Has Iran Been Delivering Drones to Russia and, if So, to What Effect?

‘Spotlight,’ a leading news analysis program of the English-language service of Iran’s state television opens with a discussion of the latest remarks by their Foreign Minister on what exactly Iran has supplied to Russia by way of drones and..when. It proceeds to examine other highly topical questions with respect to EU-US relations in support of Kiev and with respect to Russian military capabilities.

I use this opportunity to add one further consideration which was not brought up in the on air discussion: all restrictions on sale of military hardware by Iran in export markets, including drones and missiles, which may have figured in UN resolutions of the past expired more than two years ago, so that the country is entirely free to supply such arms to Russia if it so desired. Therefore, all of the current insinuations by the United States and NATO that there is some illicit trading between Russia and Iran is empty rhetoric.

Translation into German (Andreas Mylaeus):

‘Spotlight,’ ein führendes Nachrichten-Analyse Programm des englischsprachigen staatlichen iranischen Fernsehens macht auf mit einer Diskussion zu den kürzlichen Bemerkungen ihres Außenministers dazu, was der Iran Russland genau im Hinblick auf Drohnen zur Verfügung gestellt hat und wann. Dann fährt es damit fort andere wichtige zentrale Fragen bezüglich des Verhältnisses der EU und der USA hinsichtlich der Unterstützung für Kiew und des russischen militärischen Potentials zu untersuchen.

Gilbert Doctorow is a Brussels-based political analyst. His latest book is Does Russia Have a Future? Reprinted with permission from his blog.

© Gilbert Doctorow, 2022

Cost of Living in Europe and Further Aid to Ukraine

The single largest contingent of readers of my essays is in the United States, and it is for their particular benefit that I open today’s piece with some concrete facts on how Europe’s self-imposed energy crisis resulting from the ban on import of Russian hydrocarbons is making it impossible for your average citizen of France, Belgium and many other countries in the EU to make ends meet. I hasten to add that the unworkable arithmetic of monthly household finance is day by day, week by week bringing us to the social unrest and political instability that I and others have been predicting ever since the trend lines on cost of living became clear some months ago.

I will not introduce official statistics, because when the going gets tough they tend to be presented in a very selective manner by the authorities. My ‘anecdotal’ evidence comes from the energy bills I am now receiving at my home in Brussels and from what friends and acquaintances in this country and in France tell me about their personal situations.

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‘Partial Mobilization’ and Democracy

Has ‘partial mobilization’ breathed full-blooded democracy into Russia’s parliamentary government structure and broader society?

It is normal to think of wartime as a period of tightened censorship and imposition of ever greater controls on society at large.  Indeed, Western journalists have in the past half year focused attention on the closure of several notorious anti-Putin broadcasting companies and print media in Russia, including Rain (Dozhd’) and Novaya Gazeta. They have covered the flight of editors and staff abroad after they were labeled as ‘foreign agents’ and could expect invitations to appear before the courts.

However, in the days since the announcement by the Kremlin of ‘partial mobilization’ of the reserves, it is increasingly clear to any outside objective observer that a full blast of social activism is underway, and that the dikes of state controls on free speech are being swept away. A week ago, following reversals on the battlefield and loss of territory to the enemy that could not be ignored, members of the State Duma openly denounced the Ministry of Defense for dispensing ‘fairy tales’ about the progress of the campaign in Ukraine and demanded transparency in communications to the public. Speaker of the Duma Volodin, who is a leader of the ruling United Russia party, must have been in shock.

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Zelensky’s Wildly Irresponsible Call for a ‘Preventive Nuclear Strike’

Draft evasion, escalation of military operations and other highly topical subjects in today’s Russia

Zelensky’s wildly irresponsible call for a "preventive nuclear strike against Russia": analysis on Iran’s Press TV

Once again I have the pleasure of recommending to my readership a live interview on Iran’s Press TV earlier today. Once again, I find their news presenter very well briefed on the subject at hand. Once again I find their political positioning remarkably friendly to the Russian side in the conflict with the West over Ukraine.

One might draw conclusions about a shift in Iranian state politics away from "kiss and make up" with the United States and towards alignment with its regional neighbors and with the great powers Russia and China. It is these last two which are raising Iran’s image of stable and constructive contributor to the world order in forums such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Caspian Economic Forum, presently being held in Moscow.

Gilbert Doctorow is a Brussels-based political analyst. His latest book is Does Russia Have a Future? Reprinted with permission from his blog.

© Gilbert Doctorow, 2022

Draft Evasion in Today’s Russia

Draft evasion, escalation of military operations and other highly topical subjects in today’s Russia

My good friend and “comrade in arms” in the anti-war community, Ray McGovern, yesterday published an article on how The New York Times is stoking the war in Ukraine and goading the Biden administration to be ever more aggressive and irresponsible. Ray went on to remind us of the ignominious role played by NYT news reporters and their editorial board in promoting the Vietnam War, from the Tonkin Gulf Resolution that heralded the start of the real US engagement to the bitter end, all without a word of apology or regret in later years.

As a member of the Vietnam War generation in the USA, mention of that war brings up for me two words of great importance in the Russia that I see around me on this three-week visit to St. Petersburg: draft evasion and escalation.

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Shanghai Cooperation Organization Meeting in Samarkand: First Conclusions

The world’s media have paid close attention to the gathering of 15 world leaders in Samarkand, Uzbekistan these past two days with particular emphasis on the ‘summit’ held by Presidents Putin of Russia and Xi of China on the sidelines of this general meeting.

Observers noted that the visit to Samarkand is the first foreign trip by XI since before the onset of the Covid pandemic and it was being undertaken precisely for the sake of face-to-face meetings with Putin, with whom he met last during the Winter Olympics in Beijing, just weeks prior to the launch of Russia’s ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine.

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