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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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What Will Get Russia to Abandon Iran? Israeli Natural Gas


Netanyahu and Putin in Jerusalem, June 25, 2012. Was Iran's fate decided during this get-together?

Netanyahu and Putin in Jerusalem, June 25, 2012. Was Iran's fate decided during this get-together?
Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/FLASH90

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“Has Putin’s desire to retain Russia’s energy position moved him away from Tehran?” ask The Commentator’s Peter C. Glover and Michael J. Economides. While the world has been expected to divide into familiar camps over Iran’s nukes – the West against it, the East at least tacitly for it – it turns out there’s a new wrinkle in this plot, which could change the outcome of the biggest story of the year.

Moscow is interest in Israeli energy. Not to buy, to redirect.

Gazprom, Russia’s giant energy producer, has had an “energy stranglehold over Europe,” according to Commentator. The 20 million metric tons of eastern Mediterranean liquid natural gas (LNG) which Israel expects to export each year to Europe amounts to about a third of Russia’s gas exports.

Putin is concerned about this threat to Russia’s economy, which is based almost entirely on its ability to control European energy. And so Moscow is set on doing everything in its power to protect this ‘captive’ market against the marauding Israelis (and Cypriots).

The Jewish Press’ Rotem Sella earlier this month cited “a very senior person in the Israeli gas industry” who told him: “The Russians have been poking around here for a while. Everyone knows about the Russian interest in controlling the European energy market. Do they want to buy from us, or delay our efforts? I don’t know. But they are here.”

During Putin’s visit to Israel, he and Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly agreed to form a Gazprom subsidiary which would “help” with Israel’s enormous gas field, the “Levyatan.”

And Ohad Marani, CEO of IDLC energy which is already drilling the Myra well, told Sella: “In the Far East we will see three times what we see in Europe. While we won’t be able to keep the whole margin, it’s surely better than any European option, which would involve an expensive pipe.”

And could involve selling in Putin’s territory. You shouldn’t do that…

Turns out that in order to convince Israel it would be much better off selling its gas to India, China, South Korea and Japan, the new czar is prepared to sacrifice Iran. Putin is even willing to lose a billion dollar deal and possibly eat a 4 billion dollar court decision against him:

Eurasia Monitor has reported that Iran is suing Russia for close $4 billion in damages in the Court of Arbitration in Geneva for canceling a contract to sell five divisions of the S-300 long-range anti-aircraft missile system worth an estimated $800 million to $1 billion.

As I said, anyone who thought the Iran conflict would divide along predictable demarcation lines – welcome to the 21st century. Russia, which helped construct Iran’s nuclear plant at Bushehr, does not appear so eager to support Iran in a war against Israel. The Kremlin has other priorities than those it used to have when it ran the USSR brand.

And that chess play could prove to be the one that got Tehran to blink first.

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About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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5 Responses to “What Will Get Russia to Abandon Iran? Israeli Natural Gas”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is the most interesting story I have read in months. When Putin was in Israel, I said that he was given an ultimatum. I think Netanyahu was crystal clear: "either Iran ceases production of nuclear weapons, or we will turn Tehran into a parking lot." This does add a very creative way to exclude Russia from the mix.

  2. Chaiya Eitan says:

    Energy…..it's always energy….

  3. Ruth Hirt says:

    Uuuuhhh, the czar can also cower. Zion is indeed bequeathed with wealth of advantages from Above. Who can afford to rebuff Israel?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wow Scriptures are true. The prophecies are being fulfilled about the nations coming together. Read the Scriptures. The Messiah is COMING AGAIN soon Isaiah 7:14 He was already born, but they did not want Him Why? Read Isaiah 53:2. the Scriptures says about the Messiah "no beauty that we should desire in Him". The Messiah is COMING AGAIN to rule and reign forever, but before He COMES AGAIN he must SUFFER FIRST then rule and reign, that is why He came the first time to SUFFER. Zechariah 12:10 the scripture says "pierced" meaning past tense meaning He already came the first time to SUFFER. The Scriptures says Genesis 3:15. The SEED (singular) not seeds must be bruised. The seed is a person who will crush Satan's head. The bruising of the SEED was prophesied in Isaiah 53:5. Before the Crown there must be the Cross. The Cross first before the Crown. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

  5. Ruth Hirt says:

    Wonderful BFF Jill Amadi for rejoicing with me in the Name of HaShem.

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