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August 14, 2015 3:58 pm

Russia and China Are the Real Winners in Iran Nuclear Deal

avatar by Behrooz Behbudi

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

For those who are familiar with the history of Russia’s centuries-old manipulative foreign policy towards Iran, the news last week of the shadowy Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani visiting Moscow to meet with senior Russian leaders – despite a travel ban and UN Security Council resolutions barring him from leaving Iran – would come as no surprise.

According to Western intelligence agencies, on July 24, one week before John Kerry testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee and faced questions about the Iran nuclear deal, Soleimani arrived in Moscow for meetings with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin.

Designated as a terrorist and sanctioned by the U.S. in 2005 for his role as a supporter of international terrorism, Soleimani belongs to a faction of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard leadership whose pro-Moscow tendencies are nowhere more conspicuous than their unwavering military support for the dictatorial regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the closest ally of Russia in the Middle East.

However, Moscow has followed a strategic calculation in its policy towards Iran, a major contributor to and directly involved in the unprecedented bloodshed and turmoil in the Islamic world – because Iran is the best Russian entry point to Middle East.

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From using the Iran card to secure concessions from Western governments by not using its veto power against the UN Security Councils’ paralysing economic sanctions on Iran, to calling for a diplomatic resolution of Iran’s nuclear crisis, Russia has been manipulating the U.S. As Carly Fiorina said, “Russia has not been negotiating on our side of the table all along. In many ways they have been negotiating on Iran’s side of the table.”

Back in April, President Putin lifted Russia’s self-imposed embargo on delivering S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran; Tehran signed an $800 million contract for them in 2007.

The Russian refusal at the time had more to do with whether Iran was able to pay for the purchase than Moscow’s gesture of cooperation with the world community to curb its suspected nuclear program.

But now, the tyrannical clerical regime of Iran has $150 billion in its pockets.

That is more or less how much the U.S. Treasury Department says Iran will gain once sanctions are lifted under the nuclear deal. The money comes from Iranian oil sales that have been piling up in international banks over the past few years. But there are questions about what Iran will do with this windfall.

“We have no ability to constrain Iran if they want to spend all $100 billion on funding Hezbollah or other terrorist organizations,” Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies has warned. “But when you’re getting a $100 billion-plus cash windfall, even if you’re spending 5 to 10 percent of that only on the regional activities and your support for terrorism, that’s an extra $5 to $10 billion dollars-plus.”

China is another country with great interest in seeing the removal of economic sanctions, and Iran’s economy becoming open.

Tahmaseb Mazaehri, the former Governor of Iran’s Central Bank, has described the country’s frozen monies for the sale of oil to China as “imprisoned”- and says the Chinese are only willing to return them in exchange for Iran buying their own products.

Mousa Servati, the head of the Budget and Economic Planning of Iran’s Majles (parliament) has now confirmed that billions of dollars released as a result of the nuclear deal will either end up in the pockets of the military, energy oligarchs of Russia and China, or to Hezbollah, by announcing that “almost the entire amount of all Iran’s frozen assets and funds due to the sanctions have already been spent by the government towards its international obligations.”

It’s not hard to see why some countries support the Iran nuclear deal.

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