Considered to be the dean of diplomacy in the US, Nobel Laureate Henry Kissinger believes that a nuclear Iran, in the middle term, poses greater danger to Russia than America.
"I would say that in the middle term, a nuclear Iran is a greater danger to Russia than it is to the United States, because it is contiguous, and the restive populations of Russia, which are mostly Islamic, are joining Iran," Kissinger told US lawmakers Tuesday.
"Based on my own conversations with Russian leaders, I'm convinced that they are very concerned about Iran," the former US Secretary of State said in response to a question during a Congressional hearing on the New START (for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) treaty convened by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Inked between the US and Russian Presidents, the New START treaty proposes to reduce the nuclear stockpile of the two countries by one third.
Kissinger said despite being well aware of the dangers of a nuclear Iran, the Russians are reluctant to be drawn into a conflict in which they might bear the brunt while the US begins to ease out of it.
"Secondly, their economy creates temptations to benefit from sales to Iran, even while they recognize the long-term dangers. But if present trends continue and if Iran continues to build its nuclear establishment, I don't see how Russia can avoid facing some of the consequences," he said.
Kissinger said the New START treaty is an evolution of treaties that have been made by a series of American and Russian administrations.
"An unconstrained nuclear arms race has appeared too dangerous to leaders of both American political parties and almost every incarnation of Russian leaders over the last 30 years," he said.
Noting that one should not look at this treaty as a means by which Russia can achieve a great advantage over the US, Kissinger said: "The best you can say in that respect is that Russia is trying to mitigate the decline of its global role by a measure of parity with the United States."