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2 Dec, 2009 06:12

“Moscow will decide what happens to Iran” – Stratfor head

George Friedman, an American political scientist and founder of the private intelligence corporation Stratfor shared with RT some of his forecasts of how the century will progress.

Stratfor, also called in the press “The Shadow CIA”, is a leader in the field of global intelligence, providing its members with insights into political, economic, and military developments to reduce risks and to stay aware of happenings in the world.

Currently, Friedman said, subscribers “are primarily interested in the Middle East – in what’s going to be happening there”. But, also, they have a “very large interest in China, from an economic standpoint” and are becoming increasingly interested in Russia to try to understand what that country “is going to be doing and why they are doing it”, he said.

As for Russian-American relations in the future, the analyst said the countries are “likely to have a confrontation”.

“It has already developed. The American intention of extending NATO to Ukraine and Georgia, the recent speech by Vice President Biden about the future of Russia economically and calling on Eastern European countries to support pro-Western governments, Russian relations with the Iranians and the Syrians – all of these represent a growing tension between the two countries,” Friedman said. “The issue is how much deeper these tensions will go. And I suspect they will go deeper,” he added.

As for future forecasts, the analyst said he sees “a period of conflict between the United States and Russia – that’s already underway – but not a Cold War because Russia is not a global power any longer, it is a regional power.”

“I think there are emerging countries that are going to be more important than Russia”, he went on. Those are “Japan, Turkey and even Poland, which I expect to emerge as major powers of the next 30-40 years. And this is where the conflict will arise. That will be very serious in the century.”

“The United States may become involved with Iran, but whether that would be an extended war is very difficult to see,” he said. America “has stated publicly that in the event that Iran refuses to give up its plans for a nuclear capability, the US does not intend to allow that to happen.”

“There is a general agreement among the 5+1 that Iran should not do this, that there will be sanctions, and that if sanctions don’t work, other steps will be taken,” Friedman said. “The real question is going to be the Russian government. If the Russian government refuses to participate in sanctions, then no diplomatic solution to the Iranian problem is possible. The United States will confront the choice of a nuclear Iran or air-strikes. Interestingly enough, more than any other issue, Moscow will decide what happens to Iran.”