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Russia threatens to deprive Teheran of support

August 10, 2012, 12:29 UTC+3
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The lawsuit of Iran against Russia for the refusal to supply the S-300 anti-aircraft systems can lead to serious political consequences. The Kommersant has learnt that the Russian leadership has made a decision that if Tehran does not withdraw the suit, Moscow would deprive him of international support and take a tougher stance on Iran’s nuclear issue. Moreover, the newspaper has found out that the Iranian authorities’ statements that their claim is worth only 900 million US dollars (and not nearly 4 billion dollars), is not true.

After it became known that Iran filed a lawsuit against Russia worth 4 billion US dollars, a Kommersant source in the Russian government angrily said: “We support them, take a constructive stance in the negotiations on the nuclear issue, and that’s with what they repay us.” He called the story with the claim “ugly” and the Iranians “ungrateful.” Now, according to a source in the Russian presidential administration, Moscow’s position has only toughened: it transfers the lawsuit issue from the judicial to political sphere.

“We have already made it clear to Iran that lawsuits do not contribute to the development of our relations, but our requests to withdraw the documents from court were not heard,” he said. This, according to him, forces the country’s leaders to resort to countermeasures - Moscow is ready to deprive Tehran of support on the nuclear issue. “Until the next meeting of the ‘sextet’ of international mediators we will try to bring home (to Iran) our position one more time by sending a government delegation to Tehran. And if we get a refusal again, Iran will have to negotiate in the international arena on the nuclear issue on its own,” the Kremlin official warned. A source at the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed that the diplomats have been instructed to adhere to this policy in the dialogue with the Iranians.

Moscow has always opposed sanctions against Iran and called for negotiations with Iran. “The position that Russia has been defending at all forums - that exclusively diplomatic means should be used for the settlement of the Iranian issue, its sharp reaction to the calls to cut the ‘Iranian knot’ by force, regular peace initiatives of the RF Foreign Ministry and statements that the Western rhetoric on Iran camouflages the desire to change the Tehran regime – all this gave an advantage to Iran,” expert of the PIR Centre Alexander Kolbin said.

It seems that Iran understands this and tries to mitigate the negative effects of filing a lawsuit. Iranian Ambassador to Russia Seyed Mahmoud- Reza Sajjadi told the Izvestia newspaper: Tehran demands from Moscow not 4 billion US dollars, but 900 million dollars. As for 3 billion dollars of compensation “as a punishment for Russia” – it was added by the Geneva Court of Arbitration “without the knowledge of the Iranian side and against its will.”

The Kommersant gives indirect evidence that a significant increase in the claim size could not have happened without the knowledge of Iran. However, Moscow does not give up hopes that it will not have to use the “heavy diplomatic artillery.” “So far the negotiations with Iran are extremely difficult, but we nevertheless expect that we will be able to reach an amicable agreement out of court,” another Kremlin source told the publication.  

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