Andrey V. Demidov: Russia’s relationship with Iran

We in Russia consider Iran as a very important nation, as a nation that has important influence on the world political climate. We know that during the period of last three decades Iran has achieved a lot in the fields of social development, politics and sports. We do our best to have good relations with Iran as well as with its people. There are almost no political disagreements between Russia and Iran at present. We attach serious importance to the development of mutually beneficial economic and scientific cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran. In our view, such cooperation is an important investment for the future.

Our cooperation in the field of nuclear energy is one of the core issues of our bilateral ties and of world politics. We in Russia are partisans of nuclear non-proliferation regime. Iran is a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which in our view is an important component of the present-day international world order.

We admit that Iran like every nation signatory to the NPT has a legitimate right to develop a peaceful nuclear programme. Nuclear energy, in our view, is the energy of the future of the mankind. That is why we do cooperate and we will cooperate will Iran in the nuclear field. Iran in cooperation with Russia has already built a nuclear power plant in Bushehr. We have projects to build additional nuclear power plants in that country. But at the same time we admit that the issue is not that easy as it looks. In our view, Iran should cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Iranian nuclear programme, although legitimate, should be made more transparent to international verification. Iran should present serious guarantees to the world community that its nuclear programme has no military component. Why? I will be very frank. We do not want to see a power armed with nuclear weapons on our southern border. The very existence of nuclear weapons is a destabilizing factor in itself. That is why we think there is an international problem in the Iranian nuclear programme.

We maintain permanent contact and permanent dialogue with our Iranian colleagues on the issue and are trying to convince our Iranian friends that honest and transparent cooperation with the IAEA is essential. Our dialogue advances with difficulty. We do have disagreements. For example, we cannot agree to the appeals coming from Tehran for the destruction of certain states. But we will continue the dialogue. We are quite convinced that our peaceful approach will be efficient and fruitful. We are convinced that diplomacy can bring all of us to a success. Russia is not alone in its peaceful quest. It is supported by China.

In the past, using only diplomatic means, Libya under Muammar Qaddafi, was successfully convinced to give up its military nuclear programme. The same result was achieved with Brazil. Only by diplomatic means, the world community convinced South Africa to renounce nuclear weapons that it already possessed.

And we oppose in principle, the military solution to international problems. Military means can bring us nowhere. What is the result of military intervention in Iraq? What has been achieved in Afghanistan? And in Libya, after Muammar Qaddafi has been removed, the country that was one of the most stable politically and economically was brought to the verge of civil war.

And what do we have in Iran? Huge territory and very tough people who will not surrender as easily as Iraqis did. The inevitable result of a military operation against that country will be a complete destabilization of the world order on a regional and possibly on the global scale. That is why we prefer to find a peaceful diplomatic solution to this and other international problems.

Andrey V. Demidov is the Consul General of the Russian Federation in Karachi. This was a speech delivered by him in a seminar on ‘Importance of Contemporary Iran in the Middle East and the World’ at The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs on 22 November 2011.

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