This is a curious development that has indeed surprised many observers. Why have so many Iranians, most of whom are educated professionals, turned against Russia? There are two sets of underlying reasons for growing Iranian disappointment with Russia.The first concerns the opposition to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government. Many Iranians blame the Russians for masterminding the brutal suppression that followed the controversial Iranian presidential elections in June. When the results of that election were announced by the government, many Iranians poured onto the streets of Tehran and other cities and disputed Ahmadinejad’s victory. The government responded by brutally suppressing the unrest. Dozens were killed and many of Ahmadinejad’s critics were detained and are still in prison.
The government accused the opposition of trying to wage a so-called “velvet revolution” with the help of the US and Britain. Rumors began to circulate in Tehran that Russian security advisers had strongly recommended to Iranian leaders to stand firm against any opposition protests and to swiftly and thoroughly disperse any gathering by the people in order to avoid a repeat of what happened in some of the former communist states following their general elections. Whether or not such recommendations were actually made by Russians to Iranian security officials is inconsequential; Iranians assume that was the case.
I don't buy that. the Russians are attempting to profit and would make money from either the old regime or the new one. If anything Mousavi would have close ties with Russia
In addition, protesters generally tended to oppose the Islamic regime’s friends and allies at the international level, viewing them as the enemy. During Quds (or Jerusalem) Day protest rallies, where Iranians had hitherto supported the Palestinians and condemned Israel, hundreds and thousands of protesters chanted the strange new slogan, “neither Gaza nor Lebanon, my life for Iran.” Correspondingly, protesters viewed the regime’s enemies as friends, or at least not as enemies. Thus instead of the traditional slogans of “death to America” and “death to Israel” they called for “death to Russia and China.”
The June election was not the only reason for Iranians to turn away from Russia. Many Iranians who are in fact supporters of the regime have also become increasingly disappointed with Moscow’s policies toward Iran. Russia’s treatment of the Iranian nuclear program and its strategy in the Caspian Sea are the two fundamental reasons for this hostility toward Iran’s northern neighbor.
Iranians feel that Moscow has always used the nuclear issue as a bargaining tool to win concessions from the West while simultaneously convincing Iran that it has prevented the 5+1 from passing severe sanctions against it. In short, Moscow has exploited the nuclear crisis to obtain economic and political benefits from both Iran and the West.
well that is obvious...
Then there is Iranian concern over Moscow’s approach to the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Construction of the plant was begun by Germany before the Islamic Revolution. It was about 90 percent complete when the revolution took place; the Germans left the country and subsequently refused to complete it. In the late 1990s, Russia signed a contract with Iran to finish the plant. After more than a decade and billions of dollars of payments to the Russians, there are no signs the plant is being completed. More than a dozen times the Russians have set a date to begin operating the plant, only to postpone yet again.
This happened most recently last November. This time, however, many supporters of the government publicly condemned Russia and accused it of not really wanting to complete the plant, in order to gain concessions from Washington. The critics also raised Moscow’s reluctance to sell Iran S-300 anti-aircraft missiles despite an earlier agreement – again, only to please the West.
Finally, there is the problematic issue of Iran’s portion of the Caspian Sea. Russia and the three other coastal states have thus far refused to recognize Iran’s equal share in the Caspian.
if they really were rational this is what they should really be pissed off about. real power comes from their resources.
The Russians are of course aware of the Iranian complaints. They have their own side of the story. Moscow maintains that Iran always comes to it not by choice but by necessity. In other words, had any of the Western powers been prepared to finish the Bushehr plant, Iran would not have chosen Russia. Iran is forced to deal with Moscow because of Western sanctions. If the sanctions are lifted and Iran’s relations with the West improve, Russia will no longer occupy a position of importance in the Islamic regime’s diplomacy.
in fact Russia is a competitor in the resources such as gas that Iran sells
In short, both countries believe that their present alliance is more one of circumstance than of inherent geopolitical necessity.
Sadegh Zibakalam is a professor of Iranian studies at Tehran University. This commentary first appeared at bitterlemons-international.org, an online newsletter.
maybe there is hope for Iran if they see the Russians have plaid them? It would be better if they stopped looking to blame outsiders. Iran is very capable of being a profitable and successful country if their people can just evolve. This appears to be public relations from those in Iran who have concluded that bombing their country has reached a zero hour and are begging for mercy.