Chapter II: Russia Aids Iran

Haaretz reports on Russia’s support for Iran’s nuclear weapons program, which is both open and covert. Before long, events in Iran are likely to reprise those in Iraq, with the U.S. putting pressure on the regime, opposed by Russia and others. Russia’s support for Iran’s nuclear program has been a source of contention with the U.S. for a number of years, but despite many complaints, Russia’s policy has never wavered. Haaretz says that Russia is motivated by two factors. The first is commercial; Russia’s nuclear industry needs Iran as a customer. The second is political; Russia sees Iran as a key player in the Middle East and a potential source of trouble among Russian Muslims. Russia therefore wants to mollify the Mullahs by aiding their nuclear ambitions, even though Russia–like pretty much everyone else–would probably prefer that Iran never actually succeed in developing such weapons.
So we may have a sense of deja vu as events in Iran unfold. There is, however, one major difference between Iraq and Iran. The Iranian Mullahs, while dictatorial, have not imposed a reign of terror comparable to what went on for decades in Iraq. Consequently, the population in Iran is less cowed. Many observers think that Iranians will be able to overthrow the current theocracy before long, without any (or much) outside help. The problem for American planners is what to do if this hoped-for development fails to materialize.

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