Iran and Russia
- Despite their shared suspicions of the United States, Russia and Iran have long had a contentious relationship and do not cooperate well with each other.
- Moscow is worried about Iran’s nuclear program, but it is more concerned about maintaining and building lucrative economic ties with Tehran. Trade between the two countries has increased steadily since the Soviet Union’s collapse.
- Moscow’s willingness to cooperate with Washington in imposing sanctions on Iran over the nuclear controversy is limited.
- The Iran-Iraq War ended in 1988.
- Khomeini died in mid-1989.
- The Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan in early 1989.
- And communism collapsed in Eastern Europe later that year.
- Russian exports to Iran have grown steadily, according to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service:
- Iran’s exports to Russian also grew steadily, the Russian Federal State Statistics Service reported:
- In November 2009, the Russian news service RIA Novosti published the results of a poll showing that 93.5 percent of Iranians have a negative opinion of Russia.
- Russia was the first country to formally recognize Ahmadinejad’s re-election as president in the disputed 2009 vote.
- In December 2009, Ahmadinejad began calling on Moscow to pay compensation for the Soviet occupation of northern Iran during World War II, which produced a backlash from the Russian press.
- In early March 2010, Tehran ordered all Russian commercial pilots working in Iran to leave within 60 days. Iranian sources blamed Russian pilots for Iran’s numerous plane crashes.
- Moscow does not want Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons, but it is not as concerned as is Washington. Moscow is far more concerned about maintaining and building Russia’s economic relationship with Tehran, especially in the area of petroleum, atomic energy and weaponry.
- Russia has cooperated with the United States on the Iranian nuclear issue for two reasons: First, to placate Washington, with which it wants good relations. And second, to create enough incentive for Washington to continue pursuing a multilateral diplomatic approach.
- Moscow understands that it cannot prevent the United States or Israel from taking military action against Iran. Moscow wants to position itself so that Tehran won’t blame Russia or harm Russian interests if either the United States or Israel strikes Iran.
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The Islamists Are Coming
The Islamists Are Coming, edited by Robin Wright, surveys the rise of Islamist groups in the wake of the Arab Spring. Often lumped together, the more than 50 Islamist parties with millions of followers now constitute a whole new spectrum—separate from either militants or secular parties. They will shape the new order in the world’s most volatile region more than any other political bloc. Yet they have diverse goals and different constituencies. Sometimes they are even rivals.
"The Iran Primer"--Book Overview
“The Iran Primer” brings together 50 top experts—Western and Iranian—in comprehensive but concise overviews of Iran’s politics, economy, military, foreign policy, and nuclear program. Each link connects to a complete chapter on one of 62 subjects in 10 categories. Printable PDF attachments also are at the bottom. Timely analysis is added weekly. The book also chronicles U.S.-Iran relations under six U.S. presidents. It probes five policy options. And it offers timelines, bios of top leaders, and data on nuclear sites and specific sanctions resolutions. And it provides context and analysis for what lies ahead. Click here to order the book.