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May 8, 2012 3:31 pm
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Russian Jewish Leader: Putin is the Reason Iran Does Not Have a Nuclear Weapon

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Yury Kanner and Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg Ikar at the constrution site of Israeli memorial to the Red Army Victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, soon to be unveiled by Benjamin Netanyahu and Vladimir Putin. Photo: RJC.

As the news broke earlier this week that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a new unity government, and the U.S. and European Union maintain their drive to solve the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy and financial sanctions, the world continues to struggle with effectively deterring Iran from developing the capacity to build a nuclear weapon.

Russia, which is viewed by many in the United States as an opponent of western attempts to curb the Iranian nuclear program, is actually one of the major factors in Iran’s inability to have developed a nuclear weapon, according to Yury Kanner, head of the Russian Jewish Congress.

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“Putin is the guarantee of the fact that they will not get nuclear technologies from Russia because it is not expedient for Russia.  Russia doesn’t need a nuclear Iran and the strategy is that Russia doesn’t want Iran to have a nuclear weapon,” he told The Algemeiner during an interview in Manhattan recently.

Kanner pointed to the border dispute between Russian and Iran along the Caspian Sea, which holds billions of barrels of oil, the 20 million Muslims living in Russia, and the “complex relationships” between Russia and its neighboring countries that also have dealings with Iran – Azerbaijan,  Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan – as the prism in which Russia views the Iranian nuclear issue through.

“Among the countries talking about the threat of an Iranium bomb is Russia.  Russia and Iran have a disputed border in the Caspian Sea and Iran was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1943.  There are 20 mllion Muslims in Russia and there are complex relationships between Russia and countries with direct relations with Iran,” he said.

Kanner dismissed the assumption that Russia has not joined western nations, including the United States, France, and the United Kingdom, in trying to deter Iran’s pursuit of nuclear technology.

“Russia supported sanctions, refused to send sophisticated weapons to Iran, and we believe that Russia was very serious from keeping secrets [nuclear] from Iran.”

The sophisticated weaponry Kanner points to is the S-300 missile defense system, which would enhance Iran’s ability to defend against a military attack on their nuclear facilities.  Russia decided not to sell the system to Iran after committing to previous agreements for delivery.

As the leader of a major Jewish organization, which has a budget of $10 million, more than triple the number Kanner had to work with when he took over as leader in 2009, he said that accusing Russia of being on the “wrong side” of dealing with Iran’s nuclear program is misguided.

“So as a Jewish figure speaking from the Jewish point, I wouldn’t accuse Russia of being on the wrong side of Iran.  It wasn’t Putin who made the speech at Cairo University 4 years ago, it was Obama.”

Asked whether he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was the primary reason that Iran has not yet developed a nuclear weapon, Kanner said that Putin’s concern for a nuclear Iran was most definitely a factor.

“If Putin had not paid attention to efforts to bring Iran nuclear weapons then of course they would have one.”

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  • FancyNancy

    This is true, but it is also true that Russia has said that a strike on Iran will most definitely cause it to implement a nuclear weapons program. Given that they believe this, will Russia aid Iran in the event of a strike in order to ease a heightened anxiety that would lead the program to go underground?

  • nirvichara

    Mr. Real American,
    It is ‘little naive’ to assume that nuclear technology provided by Russia to Iran is the same as a technology to build a nuclear weapon. As for the Putin’s divide and conquer strategy, the it is the same strategy as US and GB were using for centuries. You might be irritated that Putin placed himself in the ‘Big men’ club of strong and serious politicians that are ruling the world, but , alas , that’s just a matter of fact.

  • A REAL American

    Mr. Kanner’s statement is a little naive. Mr. Kanner is only partially correct, it isn’t in Russia’s interest to have a nuclear equipped Iran.

    However, Russia exported nuclear technology to Iran and is helping them develop this technology (and getting paid to do so).

    The strategy is part of Putin’s divide and conquer strategy to keep the west occupied by sticking their noses in the mud wherever he can (Syria, Libya, Iran, etc)while Putin is slowly building up Russia’s ability to project its power globally.

    The more energy the west exerts on curtailing Iranian nuclear ambitions, the less attention they pay to what Putin is doing. This is clearly a win-win scenario for Putin.

  • Neil

    Mr. Kanner is right!!! It isn’t in Russia’a or anyone’s interests to see a nuclear Iran!!!!

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