Arnaud de Borchgrave
The Washington Times
October 19, 2007
The last such visit by a Russian leader to Iran was by Josef Stalin in December 1943 for a secret summit with Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. The British leader wanted the next major allied invasion to target Europe’s soft underbelly in the Balkans. The Soviet dictator and the U.S. president outvoted him. Thus, the decision was reached to make the invasion of France, which took place seven months later in 1944, the next geostrategic priority. This second summit, 64 years later, could also prove momentous — down the road.
A report of an assassination plot against Mr. Putin caused a slight delay in the Russian president’s departure for Tehran, which added a touch of melodrama.
Vladimir Putin’s objective appeared to be to deter a future U.S. bombing of Iran’s nuclear facilities. He warned the United States not to use a former Soviet Republic to mount such an attack. Azerbaijan had been rumored as a staging base.
After his one-on-one with the much-reviled (in the West) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mr. Putin chaired a summit of the presidents of the five Caspian Sea states — Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. They all warned the U.S. not to attack Iran and agreed the Non-Proliferation Treaty is “one of the basic pillars of international security and stability.” This also gives them the right to pursue “research, production, and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes” under the less than watchful eye of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).