Iranian issue in Munich

Author: Orhan Sattarov, head of European office of VK

The Iranian nuclear program has become one of the main topics of the Munich Security Conference on 3 February. There were no sensations - each party of the nuclear conflict (and these are, in fact, the U.S. and Iran) have repeatedly confirmed their articulated position. The U.S. has once again promised to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and Iran through its Minister of Foreign Affairs asked for proof that he is, in fact, working on its creation.


Significant news was the announcement by the Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi about the upcoming meetings in 5 +1 format in Kazakhstan on the Iranian nuclear issue. However, the prerequisites for the fact that Kazakhstan round promises a breakthrough are not obvious. Conversely, last week, the Iranian government announced the installation of thousands of new centrifuges IR-2 in the nuclear center in Natanz, which could hardly inspire the Western community and provides additional trumps to the supporters of isolating Iran. Der Spiegel recalls that, according to the experts, for getting enriched uranium sufficient to make a nuclear bomb within one year Iran would need about 1,200 centrifuges IR-2.

The U.S. Vice President Joe Biden offered the Iranians to start direct negotiations to resolve the conflict. The reaction of the foreign minister of Iran was restrained: Iran will seriously examine the proposal received, provided that the U.S. is ready to sincere negotiations. "We are not lackeys of other nations," - Salehi said, noting that Iran appreciated its own independence. Judging by the statements of Joe Biden in an interview to Le Figaro, the U.S. is also far from the idea to soften its stance. "The diplomatic window is closing," the vice-president said concerning Iran.

However, the Iranian readiness to negotiate and the American persistence largely depend on the further development of the situation in Syria, which has become a kind of outer edge of Iran. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in his speech in Munich has expressed confidence that the regime of Bashar Assad is doomed and its collapse is coming. Israeli minister indirectly confirmed that the bombing of a military research center in the province of Damascus is the work of Israeli aircraft. This can be interpreted as a pretty clear signal that Tel Aviv does not consider the possibility of severe retaliation from Syria mired into a civil war. However, Iran has already supported its allies in Syria.

Iran believes that Damascus will adequately respond to Israeli air attack on Syria, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili said on Sunday, after the meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus. "We believe in the ability of Syria to respond appropriately to the Israeli aggression, which did not change the balance of power and did not influence the situation in Syria and the region", RIA Novosti refers to Syrian state television citing Jalili's words.

Obviously, "an adequate response of Damascus", mentioned by Saeed Jalili, to some extent, should be understood as an adequate response of Iran. Iran has repeatedly warned that intervention in Syria will become a "red line", after which Iran, according to the agreements concluded between the countries in 2007 on the mutual protection, will directly intervene in the conflict. Well, now, Israel scored a touchstone and rather unceremoniously crossed this "red line". The reaction of Iran will be seen soon.