Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Russian Jewish Leader: Putin is the Reason Iran Does Not Have a Nuclear Weapon

May 8, 2012 3:31 pm 4 comments

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.

“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.”


  • 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?

  • 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.

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

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Beliefs and concepts What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David?

    What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David? –  “What’s that huge white bridal dress floating over the Tower of David?” That’s what visitors to Jerusalem’s Old City asked last week. The wedding gown, created by leading Israeli artist Motti Mizrachi, is part of the 2nd Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, an event that blew into town as the Sukkot holiday got underway. Mizrachi, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, created the dress that floats majestically over the Tower of David, the main exhibition site […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    Israel is a holiday destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. No matter the style of holiday you are after, Israel has the answer. Whether you prefer to relax by the beach, hike up mountains in the desert, visit religious and historical sites, eat your way through the country or just enjoy some retail therapy, your journey through Israel will be one to remember. While there are obviously so many things to see and do, here is a list of 10 of […]

    Read more →
  • Pioneers/Philanthropists US & Canada Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO

    Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO – Jewish American fashion mogul Ralph Lauren announced his plan to step down as chief executive officer of the renowned fashion brand. The head of Gap Inc’s Old Navy brand will take over the position. The 75-year-old Lauren, who founded Ralph Lauren Corp. in 1967, will continue to serve as executive chairman and will continue leading the fashion house’s design team, according to a statement by the company. After the announcement, Ralph Lauren shares rose 3.79 percent while Gap shares […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Sports US & Canada Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish boxer Dustin Fleischer, who said his quest is to become the first world champion descended from a Holocaust survivor, stayed unbeaten with a first-round knockout. Fleischer, nicknamed “The White Tiger,” moved to 4-0 with the defeat of Ira Frank on Saturday night in Beach Haven, New Jersey, near his home, he reported after the fight on his Facebook page. The 26-year-old welterweight has won all his bouts by knockout. Read full story at JTA.

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Pioneers/Philanthropists Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Renowned New York attorney Sandor (Sandy) Frankel, one of four trustees of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was in Israel earlier this month to look at additional philanthropic options and to observe the progress of those endeavors already funded – to the tune of multi-millions. Frankel, who recently joined the prestigious Park Avenue law firm Otterbourg P.C., met with Israeli politicians and other bigwigs to get a sense from them about which projects in the country […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Food Spirituality/Tradition ‘Pastry Secrets’ Arrive Just in Time for Rosh Hashanah

    ‘Pastry Secrets’ Arrive Just in Time for Rosh Hashanah – Babka. Strudel. Stollen. Danish pastry. Not to mention Gugelhopf and Charlotte. The names set the mouth to watering and conjure up lovingly concocted pastries that feed the body and comfort the soul. If you didn’t have a grandmother who baked these delicacies, you wish that you had. George Greenstein was never a grandmother, but his life as a baker provided his children and grandchildren with memories infused with the smell of fresh baked bread and rugelach. His daughters, Julia […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Spirituality/Tradition Fusing Israeli and Holocaust History, Novel Offers a ‘Middle Eastern Western’

    Fusing Israeli and Holocaust History, Novel Offers a ‘Middle Eastern Western’ – There is a game that all of us have played at some time in our lives. We ask ourselves: What would my life be like if I had gone to this school instead of that one, or if I had married this girl instead of that one? In their newly published book The Ambassador, authors Yehuda Avner and Matt Rees play that game with modern Jewish history. Avner — who died earlier this year, and was a speechwriter, secretary and adviser to […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Lifestyle A Toulouse Fashion Student Finds Style and Harmony in the Holy Land

    A Toulouse Fashion Student Finds Style and Harmony in the Holy Land

    A unique group of young fashion bloggers and designers recently visited Israel to learn more about the country’s fashion industry and diverse culture. Hailing from the Philippines, Korea, Kenya, Japan, Brazil, Spain, France, Germany, Russia, and the U.K., the 10 participants toured the country and met with top Israeli fashion designers throughout last week. “It was an amazing experience,” said Meissene Maghni from Toulouse, France — one of the participants of the program. “I’m Muslim and I really wanted to see Israel […]

    Read more →