Top Russian General: An American Attack on Iran would lead to US Collapse; Wants to Block It; Kremlin Rejects Crippling Sanctions

It appears that, the International Atomic Energy Agency is at least allowing for the possibility that documents allegedly found on a laptop some years ago –but discounted by the US Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency as of dubious provenance and incompatible with other intelligence gathered in Iran — point to a nuclear weapons program that no one has been able to locate. Some close observers have concluded that the laptop documents are forgeries. A new IAEA report that declines to dismiss the alleged documents will certainly cause the war lobby in the United States to redouble its efforts to get up an attack on Iran.

Forged documents on the supposed purchase of yellowcake uranium by Iraq from Niger were used by George W. Bush to promote a war on Iraq. It was at that time the Intelligence and Research division of the Department of State that attempted to throw cold water on these “documents,” but was ignored by the president. Then head of the IAEA, Mohammed Elbaradei, was able to show them false in one afternoon.

The UN inspectors have a right to be frustrated with Iran, which has allowed inspections of its Natanz nuclear enrichment site, but which has not been completely transparent or adhered to the letter of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. But the sum of those frustrations does not point to a nuclear weapons program, unlike the disputed laptop documents. In statements to the press this fall, US intelligence officials have said that they stand behind the conclusions first reached in 2007, that Iran has no nuclear weapons program.

The Obama administration wants stricter sanctions on Iran, and the Sarah Palin/ Daniel Pipes lunatic fringe wants a military attack on Iran.

But Russia’s General of the Army Nikolay Makarov, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, warned that an American attack on Iran now, when the US is bogged down in two wars, might well lead to the collapse of the United States. He said that such an attack would roil the region and have negative consequences for Russia (a neighbor of Iran via the Caspian Sea). And, he said, the Russian military is taking steps to forestall such an American strike on Iran. Makarov made the remarks in Vzglyad on Friday, February 19, 2010, and they were translated or paraphrased by the USG Open Source Center:

‘Makarov also commented on the recent rumors about the possibility of an attack upon Iran by the United States. In his opinion, this would be complete madness on the part of the American military. He said: “Admiral Michael McMullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently said that, in the United States, there is a plan for carrying out strikes against Iran but the United States clearly understands that now, when it is conducting two military campaigns, one in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan, a third campaign against Iran would simply lead to a collapse. It would not be able to withstand the strain.”

Nevertheless, in proportion to the winding down of the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, (the plan for) a war with the Islamic Republic of Iran, in the opinion of General Makarov, may again come out to the foreground.

General Makarov, Chief of the General Staff, said: “The consequences of such an attack will be terrible not only for the region but also for us. Iran is our neighbor and we are very carefully following this situation. The leadership of our country is undertaking all measures in order not to allow such a (military) development of events.” ‘

The less potentially catastrophic path, tougher United Nations Security Council sanctions, however, depend on Russia and China going along. Despite Washington’s optimism that Russia is softening toward the idea of stricter sanctions, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov cast the severest doubts on that idea on Friday.

In a radio interview on Friday with Ekho Moskvy Radio, which was translated by the USG Open Source Center, Lavrov was asked, “What is the situation with Iran’s foreign policy today? And is it true that we now have as a whole a united position with the United States on Iran?”

The foreign minister replied, “I don’t think that we have a united position.” He said that both Washington and Moscow agree on the importance of not allowing “a violation of the regime of nonproliferation of nuclear weapons.” He said the two countries have the same position on this issue, “although we do not coincide 100 per cent in methods of implementing it.”

So what Lavrov is saying is that the US and Russia do not actually have a common position or agree on really tough sanctions. They just both have a vague similar position that proliferation is bad.

Lavrov said that Moscow’s independent stance toward Iran is rooted in the two countries’ historical relationship as well as in Russian desire to get Iranian cooperation on such issues as the disposition of resources in the Caspian Sea. (For a quick overview of Russian-Iranian relations, see N.M. Mamedova, who also mentions Iran’s tacit support for Russia against Georgia in the Caucasus.) Lavrov said:

‘ But Iran for us, unlike the US, is a close neighbour, a country with which we have had a very long, historically conditioned relationship, a country with which we cooperate in the economic, humanitarian and military-technology fields alike and, let me note this particularly, a country that is our partner in the Caspian along with three other Caspian littoral states.

Therefore, we are not at all indifferent to what happens in Iran and around it. This applies to our economic interests and our security interests alike. This also applies . . . to the task of early settlement of the legal status of the Caspian Sea, which is not an easy task and in the approaches to which the Iranian position is close enough to ours.

Therefore, speaking of the proliferation threats, yes, we are concerned about Iran’s reaction. ‘

Lavrov is less convinced there is anything sinister about Iran’s civilian nuclear research, though he admits that questions remain:

‘ in the process of work, questions arose both from the IAEA’s inspectors themselves and on the basis of the intelligence which the IAEA obtains from various countries. They were questions that aroused suspicion as to whether there might in reality be some military aspects to Iran’s nuclear programme.

These questions were presented to the Iranians, as required by the procedures applicable in such cases. And, some time ago, Iran answered most of them. In principle, its answers were satisfactory, in a way that was considered by the professionals in Vienna normal. However, some of the questions are still on the table. ‘

So Lavrov thinks Iran’s answers are largely ‘satisfactory,’ though there remain small areas of uncertainty.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was in Moscow earlier this week calling for ‘crippling sanctions on Iran.’ Lavrov’s remarks clearly indicated that Moscow disagreed that that situation was so perilous as to call for such a step.

But just to be sure there was no misunderstanding, Lavrov sent out his own deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, to denounce any such talk.

Ryabkov said, according to Xinhua, “The term ‘crippling sanctions’ on Iran is totally unacceptable to us. The sanctions should aim at strengthening the regime of non- proliferation . . . We certainly cannot talk about sanctions that could be interpreted as punishment on the whole country and its people for some actions or inaction . . . ” He said that Russia sought to settle differences with Iran through dialogue and engagement. He also pledged that Russia would honor its deal to provide Iran S-300 air defense systems. He said, “There is a contract to supply these systems to Iran and we will fulfil it. The delays are linked to technical problems with adjusting these systems . . . “

So on Friday, even as the hawks in Washington watered at the mouth at the prospect of being able to use the new IAEA report as a basis for belligerency against Iran, Russia’s foreign policy establishment was engaged in a whirlwind of activity aimed at challenging the notion that Moscow is was in Washington’s back pocket on Iran sanctions. The chief of staff predicted American collapse in an Iran conflagration, and vowed in any case to try to block any such attack. The foreign minister pronounced himself largely but not completely satisfied with Iran’s answers concerning its nuclear activities, and underlined that Russia needs Iran because of Caspian issues (and he could have added, because of Caucasus and Central Asian ones). And then the deputy foreign minister was enlisted to slap Netanyahu around a little, presumably on the theory that it would sting less coming from someone with ‘deputy’ in his title.

Those who have argued that Russia’s increasing willingness to acquiesce in tougher UNSC sanctions might influence China to go along, too, should rethink. Russia doesn’t seem all that aboard with a brutal sanctions regime. China not only has its own reasons not to want its own deals with Iran to be declared illegal, but its leaders doubt Iran has the capacity to construct a nuclear warhead anytime soon.

Postscript: The head of Iran’s nuclear program, interviewed on Aljazeera, warns the US against pressuring Iran.

End/ (Not Continued)

Posted in Uncategorized | 31 Responses | Print |

31 Responses

  1. It is perfectly obvious that the new director of the IAEA is simply a tame puppet of Washington, and will write whatever he is told to write.

  2. It seems the Iranians are experiencing what the American Indian tribes have: Washington speaks with a forked tongue. On the one fork, promise of negotiation; the other tongue, the rattling of saber, sanctioning, acts of war by economic blockade. The illegalities of the Cheney/bush administration assumed by the Obama. Should this path be followed to its conclusion, that conclusion is the finish of the Republic, Iran's as well as the US. This will not end well.

  3. The IAEA is not some kind of super watchdog agency.

    The IAEA, according to the NPT that Iran signed, has no function except to verify that nuclear fuel is not diverted to nuclear weapons, which in the case of Iran they have continually done.

    All its other activities are political and extralegal.

    ARTICLE III, Para 1, NPT:
    Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes to accept safeguards, as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Agencys safeguards system, for the exclusive purpose of verification of the fulfillment of its obligations assumed under this Treaty with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

    **exclusive purpose**

  4. Sounds like more "Curveball" intelligence. More uncritical reporting by he mainstream media.

  5. This is more like it.
    Informed Comment at its best.
    Detail and analysis.
    As for the mainstream media, they seem to be staffed by propagandists rather than reporters.

    Note: I admit you had me worried with the “Twice as many Socialists” article.

  6. Why doesn't Russia simply announce that it would view any military attack on Iran as equivalent to an attack on Russia and would respond accordingly? That should be sufficient to extinguish the threat.

    John Whitbeck

  7. After reading "Engaging the Muslim Word" and "The Emerging Democratic Majority" I have a suspicion that all this hoopla about attacking Iran is more about gaining power within the US rather than actually launching an attack which would be suicidal.
    As Makorov commented, "Admiral Michael McMullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently said that, in the United States, there is a plan for carrying out strikes against Iran but the United States clearly understands that now, when it is conducting two military campaigns, one in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan, a third campaign against Iran would simply lead to a collapse."

    However, the idea would sell well with those who divide the world into two parts where one is the Good Guy (me) and the other's the Bad Guy (you). Thus it would allow both the current majority held (by a slim margin, not a consensus) to appear powerful, and the non-current majority (by a slim margin, not a consensus) to appear powerful as well. And while the idea may never hit the ground it would let "America, the land of the free and the home of the brave" appear powerful except for the Bad Guys, especially Russia (read Not my fault, it's the other guy).

    Further, it allows the MSM to reap the benefits of such stories in the form of increased hits, which translates to increased cash flow from advertising.

    IMO all this rests on what I think of as "lack of requisite variety," meaning not enough details in the model of reality to sucessfully deal with reality.

    And, again IMO, the lack of requisite variety is founded on Exodus 20:5 "… for I Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, " a basic good-guy/bad-guy model.

    Meanwhile, the holders of the purse strings of the U.S. economy have a different basic model of reality which is condensed into the U.S. good-guy/bad-guy, heads-or-tails, me-or-you, if-you're-not-for-me-you're-against-me, zero-sum model as Yin and Yang. But all you have to do is look at the basic visual representation of Yin and Yang you can see there is "yin within yang and yang within yang." And from there, it's only a hop, skip and jump to the "10,000 things."

    The question is which model is relevant to the 21st century?

  8. Iran Nuke Laptop Data Came from Israeli Terror Group
    link to
    The George W. Bush administration has long pushed the "laptop documents" – 1,000 pages of technical documents supposedly from a stolen Iranian laptop – as hard evidence of Iranian intentions to build a nuclear weapon. Now charges based on those documents pose the only remaining obstacles to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declaring that Iran has resolved all unanswered questions about its nuclear programme.


  9. Fascinating reading.

    Especially because so much of the facts of Russia's cold shoulder to sanctions and warnings against war have been carefully censored on the Israel sites.

    If you are against US and/or Israel attacking Iran right now, you might think reading this that you have nothing to worry about.

    Russia is much more worried about that war, much more capable of doing something about it, and much more willing to fight than you probably are.

    But you would probably be wrong.

    The Russians have historically been very patient about swallowing insults and bad press in the West. They are much more interested in getting facts on the ground going their way.

    But they had such a terrible time with the Georgian war. It was just the opposite: the facts on the ground went the wrong way.

    They will not stop with words today, because they see the powers going against them. They don't want to be blindsided by another Ossetia. Watch for some much more powerful steps, like arming another foreign power, muscle flexing on some other border, or more instability somewhere else.

    They can do it and they will.

    The weird thing is that Israel and the US really, honestly, don't want to attack Iran as much as they just want to saber-rattle to build up their local votes and power. But Russia does not accept being used as a punching bag.

  10. a_berns: "Iran is neither a repbulic nor Islamic–Ayatollah Montazeri

    Iran simply has a more extreme version of our own political problem: a large minority wanting liberal reforms, and a majority of relatively ignorant people who need an authoritarian right-wing government to make them feel safe. The liberal minority probably has no chance in either country against the right-wing, fanatical majority, based in fundamentalist religion and other irrationalities in both countries.

  11. meanwhile:

    ""The clerics bring their rifles to prayer, leaders strut around in military fatigues, and the tactics of control are those of an 'occupying' army. And, maybe that's it – Iran has been occupied by a self-styled military elite, drawn from its own people, who will hold on to power and privilege at any cost.""

  12. On the question of general strikes by workers:

    The IRI and regime insiders control most major factories and put regime informants and enforcers in those factories. Independent-minded union leaders have been imprisoned when they have tried to obtain better pay and working conditions. The regime has learned from the "mistakes" of the Pahlavi regime and is determined not to allow a repeat of the tactics which worked against the Shah's government.

    link to

  13. ""The clerics bring their rifles to prayer, leaders strut around in military fatigues, and the tactics of control are those of an 'occupying' army. And, maybe that's it – Iran has been occupied by a self-styled military elite, drawn from its own people, who will hold on to power and privilege at any cost.""

    Not so fast:

    This is a must read article for all Iran jouranlists, expert, etc.

    link to

  14. The display of fervid control the regime was forced into on 11 February reveals its desperation. A foreign assault, which would unite all Iranians behind a power they hate, could yet give it an infusion of strength – all the more reason for the west to ignore Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's provocations, and oblige his government to face the people without false comfort. Mir-Hossein’s Moussavi’s demands offer the regime an opportunity to restore governance to a path of legitimacy. It seems unlikely that the regime will turn back from its self-destructive path.

    First published in Open Democracy.

    link to

  15. The sanctions America enforced on Iraq proved to no only be illegal, but also criminal. Therefore, America should be held accountable for the innocent children who died of starvation and babies who died at birth (estimated 500 thousand to 1 million died), because the US would not allow medical supplies into Iraq. America is a mass murderer, not only proven in its attack on the people on 911, but kills in the name of freedom, a huge hypocrisy. But what does one expect from a country that controls the opium and cocaine trade. America must be held accountable for its war crimes NOW!!

    Billy, Canada.

  16. Regarding the portion of Makarov's comments reading

    "the United States clearly understands that now, when it is conducting two military campaigns, one in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan, a third campaign against Iran would simply lead to a collapse"

    I am not sure that he means a collapse of the US as a nation as the post indicates, but rather a collapse in the military situation, or perhaps even more broadly regional destabilization or an outright regional war.

  17. I have no idea why this fierceness about Iran, and I find Hillary Clinton's comment simply scary.

  18. link to

    February 21, 2010

    Dutch Government Falls Over Stance on Troops

    A last-ditch effort to keep Dutch troops in Afghanistan brought down the governing coalition in the Netherlands, immediately raising fears that the Western military coalition fighting the war is increasingly at risk.

  19. @a_burns: In addition to the two books I mentioned in my comment, I also just finished "Geronimo, His Own Story" which documents the kind of "forked tongue" you mention.

    What's particularly interesting is how Geronimo spoke to the Frederick Turner with without any questions being asked, and without any stenographer. Turner then wrote up what he remembered/thought Geronimo had said and it was read/translated to Geronimo who would ask questions and get satisfactory answers before he agreed that this was his story. This was done while Gernonimo was a prisoner in Fort Sill, Oklahoma (1894-1909) where he is buried.

    As one might suspect, the book was at first denied by the local Army officers, but Turner wrote and received permission from the President. The Dedicatory reads as follows, "Because he has give me permission to tell my story; because he read that story and knows I try to speak the truth; because I believe that he is fair-minded and will cause my people to receive justice in the future; and because he is chief of a great people, I dedicate this story of my life to Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States."

    Definitely worth a read.

  20. 1) After Israel hit in the past the Iraqi and later the Syrian nuclear reactors all it followed was just media ga-ga , UN never imposed sanctions against Israel . This will also be the case with Iran and they know it .
    2) Russia is using Iran/S-300 missiles as a barganing chip against NATO / Israel and ( the Owner of both ) , the Rothschilds . Russia's majority of christian orthodox have NO simpathy towards any Muslim country that may get nukes . As we know Russia has its own problems with muslim extremist in their provinces . Religion is a Permanent divide between nations and Putin knows this as well . Russia will also benefit from the higher oil prices following the attack on Iran .
    3) I hope that one day everybody will understand the fact that Rothscilds are in charge controling US , Canada , Israel and parts of Europe . If They decide Iran has to go , you bet the Media and the controlled countries will listen obidiently .

    See Real Solution at with a very revealing link about the Earth Traitors , the Rothschilds .

  21. As Cole knows, the IAEA does NOT have cause for frustration with Iran, but rather the shoe is on the other foot entirely. Iran is surely one of the most heavily monitored countries in history. And any bs cooked up by Iran's enemies is enough to bring down more pressure. How would it be for the US or Israel if any crap could lead to endless questions, suspicions, investigations, demands, sanctions, etc.? That's rhetorical. We all know that would NEVER happen.

    What is clear is that the IAEA is now nothing more than a prowar propaganda organ – which I guess makes about as much sense for a UN organization as a Nobel Prize makes for WarMad Obama.

    Oh, all Obama has done is barely draw down in Iraq, while escalating massively (and don't forget the contractors) in Afghanistan, while starting a massive new war (by proxy, and with the usual overt and covert helpers) in Pakistan, and smaller ones in Somalia and Yemen, while escalating in the immediate vicinity of Venezuela, and continuing to encircle Russia and China, and all the while drastically increasing the US military budget.

    So yes, Cole knows very well that Obama IS pushing war on Iran. Yes, Cole knows about the green light Obama has given to Israel (they have a right to do anything they want to defend themselves, like any country that is a US ally, but Israel particularly), and he knows about the massive buildup of weapons to Israel backing up that green light, and the massive build up of antimissile weapons around Iran, which are A FIRST STRIKE ENABLER for both Israel and the US. Period. None of this is controversial, setting aside the bullshit.

    And every time Obama hypes the bogus Iran "threat" in furtherance of his 'sanctions', it's just as much lying bullshit as it was when he hyped the hype in favor of his "engagement". You don't hype threat talk like that for sanctions, any more than you do it for engagement. You do hype like that when you intend war. In any case, sanctions are a step towards war, and crippling sanctions ARE war. they are also a crime against humanity, as collective punishment. This is a slippery slope with war written all over it, and everyone knows it, whatever other pretenses they put on.

    Watch the Obam- Apologists as they shill: they have to wader deeper and deeper and deeper in bullshit to do it. Smell the bullshit and turn them the hell off. Why does anyone bother with Cole anymore? I come here to see what the talking points are for talking-head shills. There's no other reason to come here. Kill the shills with benign neglect. IGNORE THEM.

    I promise you: next time Israel attacks its neighbors, you'll see Cole defending them. Count on it. There is no right or wrong in the cuthroat world of punditry. There's only your readership count. Don't give readership to such folks.

  22. i know no one will read this or care what i say, but if only there was some way to let the world know that, as an american, i think the notion of attacking iran is beyond psychotic. how anyone could think it a good idea is beyond comprehension. there is nothing iran could ever do to threaten us. to even hint that we are considering attacking iran is grounds for the whole world revolting against us. and yet we all watch on tv the ratcheting up of accusations and evidence and baseless hostiliy. america is finished. im embarrassed to say the least. to the world i say i am truly sorry. someone stop this beast from ruining everyones life.

  23. @Anonymous 2:33PM "Iran simply has a more extreme version of our own political problem: a large minority wanting liberal reforms and a majority of relatively ignorant people who need an authoritarian right-wing government to make them feel safe." well said, interesting comment; though, fwiw I would respond: "IRAN… not unlike US: a large majority wanting progressive reforms, rational regulations and representatives who act responsively to the collective will of individuals [of The People] in their electorate -vs- powerful blocs with vested commercial and military self-interests concomitant with a minority of relatively ignorant, anxious and non-urbane people who believe that an authoritarian government [of powerful blocs] would make them feel safe."

  24. This is an "uninformed comment" but based on my intuition. It seems to me that this country, the U.S., is headed for (financial) collapse because of the greed of the banksters and the past complicity of the Fed. So an attack on Iran could be a diversion from the real reasons for the collapse at an opportune time. I hope I am wrong.

  25. The pathetic state of misery brought upon Iranians by the IRI can be divided into 2 major categories: 1) an abysmal human right's record characterized by an exponentially larger number of Iranians executed than under the Shah, as well as a whole host of barbaric punishments, including stonings and floggings, for adultery and other such "crimes"

    2) A woeful state of the Iranian economy, with lower average income than in 1976, and a standard of living not in keeping with 3 decades of oil and natural gas revenues. Just consider the following:

    Iran's 2007 ranking of Human Development Index (HDI) in 2007 was 88th in the world (behing Azerbaijan and Thailand); it was 95th in life expectancy (behind Samoa and El Salvador); 94th in adult literacy rate (behind Botswana and Syria); 59th in poverty index (behind Sao Tome and Principe and Mongolia); 58th in Probability of not surviving to age 40 (behind Panama and Maldives); 52nd in People not using an improved water source (behind Tunisia and Grenada); 64th in Children underweight for age (behind Swaziland and El Salvador).

    With respect to Comparing Females as % males, it was 165th in Life expectancy at birth (behind Algeria and Iceland); 90th in Adult literacy rate (behind Peru and Saudi Arabia); and 106th in Combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio (behind Maldives and Mauretania).

    The following is just a partial list of countries that all have higher GDP per capita (purchasing power parity) than the IRI:

    Romania, Panama, Bulgaria, Belarus, Mauritius, Gabon, Mexico, Venezuela, Botswana, Turkey, Libya, etc, etc

  26. This ‘leaked report’ was compiled for the IAEA Board of Governors’ meeting on March 1st. It is not an official publication of the IAEA.
    It would not be inconsistent for IAEA member states, i.e., Israel and the USA, to have sought to improve their propaganda efforts against Iran by compiling and leaking the so called ‘report’.

  27. Not sure where he gets his garbage stats from, Iran has made a huge advancement in technologies, education, building infrastructure, nano technology, automotive technology, etc. Over 90% of Iranians are literate and Iran has climbed the ladder in science throughout the past 30 years. I don't care if one has political differences with this regim but let's be honest and judge the Iran of today with the Iran of Shah's time!!! Let's not let zeal drive our judgements, let's open our eyes to facts objectively! Do they need to improve their human rights? The answer is yes but lack of such improvement warrants an attack on Iran, the answer should be no. We need to focus on improving our economy here at home rather than minggling is some other country's business. Bring back the billions of dollars we spent irresponsibily around the world and let's fix the cities in New Orlean, Mississippi, New York, etc.

  28. This is the operative quote from Lavrov:
    "Therefore, we are not at all indifferent to what happens in Iran and around it. This applies to our economic interests and our security interests alike. This also applies . . . to the task of early settlement of the legal status of the Caspian Sea, which is not an easy task and in the approaches to which the Iranian position is close enough to ours."
    Forget the nuke rubbish, this is about the Caspian sea and the rush for oil. Well, how much oil would we waste fighting a war to get it?

  29. ‘report’.

    At 12:58 PM, Anonymous said…
    Not sure where he gets his garbage stats from, Iran has made a huge advancement in technologies, education, building

    Where do you get your stat? VEVAK, MOIS, or SAVAMA??

    The truth is the Iran having the second largest gas reserves and fourth largest oil reserves in the world has a GDP equal to Mexico and Alabama. Median income is less than $400 a month…The media income was higher in 1976. Being shrill and a shill for one the most murderous regime in the ME is not going to either help Iranians or the USA in the long run.

    Shame on you for shilling for the butchers of Iran. You also sound like a bigot..

    link to

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