The Iran nuclear issue continues to sour the mood between the US and Russia, while the EU finds itself stuck in the middle. Brussels is currently examining Tehran’s response to a European package of incentives to encourage it to give up uranium enrichment.
Washington, as Israel’s staunchest ally, is applying more intense pressure with its series of sanctions.
Moscow on the other hand is soon to supply Iran with anti-aircraft defences.
As analyst Fyodor Lukyanov of the ‘Russia in Global Affairs’ journal puts it: “No-one wants a nuclear Iran, but the positions on how to avoid this are all different. Russia wants maximum inclusion for Iran, the United States is more for isolation of Iran. Europe takes a position between these two.”
Washington’s pre-emptive answer to a nuclear Iran is a missile defence shield, based in Europe and on Russia’s doorstep.
Yesterday the Czech Republic signed a pact to host the project’s radar base. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has said Moscow is upset at the development and is considering retaliatory, possibly military, steps.
American officials say that reaction is designed to scare off European participation in the project.