Russia-US-Iran: Nuclear juggling

Linked with Eric Walberg – Canada. – Published on Online Journal, by Eric Walberg, June 4, 2010.

Brazil accused the US of double standards, and Turkey insisted Thursday that rejecting the deal with Iran, which calls for Tehran to ship around half its stock of low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for enriched uranium suitable for research and medical use, would be “unreasonable” and said that a US push for fresh sanctions on Tehran was creating an “absurd situation.”

“Those who speak to this issue should eliminate nuclear weapons from their own country and they should bear the good news to all mankind by doing that,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan said, while attending a UN conference in Rio de Janeiro.

Now it’s Iran’s turn to accuse Russia, ever so politely, of double standards. Iranian Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani said on Saturday, “Russia has always tried to ensure that events particularly nuclear issues will be fashioned based on its own interests.” He added, “Regarding Russia, we should take into account two issues that first it is our neighbour and second, definitely it shares some interests with Iran” … //

… But if the Brazil-Turkey-Iran deal is legit, Russia will back it and proceed with the S-300 sale, even if the sanctions go ahead. That is Russia’s carrot to Iran, as delivered by Lavrov. Yes, Russia is trying to best serve its own interests in all this, but the bottom line with regards to Iran is that a US-Israeli attack will not be accepted by Moscow. And – thanks to Russia? – is no longer in the cards for Washington. In any case, the sanctions — which are dismissed by former secretary of state Colin Powell as useless in any case – will fall apart if the B-T-I plan is implemented.

This is no doubt what Lavrov told Mottaki, who on Monday was even able to poke fun at the US: “We have to allow them some time to recover from the initial shock,” and expressed hope that the Vienna Group – US, France, Russia and the IAEA – would come to a “rational” decision on Iran’s civilian nuclear programme.

Richard Falk argues that the purpose of “this attempt to supersede and nullify the Iran deal is banishing the Brazilian and Turkish intruders from the geopolitical playing field.” He is pointing the finger primarily at the US but the prevarication by Russia makes it looks like it too is protecting its role as one of the big guns. The true test of its intentions will be if it can balance its desire to placate Washington without jeopardising the B-T-I breakthrough, which Falk calls a new geopolitical landscape
in which the countries of the global South are now beginning to act as subjects, and no longer content to be mere objects in scenarios devised in the North.

The US-Iranian standoff is indeed evidence of real conflict — between empire and national sovereignty. So is the US-Russia standoff over NATO expansion and bases on its borders. But the fight against Washington’s “new world order” is still a MAD dance of death, in the first place, between the US and Russia, full of pratfalls, and keeps us on the edge of our seats.

What is important is to bring the gruesome dance to a peaceful end and move on to what Falk heralds as “a real new world order”

Eric Walberg writes for Al-Ahram Weekly. You can reach him at (full text).

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