Jerusalem, Dec. 21, 2012 – Iranian calculations that it can weather Western efforts to isolate Tehran may have been boosted this week as a Russian destroyer docked in Iran on Wednesday morning.
The event deepened concerns that Moscow's military cooperation with Tehran is undermining the West's efforts to pressure the Islamic republic, and comes in the aftermath of a Congressional report accusing state-owned Russian entities of aiding Iran’s missile program. The Russian docking was extensively covered by Iran state media, and Press TV conveyed comments by Iranian Vice-Admiral Hossein Azad boasting over "strengthening military ties between Iran and Russia."
Meanwhile Iran remains "defiant" on the possibility of negotiating an end to its standoff with the West over the opacity of its atomic problem.
Statements from Iranian officials minimizing the chances for a breakthrough came despite a new incentives package reportedly being prepared by the P5+1 countries (the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany). Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, spoke to Iranian media and strongly denied any possibility that Iran was prepared to suspend its current enrichment levels, as the P5+1 have demanded.
Iranian nuclearization has been a particular concern of Gulf states, who worry that Iran will be emboldened to increase the tempo of its interference in their internal affairs. Arab leaders have echoed the concerns of Western analysts to the effect that nuclear weapons will give Iran immunity to take over disputed territory it claims for itself, including the entire nation of Bahrain. Both Bahrain and Kuwait this week exhanged harsh words with Tehran over Iranian gambits, with Bahrain explicitly accusing Iran of encroaching on its sovereignty.
In July 2010, the UAE's ambassador to the United States publicly made the case that the benefits of bombing Iran's nuclear installations outweighed the costs. Leaked cables emerged later that year indicating that Saudi Arabia had privately urged U.S. officials to strike.