“Pursuing a US-Russia ‘grand bargain’ over Iran”

“Pursuing a US-Russia ‘grand bargain’ over Iran”
May 7-8, 2009
     Moscow is opposed to toughening UN sanctions against Iran, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is visiting Washington. Lavrov also criticized unilateral sanctions imposed by the US and the EU (Ynetnews). Russia’s US ambassador Sergei Kislyak rebuked US plans for a European missile defense system by stating that he saw “no threat to the [US] coming from Iran anytime soon” (Agence France-Presse).
     Ariel Cohen writes that despite Western hopes that Russia can pressure Iran into a nuclear compromise, Russia is economically and geopolitically motivated to work with Iran to counter the US. Citing Russia’s technical support of Iran’s missile, space and nuclear programs, Cohen believes Russia wants a nuclear Iran in order to counter NATO, create a regional arms race to spur Russian weapons exports, and form a regional energy cartel (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs).
     Eugene Rumer and Angela Stent argue that while Russia sees Iran as an economic and strategic partner, Russia does not want Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. According to Rumer and Stent, although a “transactional” US-Russia relationship based on quid pro quo bargains could keep Russia from undermining efforts against Iran, Russia is not influential enough to “deliver” Iran (Survival).
Ynetnews | Agence France-Presse | Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs | Survival

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