Strange are the ways of Persian diplomacy. Two things struck me this morning. First, the case of the Russians breaking the contract for sale of S-300 missiles to Iran. Moscow came under sustained American pressure in the heydays of the US-Russia ‘reset’ to jettison its military ties with Tehran. Although UN sanctions didn’t prohibit the S-300 deal worth several hundred millions of dollars, Moscow caved in. Tehran understood it became a ‘victim’ of US-Russia reset. It had the option to sue Moscow for damage, but it didn’t. For, that would have accelerated the ‘cooling’ of Iran’s ties with Russia.
So, Tehran waited - until ties with Moscow improved. As Moscow made overtures
to Tehran to improve relations, Iranians feel encouraged to sue the Russians at the International Court of Justice. This might seem theatre of the absurd. But it has a greater logic. If Iran wins the case, it opens the way to ‘liberate’ Russia from the bondage of the ‘reset’ with the US. Moscow will be left with the choice to pay heavy damages to Tehran or take the easy course of reviving the S-300 deal. In short, as Iran’s ambassador to Russia put it, Tehran hopes
that ICJ ruling “would help Russia carry out the supplies.”
What a subtle use of Persian language to hint Iran’s ICJ suit is a joint Russian-Iranian venture. It comes after FM Ali Akbar Salehi’s visit to Moscow ten days ago. The crisis over Syria has brought about Russian-Iranian proximity. The two countries have common viewpoints
on Syria. Again, who do you think President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad had at home last evening in Tehran to break the Ramadan fast?
The Qatari emir, Sheikh Hamad Khalifa Al Thani! Yes, the same gentleman who is bankrolling the Libyan operations
by the european countries and who is burning midnight oil to bring democracy to Syria by overthrowing the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, Iran’s closest ally in the region. Could Hamad be the harbinger of tidings from the opposite camp?
Hamad is perfectly capable of selling the same camel to two buyers simultaneously and then keeping it to himself at the end of the day. The big question is whether he brought some conciliatory message from Saudi Arabia. After all, with Turkey finding itself in a quagmire in the Kurdish mountains
, it would have no appetite for an intervention in Syria. That would give Assad a breather and the Saudis an itch to do some rethink.