RIA Novosti: Russian Experts Split On Iranian President’s Statements In New York

UN Building file photo

(RIA Novosti – September 25, 2013) Several Russian experts interviewed by state news agency RIA Novosti have said that they believe that the statements made by Iranian President Hasan Ruhani in New York that his country is ready to start effective talks on the nuclear programme, as well as his recognition of the Holocaust as a historical fact show that Iran’s position is changing. However, one prominent experts believes that Iran’s approach to the nuclear talks is not genuine and that Tehran is simply temporizing while creating nuclear weapons, RIA Novosti reported on 25 September.

Transformation or diplomatic game

“I think nevertheless that these are real changes of Iran’s position in the understanding of the country’s place in the world and in the region… (agency’s ellipsis) Let’s say openly: transformation has started in Iran. And this transformation has not been caused by the desire of some individual politicians, but it is a natural process of development of society and the country,” RIA Novosti quoted a senior researcher of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, expert of the Russian Foreign Affairs Council Vladimir Sazhin, as saying.

A professor of the oriental studies department of the Moscow Institute of International Relations of the Russian Foreign Ministry, expert of the Russian Foreign Affairs Council Irina Zvyagelskaya, shares the opinion that these are real changes, but, in her view, there is no question of transformation. “I believe that this is a real turning point, but at the same time it does not follow at all from this that this is evidence of some serious change of the regime’s orientation in Iran or, in general, of some serious change in internal and foreign policy of that state,” RIA Novosti quoted Zvyagelskaya as saying.

As for the president of the Middle East Institute, Yevgeniy Satanovskiy, he doubts Iran’s sincerity. “Iran has always been ready for talks on its nuclear programme… (agency’s ellipsis) It will favour them with the whole country, with open arms and a broad soul and so until the moment when Iran joins the club of nuclear powers,” RIA Novosti quoted Satanovskiy as saying.

Iran ready for compromise at nuclear talks

“The talks should already start soon, the question has already been resolved from all sides… (agency’s ellipsis) It is only a question of when and where. I think that this should happen in the nearest future because all sides are interested in this,” RIA Novosti quoted Sazhin as saying.

According to Sazhin, the fact that Iran has said that it is ready to hold bilateral talks with the USA is an important message. “I think that here, of course, Iran will agree to compromises, undoubtedly. But the main issue at the moment is where that red line is, which Iran will not cross in its nuclear programme,” RIA Novosti further quoted Sazhin as saying.

Sazhin also said that the talks would focus on uranium enrichment to 20 per cent, which – Sazhin believed – the country did not need. Therefore, Tehran could agree to a compromise and stop enriching uranium to that degree.

“No-one is against Iran enriching uranium to 5 per cent… (agency’s ellipsis) The main task of Iran’s opponents, including Russia and China, is to squeeze the Iranian nuclear programme into the requirements of the IAEA and the UN Security Council,” Sazhin said, according to RIA Novosti.

Holocaust

The head of the public relations department of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR), Borukh Gorin, has said that the Iranian leadership recognized the fact of the Holocaust to a greater or lesser extent already in the past and that the latest statements by President Hasan Ruhani do not change anything because the state’s anti-Israeli rhetoric continues, RIA Novosti reported earlier on 25 September.

“I would say that a disproportionately large amount of attention is being paid to all this (Ruhani’s words) because of the lack of understanding of what there was in the past. The Iranian state demonstrates the absence of anti-Semitism in its ideology as ethnic division of people, with political rejection of Zionism and the state of Israel, for the destruction of which it is calling,” RIA Novosti quoted Gorin as saying.

Gorin also said that “the denial of the Holocaust has never been Iran’s official policy” and even the country’s former president , Mahmud Ahmadinezhad, “did not deny the very fact of the Holocaust. He only talked about – in his terminology – speculation around the Holocaust”.

“When Ruhani will say that the Israeli state has the right to exits and one shouldn’t call for its destruction, then it will be a revolution in dialectics. But the talk about whether the events of 70 years ago did happen, whether that was good or bad – this is, I’m sorry, chatter which has no significance and in no way changes relations between Iran and the Jewish community in the country itself and the Jewish community in the world,” RIA Novosti quoted Gorin as saying.

Gorin also said that Iran’s rhetoric regarding Israel “is misanthropic and extremely dangerous”. “The interested community accuses Iran of preaching war and destruction of the Israeli state – that is not of talk about whether there was the Holocaust in the past, but rather talk about whether a new Holocaust should be committed,” RIA Novosti quoted Gorin as saying. Gorin also noted that there is a large Jewish community in Iran, which is not subject to “any official discrimination”.