main opponents, the United States and Israel, have shied away from launching an attack on Iran. I think Tehran is getting ever closer to obtaining a nuclear bomb and wants to get the ultimate insurance policy against a possible military attack. If Tehran succeeds in obtaining the S-300 anti-aircraft systems, this will make an Israeli air strike on Iran virtually impossible and a similar attack by the United States will become too costly.
The main problem is that Tehran does not treat Russia as a partner, since Moscow is doing everything for Tehran without asking for anything in return. Russia is pulling Iran’s chestnuts out of the fire and at the same time is allowing Tehran to walk all over them.
Do you think there is any likelihood that Iran will withdraw its lawsuit?
It is possible, but only if Russia exerts strong pressure on Tehran. Our Iranian policy of the past few years has proved completely ineffective. To put it bluntly, Russia has been acting like Iran’s minion, and such behavior is disrespected in the Middle East, and particularly in Iran.
But we have been cooperating with Iran on nuclear energy and weapon deliveries, haven’t we?
There is currently no cooperation, and to repeat, it is precisely this kind of selfless and non-reciprocal backing of Iran that has prompted Iran to disregard our interests. Iran does have limited stockpiles of Soviet and Russian weaponry, but no more than that.
What can Moscow do to force Tehran to retract its lawsuit?
Moscow has already warned Tehran that if it fails to withdraw its lawsuit, Russia will take a tougher stance on the Iranian nuclear program and will stop vetoing anti-Iranian resolutions at the United Nations. Hopefully, these actions will help convince the Iranian leadership.