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Russia a winner in improved US-Iran ties

Russian-Iranian relations are expanding as nuclear negotiations gain traction.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov next to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (L-R) during a ceremony at the United Nations in Geneva November 24, 2013. Iran and six world powers reached a breakthrough agreement early on Sunday to curb Tehran's nuclear programme in exchange for limited sanctions relief, in a first step towards resolving a dangerous decade-old standoff. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse (SWITZERLAND - Tags: POLITICS ENERGY) - RTX15QMK

The recent rapprochement between Iran and the United States, regardless of how fragile it is, has driven a number of analysts and politicians in Russia and abroad to speculate about the possible negative consequences for Russia’s relations with Iran of Tehran’s “pivot to America.” I find such speculation and fear of the possible decline of Iran-Russia ties baseless. Russia is interested in the normalization of the Iran-US relationship, and can clearly benefit from it.

First, from the Russian perspective, Moscow is no less interested than the West in clearing up suspicions about the Iranian nuclear program, which is the main condition for normalization, and excluding the possibility of Iran's nuclear weaponization. Second, the lifting of sanctions would allow Russian companies access to the Iranian market. The Russian companies believe that they can compete with others successfully, particularly in the spheres where they have already acquired expertise and where they are able to offer better projects on better conditions. The geographical proximity of Russia and Iran can also ease the development of new projects, including the possible construction of new nuclear plants.

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