MOSCOW, March 14 (Itar-Tass) — The negotiations between Iran and the Sextet of international mediators scheduled for April is the last chance for Tehran to avoid a war, the Kommersant daily writes. The newspaper reported that the request to bring this idea to the Iranian authorities was made to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Their negotiations were held right after a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York on Monday.
Speaking on a probable strike on Iran by Israel and the US, diplomats, including those from Russia, use the concrete word ‘when’ instead of the vague word ‘if’. “The invasion may break out before the end of the year. Actually Israel is blackmailing Obama. They put him in a tricky position: whether he will support a war or will be deprived of support (of the influential Jewish lobby),” a high-ranking official from the Russian Foreign Ministry told the Kommersant on the eve of a meeting of the UN Security Council.
After the UN Security Council meeting the diplomat has set tighter deadlines. Representatives from Iran and the Sextet of mediators for the settlement of the Iranian nuclear problem (Russia, Great Britain, Germany, China, the US and France) will have a meeting in April and the US insists that it is the last chance for Iran, he said. Hillary Clinton formulated this position in particular at the negotiations with Sergei Lavrov, the Russian high-ranking diplomat said. She also asked her Russian counterpart to inform Iranian authorities about this idea, as Washington does not have any relations with the latter.
Russia prefers officially not to take the April meeting as the last chance. “To say so means to recognize their own lack of professionalism. All this is a matter of political willpower, and Russia does everything so that the willpower does not disappear, but get stronger,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the newspaper. Still, he acknowledged that the situation over Iran has a tendency for deterioration. “The escalation is obvious, particularly in concrete actions. The conclusion is the only one: those who are exposed to the temptation to use the force of weapons should put themselves together and seek for a diplomatic solution. The war does not solve any problems, but brings about a million of new problems and will be fraught with serious aftermaths for many countries,” Ryabkov said.
Meanwhile, in public appeals to peace the Kommersant daily learnt Russia has prepared to protect Ira in a war against the country just for the case. “We have assessed actions in case of a war against Iran. In this case the mobilization readiness exists,” an unnamed official of the Russian Defence Ministry pledged. He sees the threat that an enormous number of refugees will flow in Azerbaijan bordering Russia from Iran. The most important thing is that combat actions in Iran “can complicate a quite tense situation in the Caucasus,” the military official believes.
A high-ranking diplomat, who was participating in the making of an action plan, confirmed that Russia has an action plan, if a strike is delivered on Iran. The interdepartmental committee has developed a relevant program that relates to the protection of Russian citizens, he said.
Sergei Lavrov’s visit in New York made clear not only the current situation over Iran, but also clarified Syria’s future, at least its near future. At the Monday meeting of the UN Security Council, which Britain that currently presides in the Council convened for the purpose to discuss the current situation in the Middle East this became clear that the intervention does not threaten to Damascus yet. The foreign ministers, who were participating in the UN Security Council meeting, discussed in quite harsh words the actions of Syrian authorities and Bashar Assad in particular, but agreed to wait for the results of the observer mission of the former UN general secretary Kofi Annan.
Meanwhile, Russia is inclined to explain a temporary lower pressure on Syria with another factor. “For the US it is important now to get out of the Syrian situation worthily. The US understands that Israel will deliver a strike on Iran. Two wars in the region are too much,” the Russian high-ranking diplomat underlined.