At a time when the world, and our region in particular, is monitoring the possible outcome of the West’s negotiations with Iran on its nuclear file- and is waiting to see whether negotiations will lead to a détente or confrontation between the West, or Israel, and Iran- it seems that Russia, a state that is friendly with both Iran and Israel, has a different vision for negotiations that must be completed between Tehran and the West. It is a vision that is based on the principle of there being no winner and no loser!
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is not known for outlandish statements, said in an interview with the Russia Today television channel, RIA Novosti news agency and the Voice of Russia radio station that he believes that “Israel and Iran should strive to restore relations” and that “there is nothing impossible in that.”
The Russian FM used Yasser Arafat as an example saying that nobody thought that Israel would discuss anything with him. Savrov also mentioned that during the reign of the Shah [in Iran], Israel offered Iran help to implement its nuclear missile programme and Tehran was supplying Tel Aviv with all the oil it needed. Lavrov added, “I do not know when, but I think that normalization of relations [between Israel and Iran] will definitely happen. The most important thing now is to concentrate on the main issues and not to whip up emotions. Nobody needs war.”
Is this idea really up for discussion? Or are we facing a Russian vision that is aiming [to reach a] settlement between Iran and Israel, as Russia is an important state in a number of respects, especially with regards to the expected sanctions on Iran. In the same interview Lavrov expressed Russia’s surprise that Iran was concealing its new nuclear facility in Qom. Perhaps this is an indication of admonition or that Russia wants to say that it does not have a direct link to Iran’s new nuclear facility.
However, what’s important from the above is Lavrov’s belief that Israel and Iran could normalize ties and that this will definitely happen even if he does not know when. If Russia really believes that, then what does that mean for us, the Arabs? I consider his comments important and dangerous – even if some people do believe that in reality [normalization of ties between Israel and Iran] will never happen – as this is not some media analysis or some confused dream; these are comments made by the Foreign Minister of a key state that is ally to both Iran and Israel.
Moreover, this suggestion confirms that a nuclear Iran is not only a threat to Israel but a threat to the stability and security of the Arab Gulf states. If the Russian Foreign Minister really believes that Israeli-Iranian ties can be established, and that this will definitely happen then the question is why, and for who, is Iran accumulating all these weapons and why is it fighting for its nuclear file? There is a more important question to which there is no answer: is the Russian FM’s statement an explanation of what Iran wrote in its letter to the West that it is ready to negotiate on regional issues instead of the nuclear file?