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Sanctions give Moscow, Tehran something to talk about

US sanctions are indeed drawing Russia and Iran closer, but the question now becomes just how close.
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a joint news conference following their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia March 28, 2017.  Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. - RC1DD5047B80

Predictions that US sanctions will drive Russia and Iran closer to each other appear to be on target. Moscow and Tehran are already coordinating closely on negotiations to end the civil war in Syria, and they may consider strengthening their cooperation in other spheres once Damascus is squared away. 

The US Congress' Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (HR 3364) revitalized talk of a strategic relationship between Russia and Iran. Russian analysts and policymakers have been attentively studying the experience of Iran, whose government and people have been grappling for many years with the consequences of international and unilateral US sanctions. Moscow has long tried to capture something useful from Iran’s experience, but eventually tends to conclude that Iran’s case is very different economically, geopolitically and in terms of political organization and industrial development. Thus, the argument goes, even if some experience is to be borrowed, it should be done carefully and with duly appraised adjustments.

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