Russia, China backing makes Iran more dangerous threat

by Will Tubbs

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News

Two Aprils ago, FISM News reported that the trio of Iran, Russia and China were migrating ever closer to one another. 

At the time, experts questioned the strength of the alliance forged among the longstanding rivals to the West. Those theories will be put to the test in the coming weeks as Iran plans to strike Israel following that nation’s military action in Syria. 

It’s been well reported, both by FISM and the media writ large, that Iran has vowed a strident response to Israel’s attack on the Iranian consulate in Syria, an attack Iran said killed seven of its military advisers, among them three senior commanders. 

That response could be tempered or aggravated by any number of factors. Russia and China becoming more vociferous in their support of Iran stands to embolden Tehran more than any other element. 

Russia called Israel’s strike in Syria “completely unacceptable” and called for a meeting of the UN Security Council. 

“China condemns the attack,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said. “The security of diplomatic institutions cannot be violated, and Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity should be respected.”

Wang added, “The current situation in the Middle East is turbulent, and we oppose any actions that lead to an escalation of tension.”

But the issue runs deeper than rhetorical responses of diplomatic hearings. 

The world has waited anxiously to see just how significant the response turns out to be. The intensity of that response could spell an escalation of hostilities in the Middle East. The West, America most of all, wants desperately to contain fighting to Gaza and between Israel and Hamas. 

However, with Iran funding anti-Israel forces and Israel now lashing out against Iranian forces, such containment has grown more difficult. 

Meir Javedanfar, Iran and Middle East lecturer at Reichman University and writing for the European Leadership Network, warned this week that a combination of the Gaza and Ukraine wars has created a situation in which Russia might be willing to champion Iran going nuclear. 

“The ongoing Gaza war could provide Ayatollah Khamenei’s regime with the opportunity to cross the nuclear threshold,” Javedanfar wrote. “The [Iranian] leadership perceives the war as stretching Israeli military resources to the limit while US diplomatic focus and military resources are being stretched thin fighting the Houthis in Yemen and Iran’s proxies in Syria and Iraq … Consequently, the [Iranian] leadership could conclude that the US and Israel lack the military resources to attack [Iran’s] nuclear facilities … This perception may be incorrect, but in war, as in politics, perception is more important than reality.”

Russia would, Javedanfar says, be operating in its interest and at the expense of Iran, which would be hit with massive sanctions if it goes nuclear. 

“A nuclear-armed Iran could offer Russia at least one of the advantages that a nuclear-armed North Korea has provided China: increased diplomatic importance,” Javedanfar wrote. 

Iran has certainly made good on its end of the bargain with Russia. NATO has warned that Russia is receiving ballistic missiles from both Iran and North Korea for use in Ukraine. 

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION WALKS FINE LINE IN DEALING WITH IRAN

President Joe Biden and his cabinet are stuck in a tough-to-win scenario. 

They’re angry with Israel over the protection of foreign aid workers and civilians in Gaza, but America and Iran have long been at odds. And Biden can ill afford to be seen to allow Iran to go overboard in its response to the Israeli strike. 

Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have both criticized Israel over the deaths of humanitarian workers but also pledged to support Israel’s sovereignty against Iran. 

Blinken, speaking after Thursday’s meeting between Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said, “President Biden reaffirmed the United States strong support for Israel in the face of these threats and our commitment to Israel’s security. Right now, there is no higher priority in Gaza than protecting civilians, surging humanitarian assistance, and ensuring the security of those who provide it.  Israel must meet this moment.”

However, on the same day, the U.S. continued to signal its opposition to Iran. The Departments of State and Treasury announced they’d designated a small network of vessels as supporters of Iranian armed forces. 

“We are focused on disrupting Iran’s ability to finance its terrorist proxy and partner groups and support to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said. “The United States will continue to use our full range of tools to target the illicit funding streams that enable Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region and around the world.”

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