Russia, Iran and Transparency

Most of the commentary I’ve seen about the Russian role in the stand-off over Iran’s nuclear program has to do with Russia’s refusal to support strengthened UNSC sanctions to punish Tehran for not being more transparent with the IAEA. But an alternative formulation of that reflection would be Russia’s refusal to pressure Tehran to be more transparent with the IAEA to begin with, thereby avoiding the need for sanctions altogether.

So when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says, after meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, “We have confirmed the need to assure theinternational community of the exclusively peaceful nature of theIranian nuclear program,” I’m curious to know exactly what actions he’s suggesting Russia might take to do so. Getting the Russians to do more on the front end might be a more attainable policy goal at this point, since they’ve already shown they’re unwilling partners on the back end.

Meanwhile, it’s interesting to note that the fact the Israeli foreign minister is a Russian-speaker doesn’t seem to have taken the edge off the relations between the two countries. Lavrov was as noncommittal as ever regarding the S300 air-defense missiles that Iran prizes, and also refused to budge on Russia’s relations with Hamas.

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