Friday, August 15, 2008

Russia may change Iran position due to U.S. support for Georgia

Russia may change its position on the U.S.-led effort to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb because of American military support for Georgia, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said.

"We'll think twice" about Iran, Ivanov said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Moscow today. "We'll keep in mind how our partners acted in this period of crisis which Russia faced," he said. "So far we haven't vetoed UN resolutions" on Iran.

Russian and Georgian forces fought for five days in and around the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia before agreeing to a truce on Aug. 12. The U.S., which had more than 100 military advisers in Georgia before hostilities began, flew Georgian soldiers back from Iraq during the coflict, a move Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin criticized as "interference."

"Thousands of Russians were killed," said Ivanov, a longtime Putin ally who served with him in the KGB. "They were killed by the Georgian army with American weapons, American ammunition and American instructors preparing for this war. I want to make this loud and clear."

Georgia's U.S.-educated president, Mikheil Saakashvili, said Russia executed "a well-planned invasion," while his counterpart Dmitry Medvedev said action was needed to defend peacekeepers and citizens in South Ossetia, where most residents hold Russian passports. Both sides have accused the other of genocide.