Sunday, October 28, 2007
"The Russians Know Very Well What Would Happen to Them if a Pro-American Government Was in Power in Tehran"
Putin compares the US plan for a missile shield in Europe to the Cuban missile crisis: "Putin Invokes Cuban Missile Crisis" (Tony Barber, Financial Times, 26 October 2007). It is possible that Putin also sees Iran as the USSR saw Cuba -- only more is at stake this time, as Iran is closer to Russia than Cuba. Putin must have considered a possibility: what if Washington succeeds in its "regime change" campaign, installing a pro-American and anti-Russian regime in Iran, under the pretext of Iran's nuclear dossier and its support for its friends in Iraq and Afghanistan? Indeed, Iran's Leader Ali Khamenei said as much: "The Russians know very well what would happen to them if a pro-American government was in power in Tehran" ("Iranian TV: Ayatollah Khamene'i Speaks on Khomeyni's Death Anniversary (2), Islamic Republic of Iran News Network Television," Trans. the Open Source Center, 4 June 2006, available online at Informed Comment). Washington has so far failed to understand the seriousness with which Putin is taking what he probably sees as the empire's steady march toward Russia, from both the European and West Asian fronts. Therein lies Iran's chance, if its leadership does not overplay its hand.