Russia warns Israel not to attack Iran

MOSCOW Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:03pm EST

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L) speak to Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi during a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in St. Petersburg November 7, 2011. REUTERS/Alexsey Druginyn/RIA Novosti/Pool

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L) speak to Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi during a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in St. Petersburg November 7, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Alexsey Druginyn/RIA Novosti/Pool

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia warned Israel on Wednesday that attacking Iran would be a disastrous and played down the failure of a U.N. nuclear agency mission to Tehran, saying there is still a chance for new talks over the Iranian atomic program.

"Of course any possible military scenario against Iran will be catastrophic for the region and for the whole system of international relations," Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told a news conference.

It was one of Russia's starkest warnings against resorting to force, an option Israel and the United States have not ruled out if they conclude that diplomacy and increasing sanctions will not stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.

"I hope Israel understands all these consequences ... and they should also consider the consequences of such action for themselves," Gatilov said. "I hope a realistic approach will prevail, along with a sensible assessment."

Russia, China as well as many allies of the United States are concerned that any military action against Iran could engulf the Middle East in wider war, which would send oil prices rocketing at a time of global economic troubles.

Iran has threatened to retaliate for any attack, or even if it feels endangered, by closing the Strait of Hormuz, the conduit for Gulf oil exports crucial to the global economy, and hitting Israel and U.S. interests in the Middle East.

Tehran has refused to stop sensitive nuclear work such as uranium enrichment despite four rounds of U.N. sanctions and a slew of additional measures imposed by the United States and the European Union, which fear Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons.

The Islamic Republic says its efforts to produce nuclear fuel are solely for electricity generation.

IAEA-IRAN TALKS GO NOWHERE

The failure of two days of talks between Iran and senior International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials, who were refused access to a military site where they believe Iran tested explosives of use in nuclear weapons, dimmed the chances of Western powers agreeing to renew broader negotiations with Iran.

A warning from Iran's clerical supreme leader on Wednesday, hours after the Tehran talks concluded, that no obstacle would derail Iran's nuclear course added to tensions.

Gatilov suggested that Iran should be more cooperative but there is more room for diplomacy. He said Iran's discussions with Russia, China, the United States, Britain, France and Germany, frozen for a year, could still be revived.

"Iran and IAEA should boost their dialogue in order to rule out the ... possibility of the existence of military dimensions in the Iranian nuclear program. We hope that this dialogue will be continued," he said.

"I think we still have opportunity to continue diplomatic efforts, to renew the six-nation talks."

Russia, which built Iran's first nuclear power plant, has often stressed the need for talks and that too much coercive pressure on Iran is counterproductive, a stance that has prompted concerns Moscow has helped Tehran play for time.

Last week, Russia said global powers must be serious about proposing solutions Iran might accept, warning that Tehran's desire for compromise was waning as it moved closer to being technically capable of building atomic weapons.

(Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Comments (19)
Prediction: Iran will get their nukes, oil will rise to $10.00/gallon in America within 5 years, America will go into an economic depression. Or, settle it now and get it over with.

Feb 22, 2012 10:32am EST  --  Report as abuse
kafantaris wrote:
Iran faces a delicate issue. On the one hand it wants to show the world all its got and put it at ease, while on the other hand it fears that such show and tell will give its enemies a road map on how to bomb it.
Saddam Hussein faced a similar dilemma ten years ago. On the one hand he wanted to show the world it had nothing to fear from Iraq, while on the other hand he wanted to bluff its archenemy Iran into believing that it had everything to fear if it attacked Iraq.
Bluffing did not go well for Saddam, and it might not go well for Amadijan either.
But since the price tag for ridding Saddam proved so high, maybe we should reflect on what we are asking from Iran. On the eve of a threatened attack we are asking it to take us to the depths of its arsenal and show all it’s got there.
Such great expectations are a sign that we have been talking to our friends too long, and might be overdue for a broader perspective.
Exactly when was the last time we asked Pakistan, India, China or Russia to show us their arsenal?
“But those countries are not advocating the destruction of Israel.” True, but Israel is also not a thorn on their side.
Surely, however, we can see beyond the hyperboles and figure out why they are made. Have we forgotten that many Iranians are not entirely thrilled with Amadijan?
He hasn’t.
Nor has he forgotten that that his countrymen hate Israel more than they hate him. So he tells them that Israel will be wiped from the face of the earth. This unites them against a common enemy. For a moment, it even helps them forget all the misery and isolation the theocratic regime has brought them.
Clever work by Amadijan — and not a rial was spent or a bullet fired.
So why are we letting this crazy talk get us all worked-up to the point of getting ready and turn the world topsy-turvy again?
Can we not see that this just a desperate attempt by an unpopular regime to stay in power?

Feb 22, 2012 11:18am EST  --  Report as abuse
MladenA wrote:
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact 2. It seems the Russians never learn from their own mistakes. In 1939 they signed the non-aggression pact with Hitler and today they are buddies with Iran, Hizballah, Hamas and Syria. But I guess you can expect that from the leaders whose roots are in the regime that dealt with the Kronstadt rebellion, the collectivization, the Ukrainian famine, the Kirov murder, the great Purge of the thirties, the Show Trials, the Gulags, the Katyn massacre and the Doctors’ Plot. They have no clue whom they are dealing with just as they did not know then until June 22,1941. See MAD is Dead www.madisdead.blogspot.com

Feb 22, 2012 1:51pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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