Iliyas Umakhanov, the Deputy Speaker of Russia's Federation Council, said in a September 3, 2019 interview on Channel 5 TV (Iran) that the behavior of the U.S. and President Trump resembles street brawling, bullying, and hooliganism, which he said can only by "cured" by force and determination. He said that he understands why Iran has decided to renew uranium enrichment, and he expressed support for a peaceful Iranian nuclear program. In addition, Umakhanov expressed hope that relations between Russia and Iran will remain peaceful and strategic rather than tactical. He avoided specifically answering how Russia would respond if Iran withdrew from the JCPOA, and he said that the Arab countries along the Persian Gulf would have to be very stupid to listen to the U.S. and fight a war against Iran. When asked what Russia's response would be if war breaks out between Iran and the United States, Umakhanov said: "I volunteer for the war."
Following are excerpts:
Senator Ilyas Umakhanov: The conduct of the American officials – and particularly of the incumbent president, Mr. Trump – resembles street brawling and bullying. In this case, it happens on the government level. We have international laws that are accepted by everybody, and we have the United Nations and the Security Council, but the measures we see from the Americans remind us of street hooliganism. [Trump] says one thing in the morning, and by evening, he changes it, having heard something else. There is only one cure for bullies and hooligans: force and determination. When a bully encounters confidence and force, he backs down and changes his behavior. Therefore, we completely understand the Iranian officials' decision to renew Iran's uranium enrichment. A language of threats and dictations will get you nowhere with Iran.
We definitely and completely support Iran's peaceful nuclear program. As you know, the plan to build the power plants in Bushehr [is Russian].
Interviewer: Against the backdrop of Iran's declining commitment to the JCPOA, and in light of America's violations of its commitments, as well as the Europeans' failure to abide by their commitments in the agreements… If all this leads to Iran's complete withdrawal from the JCPOA – how do you expect this would impact relations between Russia and Iran?
Senator Ilyas Umakhanov: Generally speaking, I believe that the relations between Iran and Russia are strategic rather than tactical, and this is how they will be in the future as well. We really hope that the scenario of developments will be peaceful rather than military in nature.
Interviewer: What will happen if Iran withdraws [from the JCPOA]?
Senator Ilyas Umakhanov: But it doesn't withdraw from it
Interviewer: But what if Iran's declining commitment leads to withdrawal?
Senator Ilyas Umakhanov: Let's not be hasty.
Interviewer: As you know, the U.S. has taken some provocative actions in the Persian Gulf, and, recently, an American drone violated the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic and was shot down by Iran's armed forces. If these provocative measures by the U.S. and its Arab allies escalate into a war between Iran and America – do you think that your country, Russia, will support Iran seriously, or will it make do with declarations?
Senator Ilyas Umakhanov: I believe that none of the Arab countries along the Persian Gulf will want war. Such a country would have to be very stupid to listen to some countries from the other side of the ocean and be dragged into a war that might lead to unknown calamities.
Interviewer: I didn't get an answer. In the event of a war, will Russia support Iran in a serious way, or only in declarations? I appreciate your explanations, senator.
Senator Ilyas Umakhanov: I volunteer for the war!