'Russia will stop any attack against Iran'
Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:30AM
Interview with Russian military expert, Vladimir Yevseyev
Russia will try to stop any military attack against Iran as the two countries have mutual interests and any attack against Tehran would also be a serious problem for Russia, a Russian military analyst tells Press TV.
Iranian Army's electronic warfare unit successfully brought down the US RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft with minimal damage on Sunday, December 4, 2011. The aircraft was flying over the northeastern Iran city of Kashmar, some 225 kilometers (140 miles) away from the Afghan border.
Press TV has interviewed Vladimir Yevseyev, the director of the Russian Center for Socio-Political Studies, about the issue. What follows is a rough transcription of the interview:
Press TV: I need you to briefly introduce yourself: your name and your position.
Yevseysev: My name is Vladimir Yevseysev, I'm an independent military expert. I have military experience, I worked twenty years in the Soviet time in the Russian army. I served strategic missile troops.
I'm Lieutenant Colonel and retired and Doctor of technical sciences in ballistic. I served in the Defense Committee of Russian State Duma and I may speak about military questions because I have military experience.
I very often meet with American and Asian experts and we discuss this question. So I think it is a very good idea to discuss this question with you.
Press TV: A lot of people in the world, experts and even ordinary people who watched the pictures that Iran showed recently about the US drone, which was downed by Iran, in Eastern Iran, earlier this month, a lot of people said this was a very big achievement in military terms and in terms of political advantage that Iran gained by this.
What do you think, how much of an achievement this downing of the American drone was for Iran, militarily?
Yevseysev: I think Iran has serious achievements in the military field and you know that if you look at history, Soviet Union helps Iran in the military field and for example create tanks and Asian technical ground forces and during the Russian time we helped Iran.
And now Iran has a lot of its own achievements, for example unmanned vehicles, it is very serious achievements and missiles, also the strategic missile troops.
Iran has a lot of achievements if you speak about missiles and satellites in Asia. And [these] achievements are very serious and lots of people use it and Iran made another modern system and modern system for ground forces, for Navy.
Press TV: Try to focus on this recent achievement , Iran brought down an American unmanned aerial vehicle, the American drone, I'm talking about the RQ-170 American drone which was brought down by Iran recently.
Yevseysev: I think it is one of achievements because if Iran intercepts this vehicle, Iran has special tools for intercepting, because it is very difficult to intercept [a drone], because this American vehicles use stealth technologies. It is very difficult to find and it is very difficult to intercept. If Iran may intercept this vehicle, it is a very serious achievement.
And I think Iran has to use this technology for its own production and now Iran has the achievement of the production of unmanned vehicles. I think this American vehicle may be used for the development of Iranian vehicles.
So I think if Iran may intercept it, it was very good for its achievements and you know that America has special tools like this vehicle which it uses for collecting information about Iran and secret objects about Iranian nuclear objects.
So it is a bad idea because it is violation and invasion to the Iranian territory so Iran has the right to intercept it. And it was right for if you speak from military law, I agree with them.
Press TV: Do you think the American drone, the unmanned aerial vehicle was just collecting information about Iran or it might have gone even to areas like China and Russia, because these are the countries which are in the vicinity of the Afghan territory. Do you think they might have gone to Russia and China to collect information as well, using these very sophisticated drones?
Yevseysev: No, we received new opportunities for cooperation between Russia and China and Russia and Iran... Iran has cooperation with Russia and China.
So we may unite our activities because Iran is an important player in the Middle East and Iran influences the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan and some countries in Central Asia and in the Caucasus. The Nagorno-Karabakh problem is one of them.
So I think it is a good idea if Russia and China cooperate with Iran, when we want to solve any problem, regional problems at first and at the same time if there be for example a military attack against Tehran it will be a serious problem for Russia, because Caucasus and Central Asia are strategic regions for Russia.
And if the US creates a problem it will be bad for Russia so Russia will try to stop any military attack against Iranian nuclear program and Iranian nuclear objects.
We have mutual aims, the deterrence of military options against Tehran so we may cooperate and we have new opportunities for cooperation after the presidential election campaign in Russia. So I think we have to cooperate.
Press TV: Let's get back to the issue of the drone, the American drone which was brought down by Iran. Iran brought down the unmanned aerial vehicle in its Eastern regions.
A lot of people are saying that it is a stealth aircraft and a stealth aircraft means that you have to have a radar system in a country that you send a stealth aircraft to that country in order to evade radar systems.
Afghanistan does not have a radar system. Why does America need to have a stealth aircraft in Afghanistan, where there is no radar system?
Yevseysev: I think the US is using this situation now that American troops are deployed in Afghanistan and Americans use this territory for hidden secret information about Iranian objects, military objects.
These unmanned aerial vehicles are very comfortable for using, for collecting information. Because it is using stealth technology and it is made to fly on Iranian territory and flies very high, because unfortunately Iran now does not have the military tools for destroying the system. And American knew and used this for collecting information.
And it was a violation of International law to use this system in Iranian territory. So I think if the US is using this [in Iran] the US may [also] use it in another territory too, for example the US may use it in Iraq territory and launch this vehicle from Iraq, from Asia.
You know that the US has a lot of military bases in the Persian Gulf but it is a bad idea if the US may continue this policy of using these vehicles, because it is violation of international law.
So it is necessary to stop these activities, because it is provocation, provocative activities for the Iranian side. If the US provokes Iran, what should Iran do?
Iran has to reply to this provocation. And if there will be more and more provocation, it may become a military confrontation. So it is a bad step.
I think the US is using a lot of other tools for [spying] on Iran and it is a bad idea to use unmanned aerial vehicles. I think it is necessary to stop these activities.
Press TV: Do you think these American vehicles are also spying on Russia from Afghanistan, going all the way to reach the Russian territory and spying there?
Yevseysev: I think the US cannot use these tools on Russian territory but the US...
Press TV: What makes you say that?
Yevseysev: It is old, now it is impossible to use it. But the US has military bases in Manas, in Kyrgyz Republic and the US has a lot of airplanes with special equipments and these airplanes may be used for [obtaining] hidden information from the Russian side because it is not necessary to cross the border.
It is possible to fly and collect information from the territory in Central Asia, but [if they want to] collect information from Russian military objects, Russia will try to stop these activities.
I think it is necessary to prepare Russian troops for intercepting same unmanned aerial vehicles. Because if there will be more and more tensions maybe the US will try to use this system near Russian borders.
So Russia has to be ready to intercept it. And maybe Iranian experience will be interesting for Russia, like what to do if American vehicles cross the Russian border. So it is a good example for Russia what to do if they will be crossing its borders.
Press TV: Yeah, that's an interesting subject, Iranian experience to be used by Russia to intercept drones.
Yevseysev: I think it is necessary [for Russia] to use it. Because now Russia is very strong but Russian resources are less than the Soviet time.
So there is a limitation of resources. So for Russia it is a good idea to cooperate with other countries and you spoke about a mutual defense system.
I think it is good idea to create the system because it is necessary to defend, both the defense and deterrence from military activities.
You know that NATO invaded Libya. NATO thinks about invading Syria and NATO is using troops everywhere and if we have a collective system for deterrence, it will be good but not easy for Russia to create a system with Iran.
But sometimes we may cooperate for example on drug trafficking from Afghanistan. It is a very serious problem for Iran and for Russia too. And we have to cooperate to stop the traffic from Afghanistan and that is a good place for cooperation.
Press TV: You talked about drug trafficking in Afghanistan. For 10 years that we've seen the presence of American troops and the US-led troops in Afghanistan, they've been fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, they've been fighting militants of different groups but still we see drug production and drug trafficking in Afghanistan. It's still on the rise, why?
Do you think that foreign forces are responsible for the situation in terms of the drug trade from Afghanistan to other countries, Russia being one of the targets?
Yevseysev: It is possible to solve this problem, from the technical side and from the military side. You know that the US has used chemical [warfare] agents [disseminated] from airplanes in Afghanistan… But the US now supports these activities because the US wants to have no problem on Afghan territory.
Press TV: Who is responsible for the drug trade in Afghanistan now as we speak?
Yevseysev: I think we have to close the borders because unfortunately we cannot destroy this plantation on the Afghan territory and the US cannot help Russia.
Press TV: Do you think American forces are responsible for this because Afghanistan has been occupied by the US and its allies for over a decade now?
Do you think the US should have stopped this drug trade in Afghanistan, drug production and drug sales to other countries and the drug trafficking into other countries? Do you think the US should have played a more important role in this?
Yevseysev: I'm realistic and from my personal view it is a bad idea to think that the US will be helping, seriously helping. You know we sometimes cooperate on Afghanistan drug trafficking; [cooperation] between the US and Russia.
But really for the US this traffic is not a serious problem because drugs come to the US from other countries, from other regions, from Latin America. So it [Latin America] is a threat for the US.
So it is a [drug] trafficking problem for Russia and Iran but no serious problem for the US. So I think it is a bad idea to think that the US will seriously be helping. It is necessary for a country to cooperate who is involved, for them it is a serious problem.
Russia organized an operation channel, which is good for stopping [drug] traffic, and maybe we will have cooperation for stopping these activities in the Caspian Sea [region].
And we may cooperate in Central Asia, for example. You know that the Tajik Republic using for transportation. So I think we may cooperate but the US is no serious help.
Press TV: Well, actually I was trying to raise a different point, it doesn't matter. Listen, I am going to talk about the missile system that America is installing in Eastern Europe. How much of a threat is it to the Russian territorial integrity and national security?
Yevseysev: From the Russian view it is not necessary to create this system now. We have different views on these missiles threats. From Russian view Iran is no missile threat for Europe. If no threat why to create the system. And if it is possible to understand that the system create in Romania, maybe.
But why creating this system in Poland because in Poland [they] want to create a system to intercept no middle-range missiles. Now Iran only has middle-range missiles and the system in Poland wants to create a very high altitude.
It is a long distance missile. Iran doesn't have these missiles but Russia has. And if you are speaking about strategic deterrence, strategic stability, it is a necessary thing that if the US creates near Russian border any system, military system structures without speaking and cooperating with Russia about what they do.
Russia will think that it is a threat for Russia and Russia will try to reply because for Russia now the system in Romania is no threat, maybe a challenge. But in Poland it may be a threat because another system will be created. You know that missile FM3 will be made in Russia and it maybe intercept...
Press TV: Why is it that Russia thinks like this is a threat to its national security? As a military expert, tell me more about these missile systems. As far as I know they are both defensive and offensive. Tell me about the offensive part.
Yevseyev: I served this strategic missile troops and, you know, for example from …settlement in the Eastern part of Russia will be launch missiles and again if missiles will be launched against us from Poland, we have some opportunities for intercept it.
If you have opportunities for intercept, it is necessary to speak what to do, how to deterrence this challenge?
So for Russia, unfortunately now we haven't really basis for cooperation, because NATO is speaking about independent and ballistic missile system, it isn't really united with Russia.
And so if NATO will create an independent system accepting Russia, Russia have to deterrence and President Dmitry Medvedev did statement, the statement about this.
So I think it is Russia feeling a challenge. If Russia is feeling a challenge, Russia tries to deterrence, it is right of Russia. And Russia does not create system in other countries. Russia creates system only in its own territory.
And Russia created a system in Kaliningrad region, it is Russian territory [where it] may create the system. And the US creates system not in its own territory, [but] in Europe and near Russian border, Russia feeling a challenge.
Press TV: These systems, what is the most significant feature and is it like they can strike a certain place or are they just defensive? So if there is a missile coming in, they just intercept that missile.
But can they launch missiles as well? Can those systems, the US missile systems which are going to be installed in Eastern Europe, can they launch missiles as well?
Yevseyev: No, we speak only about opportunities for intercepting Russian missiles on Russian… and if you create a system, you know about, you are speaking only about ground system.
You know that the US has a very serious system navy. It is just a system for ruling, it is for control. It is very serious system if for example military ships from NATO, from USA coming to the North Ocean to the Russian border.
We may receive the opportunity to intercept not only missile, on the ground missile when we speak about navy missile and if this military ships come into North Ocean, it is impossible to speak that Iran is a threat for the US because it is impossible [to] understand how Iranian missile may fly.
That the US will intercept these missiles from the North Ocean, so Russia tried to stop creating this system and if Russia will be feeling challenge more and more and the feelings in the future will be creating new challenge and threat, Russia will have to reply, reply military reply.
One of them is system Iskander, one of them, but not only Russia has another opportunity for creating special system on missiles and for example …equipment which are impossible to intercept.
Russia has potential, Russia has opportunities for deterrence this American system, but unfortunately I cannot see any opportunities for cooperation in this ballistic missile system between Russia and USA. I think USA will be creating, no see on Russian view. If USA will be creating, Russia has to reply.
Press TV: Okay, let's talk about the political issues, the most important one being Syria as we speak, which involves a lot of regional countries. Do you think Turkey is trying to pave the ground for a NATO invasion of Syria?
Yevseyev: I think for Turkey is better to support NATO invasion. Now invasion from NATO to Syria is impossible, impossible because Russian military ships come into Syria. Now it is impossible to speak about NATO invasion.
At the same time, Turkey may be using from USA for this creating unstable situation in Syria and if Russia may stop the military invasion from NATO, Russia may stop activities at UN Security Council and use NATO for stopping. But Russia cannot involve in this situation in Syria if it will be unstable.
It is a matter of Syrian authorities. So Russia to help Syria but Russia cannot solve Syrian problem for Syria. It is necessary to do people from Syria, solve their own problem themselves.
So Russia creates background for military, background in this world that people from Damascus solving this problem. You know, not only Turkey helping radical opposition, France organizes its basis on Lebanon territory, so both sides are using against Syrian authorities.
Press TV: From the military point of view, do you think Turkey is also helping militants, gunmen in Syria, is providing them with weapons, money and logistical equipment?
Yevseyev: I think Turkey helped and you know that this people, this radical opposition coming from Turkey in return and you know that Syrian authorities take decision to direct missile against Turkey.
So I think Turkey is involved in this situation but it is bad because Turkey has very serious problems with Kurds, Kurds [who] live not only in Syria in Turkey to Syria's problem.
And now Kurds are independent, no involvement in this activities. If Kurds will be involved, it will be Syria's problem for Turkey at first. So I think for Turkey it is necessary to have stable state in the border.
Press TV: OK, let me put the question in simple terms. Now do you think Turkey is involved in the military operations inside Syria?
By military operations I mean the militants, gunmen attacking Syrian troops. Is Turkey involved in that? Is Turkey helping those militants?
Yevseyev: Now Turkey only helps but if situation will be unstable, if there will be a civil war on the Syrian territory, I think Turkey may [be] militarily involved.
Because if the situation will be very rough, Turkish troops may come in on the Syria's territory but it is really, if will be situation during this civil war.
Press TV: What kind of help is Turkey giving the militants? Is Turkey giving them guns, military equipment, moral support, what? What kind of help is Turkey providing for the militants in Syria?
Yevseyev: Unfortunately, I do not have information about military equipment, help or not but it is Turkey territory that is using this radical opposition stay and coming from Turkey territory. So if these people coming from Turkey territory, so Turkey helps.
[Whether they] give weapons or not, I do not have information and it is unclear for me. But you know that not only Turkey helps radical position, Saudi Arabia is very active and Qatar. So maybe other countries help and maybe give financial support to radical opposition.
You know that a lot of weapons come into Syria not from Turkey; coming from Iraq at first, and from Lebanon. So I think Turkey maybe gives no weapons. I do not have information because…
Press TV: So who is giving them weapons?
Yevseyev: No weapons, guns for example.
Press TV: Yes, who is giving them guns, they are fighting, they have guns, they have financial resources, they got equipment, they can fight a regular army of Syria. How can they do that? Who is giving them?
Yevseyev: I think that the majority of activities, if you speak about military weapons for radical opposition, it is Saudi Arabia and Qatar at first.
The USA maybe agree that no stopping. You know that in Syria a lot of people are Sunni, so it is a good idea for Saudi Arabia to support Sunni.
Press TV: Do you think Saudi Arabia and Qatar are providing militants in Syria with weapons?
Yevseyev: I think Saudi Arabia is more active than Turkey. If you speak about financial and military support of radical opposition, it is my personal view. But it is a very, very bad position because Saudi Arabia has a lot of problems too now very far from his border.
You know that the problem is Bahrain. And for example in east provincial of Saudi Arabia live Shiites and so if Syria will be helping very active in the way and trying to create unstable situation in other countries, it is maybe to receive problems of its own territory.
So it is a very bad position. It is necessary to think about future, not about interesting and about stopping, not for example for Syrians it is a very good idea if Tehran and Damascus will be stopping links. But it is unreal because Syria and Iran have a mutual interest and I think this link will become so in the future.
Press TV: Two more questions that I have, one of them regarding Iran's nuclear program. Why do you think that the US and the Western countries are putting so much pressure on Iran?
You as Russians, you have said that Iran is not seeking a military dimension to its nuclear program. Iran is developing a purely peaceful nuclear energy program. This is what Russia is saying as we speak.
So why is it that the West is really trying to create this international media frenzy against Iran?
Yevseyev: We have different view from Russia from the West on the Iranian nuclear program. In the West the majority of experts think that Iran has already took a decision to create nuclear weapons. This is the majority view, for Israel and USA.
Russian authorities, Russian majority, Russian experts think Iran did not take this decision. If Iran does not take decision, did not take decision we may cooperate with Iran because only after taking this decision it is possible to speak about a military nuclear program.
We have a different view about the future [of] Iran's nuclear program because unfortunately from economical basis, it is unclear what to do, some decision for example.
Iran collects more and more 20 degrees hexafluoride for research reactor. It is a right of Tehran, right of Iran to create because it is necessary to receive the fuel for Tehran research reactor.
But Iran doesn't have enough objects for this nuclear fuel but it is production nuclear fuel only one side. It is necessary for certification.
So I think Russia has to help Iran to this certification. But in my view, if you speak… to Iranian nuclear program, it is a bad idea to hide.
We have time for cooperation and if we try to use it, you know about Plan Lavrov. Plan Lavrov will be used speaking about… nuclear problem, activities for activities. For example Iran step, from the West step, step from both sides.
It is understandable for Iran, it is understandable for the West and unfortunately now it is impossible to realize plan of Lavrov because it is bad background.
The latest report from IAEA was very tough and a lot of information pushing the West on new sanctions, but Russia is against new sanctions.
For Russian view it is enough. What should be done? Western military experts think it is necessary to change authorities in Iran. It is a bad idea. What do you want to solve? You want to solve Iranian nuclear program or you want to change Iranian authorities?
These are separate aims. It is impossible at one time to solve two aims, very different aims. Iranian nuclear program, if you create question, it is necessary to solve this question.
But if you want to solve this question, it is necessary to come in from both sides and find the opportunities to find this problem. But if you said time to think about solving this Iranian nuclear program, think about how to change Iranian authorities- it is a bad idea.
Because Iran is an independent country. And people in Iran think who will be their head of Iran. [It is a] bad idea to involve [in the issue] from Washington, from London, from Brussels.
For example people of Washington agree what to do in Russia this election. It is right of people from Russia to create these authorities, to vote for authorities, to support the authorities, it is right of Russia.
But I talked about rights of Iranian people so it is necessary to think what the aim of activities is. If you want to solve Iranian nuclear program it is necessary to speak only about Iranian nuclear program not speaking about supporting Iran opposition for example, illegal revolution,military options, it is different aims.
Press TV: And one last question about Israeli threats against Iran. Israel says that it is putting the option on the table to attack Iran's nuclear installations, in order to prevent Iran from what they say achieving nuclear weapons capability.
Do you think Israel is in a position to do that, to attack Iran militarily?
Yevseyev: Unfortunately situation if you speak about military options from Israel the situation is very, very tough because now Iran is not a threat for Israel if you speak about nuclear missiles- no threat really.
Military experts may speak that no really threat. But Israel may think before taking the decision of a military option, not to think about real threat or no threat.
Israel may think about how the situation Israel parliamentary election in Asia. If Israel thinks about these problems and take decision on the basis of these reasons, but no real threats.
Israel may take decision and this decision, it is real because Israel has plans for attack to Iran. Israel prepared the troops for attack but now it is a bad time for attack.
I spoke a lot with Israel officials and tried to stop them and tried [to tell them] not to hurry. We may solve this problem by peaceful [means] but unfortunately now control from Washington on Tel Aviv is not very strong because Tel Aviv may take decision [without US approval].
Now you know that the USA has a presidential election campaign but Israel may take decision [without considering the approval of] Washington but after then Washington will be have to ask what to do after that if Israel attacks [Iran].
Israel doesn't have enough potential for destroying Iran, maybe Israel attacks on Iran nuclear objects, maybe.
Press TV: But Israel does have nuclear weapons, doesn't it?
Yevseyev: Israel has, Israel hasnuclear weapons but I think Israel cannot use nuclear weapons against Iran. It is very… Israel has but no using weapons against Iran but Israel may not use nuclear weapons, maybe airplane and Israel training a lot of training in Europe for example to attack.
And so I think now military option is on the table- it is really. The decisions will not be taken in Washington.The decision will be taken in Tel Aviv.
It is difficult to control the situation from international society. So it is necessary to speak with people from Tel Aviv so no hurry. It is no hurry and find another way.
In my personal view now Israel is not ready to attack Iran and I think that Israel will be using another tool, no military attack and it is my personal view and I think it will be a more real focus if you speak about the developing situation.
After then situation will be changing, what will be the cooperation and relationship between Israel and Egypt in the future? You know that on presidential election campaign the Muslim Brotherhood is getting more and more [votes].
What will the situation be If Israel will have problems from Egypt, form Lebanon, from Palestine, and maybe a lot of problems, maybe from Iran.
Press TV: This is going to be the last question, I promise. S-300 missile systems- [Russian President] Dmitry Medvedev did not give us the S-300. Do you think [Russian Prime Minister] Vladimir Putin would do that?
Yevseysev: I think for Vladimir Putin it will be a bad idea to delete the decision with Medvedev because Vladimir Putin like the president of the Russian Federation has to continue to realize the policy of the Russian Federation.
And for Russian policies it is not typical that another president changes his view- has a very serious change of view on this equation. But, I think that Dmitry Medvedev talked about system S-300.
If Russia creates another system- a more modern system, Russia may create because UN Security Council resolution 1929 does not deny Iran from buying this system.
Press TV: So, why is it that Russia didn't give us the system?
Yevseysev: You know that now Russia has for example system S-400 and the decision of Dmitry Medvedev. Medvedev speaks only about system S-300.
Press TV: Why? What's the difference? What's the difference- [S] 300, 400, 500- Iran paid a lot of money. Iran wanted to but this. There was this contract. Iran signed the contract; Russia signed the contract according to international rules and regulations.
Yevseysev: I think it is impossible to realize this contract now, but we may change contracts and realize this contract, for example S-400. If you speak really from military side, S-400 does not have any serious difference from S-300. It is a modernization of S-300.
Press TV: Is it because of the sanctions that S-300 was not delivered to Iran? It was like [US] President Obama calling President Medvedev- President Medvedev don't give them the S-300 missiles system.
President Medvedev: Thank you very much I will do that- that's exactly what happened. Isn't it?
Yevseysev: For Russian authorities it was a very difficult question- the realization of this contract and several months Russian authorities thought about whether to realize it or not.
I think it was necessary to realize this contract after signing it. It was a good time for realizing it. Now it is impossible to realize, because if Vladimir Putin wants to realize the contract, in my personal view it is better to change contracts- speak about system S-400.
S-400 does not deny with UN Security Council resolution. S-400 no speaking about decision of Dmitry Medvedev. We might find another path to solve this problem and it was a good step to Iran, because the system is good for Iran. Because Iran has real challenge from Israel- military options from Israel.
And this system cannot defend Iran from the US, because the US has very serious potential and this system cannot defend Iran from the US. But it is a serious problem for Israel attack.
Now it is a bad idea to think that the US will begin an attack before Israel. Now more real scenario if Israel attacks, if Iran has the S-400 system it will stop it- stop any activities from Israel side because the distance between Israel and Iran is long and Iran has a lot of nuclear objects and defends these objects.
So add to these if Iran will receive the S-400 system, it will deter Israel and I think it will be important because now military options [are] more really from Israel side than from American side.