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.