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Trenin: How the Iran Nuclear Standoff Looks From Russia - Bloomberg

When Russians look at Iran, they see a country that has been their neighbor and rival forever. As the Russian empire advanced, it wrestled the North and South Caucasus from the Shah. Peter the Great annexed, briefly, Iran's entire Caspian Sea coastline and put his forces just north of Tehran.

In the early 20th century, Russia and the U.K. divided Iran into zones of influence. The Russians got the north and proceeded to occupy Iran twice, during each of the world wars. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met with Josef Stalin in Tehran in 1943, they were protected by the Red Army.

Yet there was never much love lost between the two countries. To Iranians, Russia was too powerful and too threatening. Russians, meanwhile, remembered their own embassy trauma at Iranian hands in 1829. Every schoolchild knows the fate of Alexander Griboyedov, the czar's ambassador to Persia, who was murdered, with his entire embassy staff, by an angry Tehran mob. Griboyedov was a great Russian author, many of whose lines Russian children -- and grown-ups -- know by heart.

This brief background is vital to understanding where Russians are coming from as they approach Iran's nuclear program

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 11:45:17 AM EST
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