Russia, Iran, and the United States


iran-russia.jpgOver at Stratfor, George Friedman has a very interesting piece on the possibility of closer ties between Russia and Iran.
Friedman lays out in detail the key geopolitical factors that are shaping the Iran-Russia-U.S. triangle.
Essentially, Friedman’s tentative conclusion is that Washington’s aggressive policies toward both Moscow and Tehran are bringing the two hydrocarbon exporters closer together.
Meanwhile, in a related move, Russia this month secured access to Turkish waters for its proposed South Stream natural gas pipeline. South Stream will allow Russia to export gas to Europe without going through Ukraine, with which it has very frosty relations at the moment.
The deal on South Stream comes on the heels of an agreement among Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Austria and Hungary on the Nabucco project – a pipeline intended to transport Caspian and possibly Middle Eastern gas to Europe via Turkey while bypassing Russia.
The goal of the Nabucco project is to diversify Europe’s natural gas supplies away from Russia. Europe is currently dependent on Russia for 25% of its natural gas imports.
Remarkably, United States Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy Richard Morningstar is denying that South Stream and Nabucco are competitors.
Furthermore, Morningstar says that the Nabucco project – which remember was meant to be an alternative to Russian gas – should be open to Russian gas, but not to Iranian gas.
It will be interesting to watch how long Europe and Turkey are willing to follow U.S. orders and refuse to allow Iranian gas to help fill the Nabucco pipeline. Turkey already imports gas from Iran and says that Iranian gas should be allowed to help fill the pipeline.
Meanwhile, Reinhard Mitschek the managing director of Nabucco Gas Pipeline International is leaving the door open to Iranian participation. He says that It will be up to European customers to decide for themselves whether to import Iranian gas.
For all of Washington’s talk about diversifying Europe’s gas supply away from Russia, it appears that the one move that could actually make a difference – allowing Europe to import Iranian gas – remains off the table.
This situation cannot be sustained indefinitely. Sooner or later, Iran will increase its gas exports and Europe will not be in a position to turn them away.
— Ben Katcher


15 comments on “Russia, Iran, and the United States

  1. jon says:

    Iran will never be a serious competitor to the US, in the way that
    the USSR was, and that Russia and China may very well become.
    The US and Iran share a number of interests where they should
    be ideal allies. The US is losing economic opportunities because
    of this rift.
    Europe will be deferential to Russia in many subjects, to the
    extent that their gas supplies are dominated by the Russia.
    Russia’s behavior towards the Ukraine is an instructive proxy,
    whose meaning has not been lost on the EU, particularly in
    northern Europe.
    Russia is intent on having all of the supply lines to Europe going
    through russia or being subject to Russian control and influence,
    regardless of where the gas originates. US behavior towards
    Iran strengthens Russia in many ways, and makes Europe weaker
    and more precarious as it seeks energy security.


  2. ... says:

    well nadine said so… that’s good enough, lol… either way it’s serving her purpose quite well thank you very much… if nadine says so, that must make it so. if the bullshit media says so without offering any proof, it’s even better for freaks like nadine..


  3. JohnH says:

    The Iranian regime shot Neda? Why would they do that? And what evidence do you have? There is none from what I have seen. And there is no motive.
    Neda’s death is a tragedy. But the cynical exploitation of her death by the corporate media is an even greater tragedy. The least the media could have done is to find someone, like Rachel Corrie, who was clearly killed in cold blood by the regime.


  4. Paul Norheim says:

    Nadine has previously suggested that Obama is pro Hamas, even
    pro Achmedinejad. So what do you say, Nadine: according to your
    weird world view, perhaps Obama was behind the killing of Neda?
    That would clarify a lot, wouldn`t it?


  5. nadine says:

    Did the Iranian regime shoot Neda in cold blood just because George Bush was mean to them? Or do you mean not to notice such trifles?
    If you are pushing an amoral, purely realist policy like China’s, where you don’t care how many people a government kills as long as the oil flows, please just say so.
    But funny thing, I thought that was what the US was being criticized for in it relationship with Saudi Arabia. This situational realism gets so confusing.


  6. JohnH says:

    What’s mind boggling in all of this is that the US still insists on using the failed policies of the Reagan-Bush era towards Iran. Back in the day, cheap oil was plentiful and Saudi Arabia was pumping gobs of it. The US and Europe (along with Japan, the major oil importing nations) could afford to isolate Iraq and Iran, which kept their crude off the market and carried the additional benefit of avoiding a total price collapse.
    But then the century turned. Oil became scarce, so that US decided it had to grab Iraqi oil while it could (though it can’t seem to manage to make Iraq increase its production). The Russians did Bush a HUGE favor by dramatically increasing oil production. Chavez proved himself to be a very reliable supplier. But Washington decided it was best to alienate these two.
    And though crude rose to $140/barrel under Bush, he decided it was wise to alienate Iran instead of enticing it to work with the US. And now the financial wizards in Washington are threatening to impose a blockade of refined products on Iran, which will almost certainly be met by an Iranian embargo on exports, sending prices skyward once again.
    But are assured that this is all in the national interest. But how could this be in anyone’s interest to alienate one’s best potential suppliers, particularly when they have alternative markets like China and India? Hasn’t it occurred to anyone besides George Friedman that these antiquated policies might somehow be counterproductive?
    Will somebody please inform these cold warriors that it is no longer 1990? The sheer stupidity of the foreign policy mob has become a major threat to the nation.


  7. Carroll says:

    Posted by rich, Aug 18 2009, 7:12PM – Link
    “If only there was some sort of concert of democracies that could rush across the world stage with a convenient figleaf so we could act unilaterally! If only.”
    ROTFLMAO!..that is so funny! Best laugh I have had this week.


  8. Carroll says:

    Posted by Kathleen, Aug 18 2009, 4:47PM
    Well, that shows it all doesn’t it?
    Gawd, it’s hard to believe I have been saying this for 9 years….


  9. ... says:

    “”””..follow U.S. orders..”””” that really is the rub isn’t it???


  10. rich says:

    “Essentially, Friedman’s tentative conclusion is that Washington’s aggressive policies toward both Moscow and Tehran are bringing the two hydrocarbon exporters closer together.”
    Quelle surprise.
    Been pointing out for more than a year that the notion of isolating Iran or attempting to force Teheran to knuckle under is foolhardy. Can’t be done. Too many intersecting interests and large muscular powers in play to accomplish that, not to mention the geographic position.
    Why would Russia blockade Iran? It won’t.
    Will Turkey blockade Iran? No way.
    Pakistan? The U.S. will have it’s hands full corralling events in AfPak, and because we need them to do that much, we won’t be demanding extras from them.
    China has too much leverage over us, and its own energy interests preclude performing menial tasks for U.S. corporate interests. And its strategic interests supercede our own.
    If only there was some sort of concert of democracies that could rush across the world stage with a convenient figleaf so we could act unilaterally! If only.
    If only we’d acted with just a little bit of integrity in relating to Iran, a dose of respect through the channels of normal relations — then perhaps they’d have a reason, any reason, to find common ground. To work a deal, work together. Instead, our national interest pays the heavy cost of our vanity and overweening sense of entitlement.
    Instead, we gave orders when we had no power and less right to go a high-handed route, forgetting entirely the point of prudent politics rooted in self-rule we so ably proved in 1776. Failure to practice that single princple at home and abroad has cost us tremendously at home and abroad. No form of progress is available until that’s repaired.


  11. Kathleen says:

    Speaking of exerting influence on foreign countries, it’s a two way street…A joint project by The Sunlight Foundation and ProPublica is shedding light on foreign lobbyists in the US…for a motherload of hairraising details..


  12. JohnH says:

    Yes, it does seem that megalomania is disguising itself under the false pretense of “national interest.” I’ll bet anything that Ben can’t explain why it’s in the US’ national interest to insert itself between Europe and Russia or Europe and Iran.


  13. downtown says:

    I guarantee you that just about every European Country will scoff at the notion of subordinating their own national interests to the hectoring of the US – Israeli “brotherhood”.


  14. Carroll says:

    Posted by JohnH, Aug 18 2009, 11:03AM
    I can’t find any “national interest” in 99% of US policies anyway. Our national interest seem to be composed by ideologues with pet enemies like Russia and Iran, pet friends like Israel, domination fetishes, personal hubris, the brain farts of capitalist cannibals and etc..
    I am sick of them.


  15. JohnH says:

    “t will be interesting to watch how long Europe and Turkey are willing to follow U.S. orders and refuse to allow Iranian gas to help fill the Nabucco pipeline.” Could Ben please explain why it is US national interest to get between Iran and the Europeans? Is it because such independent relationships would threaten the US military’s role as the global cop, thereby threatening the US empire and its hegemony?
    Could we have some answers, please?


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