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Russia’s Reluctance on Iran

We often hear from U.S. observers all about the mutual interests that Washington and the Kremlin share in curbing Iran’s march toward nuclear proliferation and other indications of growing hostility, yet it’s funny how we usually see nothing but obstruction.  We’ve speculated in the past that Russia benefits most from preserving the status quo, and want to maintain their swing position.  This opinion from David Kramer is also interesting:  for one, Russia may indeed be interested in seeing U.S. diplomacy succeed in Iran (indeed they are more directly threatened), but they want to see other countries do the heavy lifting.  Secondly, they just don’t have all that much influence over Tehran.  From Voice of America:

But other analysts, including David Kramer, a former senior U.S. State Department official in the Bush administration (now with the German Marshall Fund in the United States), say Russia’s influence over Iran is limited.

“I’ve been skeptical about Russia’s ability: one – to have leverage to use over Iran, and two – its willingness to do so, even if it did have it,” said David Kramer. “Russia has a lot of interests in Iran: significant trade, nuclear reactor construction, energy, arms sales. And I’ve been of the view that Russia would much prefer for the United States and other countries to play the role of the bad guy, to lean on Iran, to be the one pushing for sanctions while Russia stays in the background.”