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Russia to Bust the Iran Sanctions Regime?

Western leaders appear to have found themselves something resembling a strategy for dealing with Vladimir Putin: hit him with sanctions while providing him with face-saving way of de-escalating the situation in Ukraine. Unfortunately for the West, Putin seems to have other plans:

As nuclear negotiations continue this week in Vienna, Moscow appears poised to openly flaunt the U.S.-led Iran sanctions regime. The move could undermine the Obama administration’s assurances that neither the Crimea crisis nor the recent de-escalation of sanctions would undercut U.S. leverage in its nuclear negotiations with Iran. […]

The proposed deal, worth possibly $20 billion, would include Russian purchases of up to 500,000 bpd of Iranian oil—boosting Iranian exports by as much as 50% from levels permitted to Iran under the Geneva interim nuclear agreement—in exchange for Russian equipment and goods. The deal would ease further pressure on Iran’s battered energy sector and at least partially restore Iran’s access to oil customers with Russian help. There is further reason for concern that such a scheme could provide a channel for the transfer of sanctioned nuclear equipment or military hardware to Iran, not to mention other illicit financial transactions.

Combined with the announcement by Transnistrian separatists that they will not be attending the next round of talks with Moldova and the latest unrest in Donetsk, Kharkiv, and Lugansk (all of which provide more excuses for Putin to send his forces into Ukraine), a negotiated solution with Russia looks increasingly like a pipe dream. On the contrary, Putin is aiming to cause problems for the United States across the board.

Maybe it’s time to come up with a real Russia policy.

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  • Agim Zabeli

    Would that be anything like a “re-set”?

  • rheddles

    Maybe it’s time to come up with a real Russia policy.

    No. We’ve got three more years till then. Thanks for your vote.

  • Alex Grinberg

    Well, it seems to be just another Russian bluff. Judging also by Russian and Iranian sources, the swap is far from being concrete. Here below are only few problems
    1) Kommersant says there is no sufficient infrastructure to transfer such quantity of oil from Iran. Iranian sources do not provide more clues either.
    2) Let’s say it once and for all: Russia is a gasoline station with missiles and imperial ambitions. it manufactures literally nothing. it means that they simply cannot have ” goods” for Iranians. And it is not accident that neither Russians nor Iranians explain about the said goods. Grain and Metals? But not for 20billions.
    3) Some Russian sources say ell that it is not weapons. But even if it is, Russia has yet to manufacture such stocks of weapons to amount to this sum
    4) So the conclusion is that either it is a bluff or the sums concerned are much less than 20 bl $
    Here the Iranians say more or less the same: that the talks with Russia are serious and the Reuters report is cited

  • Boritz

    Russia and the U.S, have many interests in common and many effective and mutually beneficial policies could be implemented if we just cooperated.

    Hispanic voters are natural allies of the Republicans because of socially conservative common interests.

    There may be a third one but I can’t remember.

  • Corlyss

    Rethink? Surely you jest! Don’t you get it after 5 years? Whenever Obama meets resistance to his policies, he doubles down on failures so that the damage is much more severe than it otherwise would be if we had a president who was not a hopeless narcissist.

  • Fat_Man

    One thing that I have never understood, is why Putin would want the Iranians to have nuclear weapons. Any thing that can blow up Tel Aviv can blow up a number of Russian cities. I can understand him wanting to make Obama look ridiculous and wanting to drive the US out of the Middle East, but I cannot understand why he would want nuclear weapons in the hands of people who regard him as a kufir.

    • B-Sabre

      Putin probably figures that the by the time the Iranian bombs finish flying, they will have exhausted their supply on the Americans, Israelis and Saudis before they get to the “Russia” portion of their target list.
      Either that, or he has no doubts that the Iranians have no doubts about what his response to any attempted nuclear aggression by the Iranians would be.

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