Russia Still With Iran

November 16, 2006

Russia continues to not make progress with the US in sanctioning Iran over its nuclear program, even in light of the IAEA’s recent plutonium discovery. Members of the security council have not been able to agree on handling Iran, with Russia and China opposing sanctions and favoring dialogue.

With the WTO deal between Russia and the US about to happen, a shift in policy is possible. John Bolton, the US’s ambassador to the UN, has expressed optimism in light of President Bush’ meeting with President Putin. The hope is that Russia will agree to sanction Iran to pressure the state to abandon its nuclear ambitions. This would be contrary to Russia’s economic interests, with the nuclear powerplant at Bushehr being built by Russians.

The fact that it was indicated that the WTO deal would go through, but not finalised is key. It is still being negotiated and is expected to be signed at the APEC summit. Iran still could be part of the deal and the current statements by Russian officials could be misleading. And all should become clear upon the completion of APEC and deal-or-no-deal on Russian’s membership in the WTO.

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