How Russia Benefits from Iran's Dispute with the United States
Iran occupies a prominent role in international politics today due to its clash with the United States over its nuclear energy program. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has released several reports on the noncompliance of Iran's program with agency standards, which Iran is required to follow by virtue of being a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). While Iran has been at odds with Washington since the 1979 Islamic revolution, tensions have risen considerably in the past several years due to Iran's proximity to the American war theater and the rise of a hard-line government prone to vitriolic anti-American rhetoric under President Ahmadinejad. Iran has remained steadfastly defiant in the obfuscation of its nuclear program through several rounds of international sanctions, embargoes, and United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. Much to the frustration of the US, a significant contributing factor to Iranian stubbornness has been Russian patronage. Russia has continued to provide nuclear expertise and military equipment to Iran while resisting additional sanctions in the UNSC. Moscow claims there is no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program and thus no reason to prosecute Iran so harshly.1 While that may or may not be true, Russia does benefit immensely from Iran's political and economic isolation and the minor turmoil it creates and this gives Moscow little incentive to cooperate with Washington. While it is in Russia's best interest to maintain the status quo as long as possible, at some point the situation will resolve itself. Iran can submit to IAEA regulations, develop nuclear weapons, or work towards becoming a nuclear threshold state in an attempt to exhaust American patience.