Brenda Shaffer is an adjunct professor at the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies at Georgetown University and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center.
Russia and Iran are neighboring states. As such, the status of their bilateral relationship is a perpetually important facet of their respective foreign policies. In the post-Soviet period, Tehran and Moscow began to view and term their cooperation as "strategic"—each side viewing the other as integral to its own national security, internal stability, and territorial integrity.
In this Policy Paper, Caspian Basin specialist Brenda Shaffer presents a comprehensive overview of Russia and Iran’s cooperative relationship, providing a detailed explanation of why Moscow does not share U.S. concerns regarding Tehran. She argues that because Moscow views the preservation of ties and cooperation with Iran—a state that has problematic relations with the West—as a means of ensuring that Russian interests in the Middle East and Caspian regions will be taken into consideration, it will not jeopardize those relations for the sake of short term material incentives or out of fear of U.S. reprisals.