Stanley's blog

Let Russia Stop Iran

The constructive oped in today’s New York Times by three experienced analysts, Oded Eran, Giora Eiland and Emily Landau, concludes that the key to a tougher Security Council Resolution is Russia and that this provides an opening for Barack Obama to offer Moscow a grand bargain: the US to suspend or even cancel its Eastern Europe missiles defences plan and adopt a more cautious approach to expanding NATO. Russia, for its part, would take a tougher stance against Iran’s nuclear military programme, and stop supplying Iran with conventional weapons which are then passed to other militant groups in the region.

I don’t agree that this will put “the threat of military intervention back on the table”. If there is a clearly united line on sanctions, including oil exports and petroleum product imports and financial measures, the signs are, that with the gross oil & gas under-investment in Iran and the low price of oil, sanctions could work, if strictly applied. However, China has not been seriously addressed in the op-ed and must be included in the bargain. Dealing with Tehran through Moscow and not Beijing is fraught with danger.

I would expand the idea to a grand bargain based on a new comprehensive relationship with Russia – not just over Iran – alongside a new comprehensive relationship with Iran both being integrated internationally as responsible stakeholders. To achieve this, we must have China alongside.

Too ambitious? I would argue that expanding the project would increase the chances of success. It will also involve a degree of inclusiveness that might be regarded as refreshing by the countries involved and the world at large.

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