‘The Iraq scenario does not apply to Iran’

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who has given very few interviews in the past years, even to the Russian media, has granted this exclusive interview to Kathimerini. The closest associate and a friend of 20 years to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who like Ivanov is from St Petersburg, spoke about the importance of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, bilateral military cooperation and what Russia will do with regard to Iran and how it will react to pressure from Washington over its defense accord with Venezuela. Ivanov, considered a favorite to succeed Putin in 2008, also gives his view of the postwar situation in Lebanon and talks about his country’s problems with two former Soviet neighbors, Georgia and Ukraine. As for the succession issue, Ivanov, a former philologist, politely declined to comment.