by Emanuel A. Winston, Mid East Analyst
It has been reported that the Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to withhold nuclear fuel from the Bushehr nuclear plant he was building in Iran. The flimsy excuse is that the Iranians are behind in their payments. It has also been reported that Putin has started to withdraw Russian nuclear technicians from Iran supposedly slowing the completion of the nuclear plant.
Why do I feel that there is another truth somewhere in the lies? Consider the fact that most of the construction and technology has already been completed and Putin doesn’t want to be blamed for what Iran is about to do. One is reminded of the French nuclear plant in Osirak, Iraq which was just awaiting the nuclear fuel rods to go live. The Israelis bombed the Osirak plant in 1981 before the nuclear fuel was installed in order to avoid radiation spread among the civilian population.
In the world of nuclear science there are hundreds, even thousands of nuclear engineers from Europe ready to be paid for their services at handsome salaries. Some from North Korea, China, France, the Netherlands have already been working in Iran. The withdrawal of Russian technologists may look good but I suspect it is a ploy, merely, so Russia will be held blameless when not if Iran brings the Bushehr plant on line and would be one of the main targets for strikes by the U.S. and Israel.
There is also the matter of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s credible threat to send a nuclear missile or two against Israel. Here you can separate the completion of the Bushehr plant and the ability of Iran to construct a nuclear warhead for its missiles. Here again I see Putin distancing himself from what could be a nuclear catastrophe in Israel.
There is another problem Putin wishes to avoid, namely KEGS (Suitcase Nukes) which went missing from their Soviet inventory. Some will recall General Alexander Lebed’s statement on TV that approximately 100 KEGS were unaccounted for and presumably sold by Soviet Generals to the Russian Mafia who re-sold them to Iran and other Terrorist groups. If any of those smaller nukes just happened to explode in American cities, courtesy of Iran or Osama Bin Laden’s al Qaeda, Russia would have its fingerprints all over it as the source.
Be assured that Putin, no friend of America, would NOT weep over the carnage. He would be concerned that the U.S. would respond with ICBMs, in addition to making Iran glow for a few hundred years.
While the Arabist State Department is crowing over Putin’s seemingly dragging his feet in the completion of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear plant, they also know all and more of what has been explained earlier. He, Putin, may also know or been informed of U.S. plans to take out Iranâ‚¬ â€™Â²s nuclear productions facilities by the U.S.
Perhaps to ingratiate himself with the Iranians and Syrians, he sold them Russia’s most advanced ground-to-air missile defenses and the radar to back it up. Clearly, Putin has returned to his Cold War KGB ways, if he ever really left.
Putin may have thought he was getting even for the collapse of the Soviet Union through Perestroika but, much of his tinkering is turning into what the Intelligence community calls “Blow-Back” or the force of unintended consequences. Russia also may be a target for Iranian nukes especially if transferred to the Chechen front.
So, don’t be too quick to applaud Putin’s trivial withdrawal from completing Bushehr. It will be completed in 2 months. Presently, Russian spokesmen are denying the reports of Putin withdrawing Russian technicians and scientists as well as withholding critical nuclear fuel.
Where are the competent investigative reporters when you need them the most?