Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR)


ACPR Research – Summary


The Moscow-Tehran-Damascus Axis
Under Construction:
Nuclear, Terror and Anti-Terror Interests

Ze`ev Wolfson

Policy Paper No. 159, 2005

The analysis in recent Russian works that focused on the Iranian nuclear program shows that the balance of the Moscow-Tehran axis is definitely tilting towards Iran’s favor.

Since the mid 1990s Tehran has used a variety of methods, some very questionable, to procure from Russia the critical mass of know-how and education in techniques for the development of nuclear weapons, if not the critical mass of the required uranium and the equipment itself. Since 2003 and nearly up to 2005, Moscow deferred supplying of the uranium fuel designated for the Busherh power station, using complicated environmental safety requirements mainly as a pretext.

After the Beslan tragedy which demonstrated the impotence of all the echelons of the regime, Russian political analysts started to depict Iran as a regional superpower with which close relations are a must for Moscow. All criticism of sponsoring terror or violations by Iran of the international WMD regulations was eliminated from Moscow’s lexicon. The Kremlin seems to have recognized that the imperishable threat of Islamic terror with WMD potential can bring the former superpower to its knees.

Having made the difficult decision to continue, if not accelerate, nuclear cooperation with Iran, the Kremlin definitely expects Iran to cool down the most extreme radical Islamists and stop them from expanding terror into Russia and from using a “dirty bomb” or other materials of mega-terror.

The most recent warming of the relationship between Moscow and Damascus can hardly be explained by Russian hopes to improve benefits for their military industries. Geopolitical factors, primarily Damascus’ ties to Hizbullah and Tehran, and general efforts to regain the image of a pro-Muslim superpower, lead to establishing a kind of Moscow-Tehran-Damascus axis. The recent events in Lebanon can somewhat disrupt Moscow’s plans concerning Syria, but not concerning Iran and the Muslim world.

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