The United States has warned that the six-nation negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program in April would be the last chance for Tehran to prevent a U.S. attack, the Kommersant daily said on Wednesday.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of a UN Security Council meeting in New York on Monday to relate this point to the Iranian authorities, the paper said.
Western nations have been putting pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, accusing the Islamic republic of developing atomic weapons. Tehran has always strongly denied this, saying the program is for energy purposes only.
A Russian diplomat told Kommersant that the U.S. and Israel might attack Iran before the end of the year.
“Israelis are basically blackmailing Obama,” he said. “He will either have to support the war, or lose the support [of the influential Jewish lobby].”
Although, the official diplomatic position in Moscow is that the April meeting will not be the last chance as Washington sees it, Russian authorities have nevertheless prepared for the possibility of war, the paper said.
“We have counted our actions in case of war with Iran. We have mobilized our forces,” a Defense Ministry official told Kommersant, speaking on condition of anonymity.
He expressed concern that if a war breaks out, crowds of refugees would flow from Iran into neighboring Azerbaijan, which would aggravate the volatile situation in the Caucasus.
A meeting of the UN Security Council on Monday summoned by Britain to focus on the Middle East, while condemning violence in Syria, showed that Damascus should not worry about international intervention as long as there is a threat of war with Iran.
Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad is facing unprecedented international pressure to end his crackdown on protesters that has claimed thousands of lives.
“It is important for the U.S. to save face now in the situation with Syria,” a Russian Foreign Ministry official said. “The Americans understand that Israel will attack Iran and having two wars in the region is too much,” diplomats in Moscow explained