Hungary and Russia cooperate with Iran on nuclear projects

Just five months ago Iran and Hungary signed an agreement to expand nuclear cooperation between the two countries. The deal was inked by Ali Akbar Salehi, the chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and Zsolt Semjén, the Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister. Mr. Semjén, a former Catholic theologian, was very excited about the nuclear deal with the Islamic state and has tried to drum up more business in Teheran.

Iran is Hungary’s new best friend. Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén embraces Iranian official.

Iran also enjoys close nuclear cooperation with Russia. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met earlier with his Russian counterpart and the two countries decided to sign a memorandum on the “development of peaceful nuclear cooperation.” The Hungarian deal fits perfectly with Russian President Putin’s plans.

Hungary’s part of the deal is to develop a small 25-megawatt nuclear reactor with Iran; the project “requires a lot of scientific work to come up with such a design.”

Mr. Semjén is not the only Hungarian politician visiting Iran. Last December Prime Minister Viktor Orbán met his friend President Hassan Rouhani and gifted him with a 175-year old map.

Prime Minister Orbán with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

A couple of weeks before Mr. László Kövér, the Hungarian House Speaker, spent an entire week in Teheran meeting with political leaders. Mr. Kövér offered Hungary’s support to Iran to fight terrorism. Mr. Kövér also suggested that Hungary could represent an important “entry point” into Europe for Iran. (Read about Mr. Kövér’s visit here.)

Hungarian Parliament Speaker Kövér with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Hungary as “entry point” for Iranian aspirations in Europe? The timing of Hungary’s friendship with Iran couldn’t be worse.

President Donald Trump recently called the Iranian nuclear deal negotiated under the Obama administration an “embarrassment.” Trump said, “We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program.”

The Orbán Government’s diplomacy is in shambles. Many of us question the competence of the young foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó,  and his freshly appointed diplomats. Most of them are Orbán loyalists with no foreign political experience; some even unable to speak a foreign language. Mr. Szijjártó is in New York at the UN General Assembly where he has made aggressive statements threatening Ukraine, Romania and Croatia. (Read more about the issues here.)

Mr. Semjén has recently inked a nuclear deal with Iranian officials.

At this point, it is a waste of time to find logic in Hungary’s foreign policy strategy; the country’s politicians are randomly posturing with empty nationalist statements. Hungary’s foreign diplomacy is in utter chaos.

György Lázár

21 Comments

  1. Russian moneys and technical materials are channeled to Iran, unchecked, and without detection, via Hungary. Some of it ends up in North Korea, where Iranian scientists work side by side with the North Korean and vice versa in Iran. This is to make sure, that any break through is immediately known by the Russians also.
    The corrupt maffia thieves and criminals masquarading as the Hungarian Government made Hungary a pro Russian enemy state for the US.
    “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” (Mark Twain)

  2. Once again, a deeply flawed argument!

    You mention that Trump took a certain position on Iran, but you fail to mention Macron’s speech at the UN, which rebuked him. You also fail to mention the fact that most of Europe is currently scrambling to do business with Iran. So why would you consider Hungary’s efforts to be a mistake? Is it a mistake for Hungary to look for business opportunities? This is absurd!!!

  3. “The Orbán Government’s diplomacy is in shambles… At this point, it is a waste of time to find logic in Hungary’s foreign policy strategy; the country’s politicians are randomly posturing with empty nationalist statements. Hungary’s foreign diplomacy is in utter chaos.”

    If only life was so simple. I’m afraid this time around I have to disagree with my colleague. Hungarian foreign policy is following a very logical, and consistent path ever since Mr. Szijjártó has been in his position. It has allied itself with the “illiberal” regimes of the East, many of whom are eager to provide financial payments to the corrupt Hungarian regime in return for offers to open doors to Europe and America. Russia, China, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Iran are all pumping money into Hungary especially after key members of the Trump campaign (Jeff Sessions, Roger Stone, J. D. Gordon, Arthur J. Finkelstein, Paul Manafort) had reassured these corrupt regimes publicly, that a great friendship is on the way between Mr. Orbán and Mr. Trump.

    The Hungarian Mafia regime is the beneficiary of billions of dollars of subsidies from the EU. According to the EU’s internal reviews, Hungary tops the list of recipient states who abuse EU taxpayers’ moneys. The abuse leads directly to the Hungarian PM’s front door. This government now is also the beneficiary of billions from the above named autocrats. Details of these corrupt deals are all out of the public limelight. They have been designated as state secrets, with no public access. To say that Hungary’s foreign policy lacks logic, that it is in shambles, is wishful thinking.

    • That is a very interesting description of Hungary’s foreign policy and its results. Latest Eurostat data however paints another picture.

      http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/news/news-releases

      Of note is Hungary’s export growth towards countries outside the EU of 16% y-o-y, which is double the rate of growth in exports to the EU of 8%. This means jobs for Hungarians directly & indirectly as a result of Hungary’s opening towards trade outside the EU. It also means increased GDP, increased government revenues and so on. More specifically, the deal with Iran creates opportunities for Hungarians in R&D and engineering, meaning that young people looking to build a career can stay in Hungary. Yet, we keep hearing from the opposition that this is all bad? And you wonder why Fidesz continues to poll at around 50%?

  4. Invoking Trump’s rantings and antics as the grounds for questioning Orban’s ravings and antics?

  5. Mr. Lazar, I’m afraid you underestimate the Orban regime and you confuse being unsavoury (which the regime and its foreign policy is) with being illogical, ineffective or contrary to its own self-interest. Which it is not.

  6. I don’t think quoting Trump is helpful here. Frankly, the foreign policy of the Hungarian regime is more coherent and developed than that of the chaotic Trump administration. In Hungary there is no disconnect between the PMO and the MFA. The same can’t be said for the WH and the State Department.

  7. There’s no doubt re Szijjarto’s abilities, there are none.

    A.Göllner,

    How are Russia, China, Azerbaijan, etc pumping money into Hungary?
    To start with, the Orbán gang of robbers are not Hu.

  8. György Lázár says:

    I received disapproving comments about quoting President Trump. When I look at US policy “details” I notice that Trump’s State Department continued to be very critical of the Orbán regime. Trump has refused to meet with Orbán, no official invitation and Trump finally fired “Vitézi Rend” Sebastian Gorka. Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos made it clear that she has no intention to negotiate with Orbán about CEU. “The United States again urges the Government of Hungary to suspend implementation of its amended higher education law, which places discriminatory, onerous requirements on U.S.-accredited institutions in Hungary and threatens academic freedom and independence.”

    Make no mistake, Trump’s rhetoric is unacceptable, but his actual policies paint a different picture.

    Hungary’s nuclear agreement with Iran is not an ordinary business deal. In Germany similar cooperation is illegal and handled at courts. http://newsbreakouts.com/an-iranian-nuclear-smuggling-ring-is-headed-to-court-in-germany/

    • The positive points you mention are obviously not the doing or thinking of Trump; they (like the leaks) are happening independently of — or even in spite of — him. (Presidents are not omnipotent, even within their administrations.) It is not only misleading but harmful to project traits onto Trump that he patently lacks completely: it just feeds the fealty and credulity of his bedrock deplorables.

  9. The whole of Europe ran to Iran to do business as sanctions were lifted. I don’t really understand what the problem is? I personally want to sanction Iran, but you and your democrat bros lifted the sanctions and threw a pile of billions to Iran. You are Iran ass lickers, but as the Left usually does, you accuse your opponent of your own sins…

  10. Amnesty Iternational reports that in 2016/2017 Iranian authorities heavily suppressed the rights to freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly and religious belief, arresting and imprisoning peaceful critics and others after grossly unfair trials before Revolutionary Courts. Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained common and widespread, and were committed with impunity. Floggings, amputations and other cruel punishments continued to be applied. Members of religious and ethnic minorities faced discrimination and persecution. Women and girls faced pervasive violence and discrimination. The authorities made extensive use of the death penalty, carrying out hundreds of executions, some in public. At least two juvenile offenders were executed….
    The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child conducted its third and fourth periodic review of Iran and criticized continued executions of juvenile offenders, and the impact of public executions on the mental health of children who witnessed them. The Committee also criticized continued discrimination against girls; children of religious and ethnic minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) children; and the low age at which girls in particular become criminally liable…
    The authorities cracked down further on the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, arbitrarily arresting and imprisoning peaceful critics on vague national security charges. Those targeted included human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, bloggers, students, trade union activists, film makers, musicians, poets, women’s rights activists, ethnic and religious minority rights activists, and environmental and anti-death penalty campaigners.
    Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained common, especially during interrogation, and was used primarily to force “confessions”. Detainees held by the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards were routinely subjected to prolonged solitary confinement amounting to torture…
    Judicial authorities continued to impose and carry out cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments that amounted to torture, including floggings, blindings and amputations. These were sometimes carried out in public….
    Members of religious minorities, including Baha’is, Sufis, Yaresan (Ahl-e Haq), Christian converts and Sunni Muslims, faced discrimination in law and practice, including in education, employment and inheritance, and were persecuted for practising their faith….
    Compulsory “veiling” (hijab) laws, which violated women’s rights to equality, privacy, and freedoms of expression, belief and religion, continued to empower police and paramilitary forces to target women for harassment, violence, and imprisonment…
    The authorities continued to use the death penalty extensively, including against juvenile offenders. Hundreds of executions were carried out after unfair trials. Some executions were conducted in public….

    Orbán, Semjén, Kövér, Szijjártó in befitting company !

    • All this doesn’t seem to bother any West European government. They are all scrambling to do business. Just like they do with Saudi Arabia, which is a lot worse than what you described here in regards to Iran. Have you seen what they are doing in Yemen? It is 100% with US and European weapons!

      • The Iranian government, if you can call this bunch of dark, retarded gangsters a government, are the main source of the ills of the middle east. Iran itself is the root cause of all the terrors and evil of the Middle East, from the Syrian war to Islamic State.
        Peter, please note, that this article is about Iran and not Saudi Arabia !
        Iran is bent on building dangerous missiles, covertly constructing a nuclear program and threatening Israel – our important ally – who is in alliance with the West and the free world in the struggle to eliminate evil !

  11. But let’s not overlook here that under Obama’s US-Iran deal, it is Russia that agreed to take Iran’s excess refined uranium. As well it is Russia that takes and stores also Europe’s nuclear waste material. As for the humanitarian issues, Iran is brutal.

    That is the great opposition in US by the public and the Trump administration, that with the US-Iran deal, and with the Cuba-US deal, Obama gave everything Iran wanted and most of what Cuba wanted, but they made absolutely NO concessions on any humanitarian issues.

    They even cracked down harder on the internal opposition.

    That is what Trump is madder than hell about. So are many in US, and the masses there lost hope after those deals that the US (Obama) made.

  12. Mr Lazar, with all due respect, with that link you proved, it seems that you are either incapable of being honest, or incapable of basic reading & comprehension. That case in Germany is in regards to nuclear technology that is for weapons use, and it is a case in regards to actions that took place before the Iran nuclear deal, so it has no relevance to Hungary’s deal which is 100% in compliance with the Iran nuclear deal.

  13. György Lázár says:

    Dear Peter,

    Many of us think that countries like Iran, North-Korea, Pakistan… etc. wish to have access to nuclear technology with one goal in mind – nuclear weapons. There is no separation between „peaceful” and „military” applications and no country should help them to obtain technology and help proliferation. The Orbán government’s eagerness to do nuclear business with Iran is a bit suspicious.

    • It is 100% within the current terms of the agreement. So why would it be a problem? One could argue that simply doing business with Iran furthers that alleged goal, because it furthers their access to money, tech and so on, which they can then use to further their alleged goals. The Orban government’s primary objective should be to look after the interest of Hungary & Hungarians. In this respect, I’d have to say this deal fits!

  14. Peter, I wonder if it is the true interest of 1.4 million Hungarian-Americans and 330 thousand Canadian-Americans to provide Hungarian assistance to Iran’s nuclear capabilities? According to Mr. Orban we (Hungarian-Americans) are integral part of the Hungarian “nation body”…. To be honest, this seems just one of those “dirty deals” between corrupt regimes.

    • Well sir! Given that what Hungary is doing is 100% within the legal rights it has under the current Iran nuclear deal, while it is you who tries to paint it as something sinister, or evil, I’d have to say that it is you who is damaging the interests of the Hungarians in North-America by unjustly vilifying Hungary.

  15. @ Peter

    No one is suggesting that Hungary should not try to pursue its national economic interests, and abstain from trading with the East, or with non-democratic regimes. I certainly don’t see any such line of argumentation on the part of Mr. Lázár. I have not made such a point either, so I’m not sure why you insist on putting words into our mouths, other than to amuse yourself by taking cheap shots at people you happen to disagree with.

    The problem with Hungary’s “Eastern” opening, and its expanding economic relations with rouge regimes is that those relationships are far less transparent than Hungary’s “Western” economic networks. Most of the “players” permitted into this new arena are “cronies” of the autocrats, the crooked oligarchs. Much of the profit generated this way is ploughed back into strengthening the so called “illiberal state”, banked offshore, and used in a manner that benefits the ruling elites rather than the people. Those who wish to see an end to “cronie capitalism”, state sponsored corruption, who want greater transparency, “fair trade”, a reduction in inequality, those who are calling for sustainable development, greater investments into education and healthcare are bullied, persecuted, and kept out of the arena.

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