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Moscow boosts ties with Tehran as US-Iran tensions escalate

While Iran and Russia are trying to limit US influence in the Middle East, the United States lacks the leverage to counter China’s and Russia’s growing influence in the region.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) meets with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Moscow on December 30, 2019. (Photo by Yuri KADOBNOV / AFP) (Photo by YURI KADOBNOV/AFP via Getty Images)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Moscow last month for the third time in the past six months for meetings with senior Russian officials. Although they have often been adversaries since first establishing diplomatic relations in the 16th century, Iran and Russia are purposely seeking to develop an increasingly close bilateral relationship.

Currently the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the Middle East and with its economy in shambles after the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement and applied a “maximum pressure” campaign, Iran rejected the US offer to negotiate lifting sanctions in return for a new agreement that would remove nuclear program sunset clauses and address Iran’s state-sponsored terrorism and ballistic missile program.  

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