By Ahmed Asif

What seemed like a good friendship between two nations is now beginning to turn sour. Iran and Russia have long enjoyed a mutual relationship and good trade relations yet Iran’s nuclear program has witnessed the relationship somewhat deteriorate. The Russians along with China have been Iran’s only allies among the United Nations Security Council members over its disputed nuclear program and ambitions. However with recent sanctions being imposed on the country with the backing of its two close allies the question begs to be asked, with Iran’s crucial allies playing to different tune over its program is it now likely that the Iranians will indeed reluctantly sit at the negotiating table?

mary-dejevskyBy Claire Charras

Mary Dejevsky  chief editorial writer, columnist and Russian specialist for The Independent gave Dunedin Napier News this exclusive interview on the Russian and Ukranian gas crisis. After a row over who owed what, Russia decided to cut off Ukraine’s gas supplies leaving the rest of Europe with a quarter less supplies.

Is it strategic of Russia to have cut off gas supplies over the coldest months of winter?
Of course not, but there are two qualifications. First, Russia and Ukraine have been negotiating, without success, for at least half a year, and the agreement expires at the end of the calendar year. Maybe that is another change that needs to be made. The other is that there is a dispute about who actually cut off the gas, or at least who is responsible. Russia says that Ukraine cut off the gas to force the EU to put pressure on Russia. It also says that it only cut off the gas to Ukraine when Ukraine started siphoning off gas for itself, which it wasn’t paying for – and so depriving EU countries of gas. This is all part of the dispute.