Putin in Iran

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I don’t have time to write extensively on Putin’s historic trip to Iran.  Plus there are many others who are more versed in Russian-Iranian relations and the geopolitical significance of Putin’s trip.  So with that in mind and a dissertation chapter deadline hanging over my head, I offer Juan Cole’s take on it.  His post is significant because it provides the entire text of Putin’s and Admadinejad’s joint statement.  I also recommend Farideh Farhi’s post on the Informed Comment Global Affairs Blog for what the Russian visit means for Tehran.

It’s clear that if there were any diplomatic victories achieved in the meeting, they were all Iran’s.  With Putin backing the Islamic nation’s assertions that its nuclear program is “peaceful” basically confirmed that if Washington is looking for partners to put the hard squeeze on Iran, Russia isn’t one of them.

For Russia, the trip is a reaffirmation that Russia will seek its own independent foreign policy.  And ironically Putin came out somewhat like a peacemaker with his stress in dialog with Iran rather than sanctions.  He stressed this last night during his annual question and answer session with the public.  “Direct dialog with the leaders of states around which certain problems accumulate is always more productive and is the shortest path to success, rather than a policy of threats, sanctions, and all the more so resolution by using force,” he said.

That wasn’t the only blow to US prospects waging war against Iran.  The attendees at the Caspian Sea Summit,  which included Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Turkmenistan’s President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, made a declaration that said “under any circumstances they would not allow other countries to use their territory for aggression and military attack against one of the parties.”

Welcome to the Great Game of the 21st Century.