The US and Russia are fighting for the EU: how are Ukraine and Iran connected?

MOSCOW, 14 Nov 2021, RUSSTRAT Institute.

The Americans unexpectedly and outwardly motivelessly began to escalate the situation around Ukraine by making a number of harsh statements to Moscow.

Firstly, following the recent visit of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba to Washington, where, together with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, he signed an updated version of the Charter on Strategic Partnership between the United States and Ukraine, the Secretary of State made the following statement:

“As I said, we are concerned about reports of unusual Russian activity near Ukraine. We are following this very, very closely. We are also in close consultation with our allies and partners… We have no clarity about Moscow’s intentions, but we know its methods. And we are concerned that Russia may make a serious mistake by trying to do again what it did in 2014.”

Then Bloomberg published an article in which, with reference to anonymous officials, it was reported that “the U.S. is raising the alarm with European Union allies that Russia may be weighing a potential invasion of Ukraine as tensions flare between Moscow and the bloc over migrants and energy supplies <…>

The assessments are believed to be based on information the U.S. hasn’t yet shared with European governments, which would have to happen before any decision is made on a collective response, the people said. They’re backed up by publicly-available evidence, according to officials familiar with the administration’s thinking”.

The first oddity here is that they don’t talk about serious things with allies based on “publicly available information”. In such cases, it is necessary to provide closed analytics, a special intelligence dossier, supported by intelligence reports, interceptions and satellite images. The question arises why Washington did not do this in negotiations with the leaders of European countries. Either Americans are afraid of leaks, or they simply have nothing to show.

The second oddity is that it is unclear why exactly the United States decided to play the “Ukrainian card”. Do they want to protect some of their investments in Ukraine? So they’re not there yet. Therefore, it seems that Washington, through Kiev, is conducting an operation to pull European allies to its side on some other issues and directions, fearing that they may support the position of Russia, and not the United States.

Currently, the White House and the State Department are playing a difficult game with Iran. In early November, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani, commenting on the process of restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian Nuclear Program (JCPOA), said that in a telephone conversation with the coordinator of the European Union, Enrique Mora, “it was agreed to start negotiations on November 29”.

Recall that negotiations have been going on in Vienna since April of this year, and one of the difficult points is that Washington and Tehran do not communicate directly, they need an intermediary. The other day, the Iranian authorities introduced an intrigue in this matter. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani said in an interview with the Le Figaro newspaper that France could play a more important role as a mediator in the negotiations between the United States and Iran on the nuclear deal. According to him, if Paris “demonstrates a more independent position from now on, it will strengthen its position as a negotiating state”.

By “a more independent position”, it is obviously meant that France, at least, will not play along with the United States. And, I must say, the Iranian diplomat chose a good time to shoot a Parthian arrow. Tehran hand the ball to Paris, which did not forget how Washington humiliated it in the case of the creation of the AUKUS military bloc (Australia – Great Britain – USA), which in turn also caused the Australians to refuse to buy French submarines.

Now, thanks to Iran, the French have the opportunity to win back a number of positions using the negotiations on the nuclear deal, in which Russia, France, Great Britain, Germany and China are also taking part. However, in order to create a numerical advantage on them over the Americans, Paris needs allies. Can Russia take its side?

This will be clear in the future. But there are prerequisites for this, as evidenced by the Ukrainian crisis artificially provoked by Washington, when the United States is trying to create a conflict between Paris-Berlin and Moscow. Germany and France understand this. We note the unprecedented activity of Acting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has twice contacted Russian President Vladimir Putin over the past few days.

As noted in the Kremlin’s message, “during the exchange of views on the internal Ukrainian conflict”, the “destabilising and dangerous nature of the provocative activity of the armed forces of the United States and a number of other NATO countries in the Black Sea” was noted. As for France, at the talks with the Russian side in Paris in the “2+2” format (the heads of the Foreign and Defence Ministries), according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the issue of Ukraine will be raised.

“I mean the Zelensky regime, which… undermines these very agreements with the tacit connivance of our French and German co-authors on the Minsk package of measures. Therefore, we will have a very serious conversation on this topic,” Lavrov concluded.

In turn, the official representative of the French Foreign Ministry, Anne-Claire Legendre, said that “we will raise issues concerning which there are differences, but also touch on issues that open up opportunities for agreement, such as relations with Iran and other topics”. If Moscow, Paris and Berlin can together prevent the Americans from playing out the Ukrainian issue, then they will have much more “opportunities for agreement”.

Institute for International Political and Economic Strategies – RUSSTRAT

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