The Kremlin, which generally opposes Western attempts to tighten United Nations sanctions, criticised Iran for starting to enrich uranium at up to 20 per cent purity inside a previously secret plant.
This facility, located at Fordow near the city of Qom, is buried beneath a mountainside and could be invulnerable to military attack.
A statement from the Russian foreign ministry said that Moscow has “with regret and worry received the news of the start of work on enriching uranium at the Iranian plant”.
Iran only declared Fordow to the International Atomic Energy Agency after the facility was discovered by western intelligence agencies. Russia was also kept in the dark – a fact that damaged the Kremlin’s relations with Iran.
This is a strange political pageant.
Then Israel’s Haaretz, Eli Shvidler’s take on this:
Experts on the history of Russian diplomacy would notice the heavy weight of the word “Tehran” in the condemning message. It is a known practice of Russian diplomacy to use the name of a country’s capital many times in a statement, in order to present a particular subject in a negative light. Those with a good memory will certainly remember the diplomatic cables of the Soviet era, which starred Washington and Tel Aviv as in aggressive contexts.
Without expressing sympathy toward the opposing side, Russia chose on Tuesday to clarify to Iran that it would be solely responsible for troubles that are likely to come its way in the near future. Russia made it clear that it no longer takes for granted Iran’s claims that the West’s reaction to its nuclear program is “exaggerated and fueled for years by clear political motives.”