Iran: Cold war of another kind brewing

As the West reaches out for an accord with Iran, reports circulate that Russia is looking into the possibility of building a second reactor at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant in exchange for oil from Iran.

Russia is in a position to supply Iran with trucks, railroad tracks, mini-refineries or other goods, to pay for the oil, said Iranian ambassador to Moscow Mehdi Sanaei.

Mehdi Sanaei
Mehdi Sanaei

“Iran could use some of the proceeds from the oil for the construction by Russian companies of a second nuclear unit in Busheh” and that “a broad memorandum on economic cooperation could be signed before August with Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev set to visit Iran in April for trade talks” the ambassador revealed.

“Iran is interested in buying a huge amount of railroad tracks from Russia, as well as Russian involvement in the electrification of its railways. We are also interested in Russian grain” he added.

American officials said they did not believe the oil-for-goods exchange would go ahead after the U.S. had warned it would make reaching a nuclear agreement “more difficult if not impossible”. But Sanaei dismissed the U.S. concerns choosing to remind instead that a number of European nations had sent business delegations to Iran and that Moscow would risk “losing lucrative opportunities” if Russia did not respond soon.

“Our Russian friends, who have stood by us at difficult moments, should have advantages on the Iranian market … But Russian companies must hurry to get into their niche in our market and not hesitate out of fear of Western sanctions,” Sanaei is said to have remarked.

It thus seems that Russia will stand by Iran in its hour of trial, just as it has with other nations in the Middle East while European countries, including the United Kingdom, reach out to the defiant oil and gas abundant Islamic Republic.

This signals a Cold War of another kind brewing – one that could leave only Israel and Saudi Arabia as  America’s allies in the region

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