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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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Ahmadinejad Hails `Great' Iranian Nuclear Progress | World | RIA Novosti

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad trumpeted on Wednesday major advances in the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, in a move likely to further raise the stakes in its tense stand-off with the West.

"I am grateful to the Almighty...for these great achievements we are offering to the people of Iran and all humanity," he said at a research reactor in northwest Tehran.

In an event that was a startling mix of religious ceremony and scientific procedure, Ahmadinejad presided over the loading of Iran's first domestically produced nuclear fuel rods into the research reactor, joining scientists as they intoned Islamic prayers after each stage of the process.

He then took to the stage at the reactor's conference hall to announce that a "new generation of Iranian centrifuges" had been installed and put into operation at the country's main uranium enrichment facility at Natanz in central Iran. He said this brought the number of Iran's operating centrifuges for nuclear enrichment up to 9,000 from 6,000.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 03:01:16 PM EST
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