The Russian Handicap to U.S. Iran Policy

, April 22, 2009

 

Vol. 8, No. 28

  • There are voices in the Obama Administration who believe that the Kremlin is able and willing to exert pressure on Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. However, perceived geopolitical and economic benefits in the unstable Persian Gulf, in which American influence is on the wane, outweigh Russia’s concerns about a nuclear-armed Iran. The Kremlin sees Iran not as a threat but as a partner or an ad-hoc ally to challenge U.S. influence.
  • Today, both Russia and Iran favor a strategy of “multipolarity,” both in the Middle East and worldwide. This strategy seeks to dilute American power, revise current international financial institutions, and weaken or neuter NATO and the OSCE, while forging a counterbalance to the Euro-Atlantic alliance.
  • Russian technological aid is evident throughout the Iranian missile and space programs. Russian scientists and expertise have played a direct and indirect role in these programs for years. According to some reports, Russian specialists are helping to develop the longer-range Shahab-5, and Russia has exported missile production facilities to Iran.
  • Moscow has signed a contract to sell advanced long-range S-300 air-defense systems to Iran. Once Iran has air defenses to repel Israeli or American air strikes and nuclear warheads for its ballistic missiles, it will possess the capacity to destroy Israel (an openly stated goal of the regime) and strike targets throughout the Middle East, in Europe, and the Indian subcontinent. Beyond that, if and when an ICBM capability is achieved, Tehran will be able to threaten the U.S. homeland directly.
  • Given the substantial Russian interests and ambitions, any grand bargain would almost certainly require an excessively high price paid by the United States to the detriment of its friends and allies. Russia simply does not view the situation through the same lens as the U.S.

President Barack Obama hopes that Russia and Europe would assist U.S. efforts to stop the Iranian nuclear program. However, having spent a week in Berlin in Spring 2009 talking to German officials,1 and having followed closely Russia’s policy on Iran since the mid-1990s, including meetings with Presidents Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev and other officials, it looks like Europe’s and Russia’s interests on Iran diverge too much from those of the U.S. to provide either meaningful carrots or weighty enough sticks. For example, a senior German Foreign Ministry official expressed a “hope” that Iran will not weaponize, while proposing weakening and narrowing the existing sanctions regime against Tehran, and warning not to bring the Iranian people closer to the leadership of the Islamic Republic.2

At this point, Obama Administration officials, Russian diplomats, and European policymakers and analysts suggest that Moscow’s geopolitical and economic interests, German fear of confrontation – even through imposition of a robust sanctions regime, and American emphasis on multilateral diplomacy will fail to stop the Iranian drive to acquire nuclear weapons.

The Iranians are not sitting on their hands. Nor do they need a stockpile of highly enriched uranium for peaceful purposes. On March 1, 2009, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, said Iran had stockpiled enough fissile material to build a nuclear bomb. This is the first such definitive commentary from a senior Pentagon official. A week later, Israel’s military intelligence chief, Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, told the Israeli Cabinet that Iran had crossed the technological threshold to producing a nuclear weapon. It may not be long, it seems, until Iran has the bomb.3 If it does, Russia will have a lot to account for, and so will the authors of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate which denied that Iran is seeking to weaponize its nuclear program.

A nuclear-armed Iran would be a game changer and threat to the region, as Iran will likely utilize its nuclear arsenal to bully neighbors, deter other nuclear powers, and provide diplomatic cover for its terrorist proxies, such as Hamas and Hizbullah. Tehran is likely to foster its hegemony in the Persian Gulf and trigger a regional nuclear arms race, not to mention the existential threat to Israel, which should be an unacceptable outcome to U.S. interests, Europe, and countries in the region. But is it?

Russia to the Rescue? Not So Fast

In order to prevent this outcome, there are voices in the Obama Administration and in Europe, including in the expert community, who believe that the Kremlin is able and willing to exert pressure on Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons, as the high-level bipartisan commission jointly organized by the Nixon Center and Harvard University’s Belfer Center and chaired by former Senators Gary Hart and Chuck Hagel recently suggested.4 The report calls for, among other things, making Russia a “partner in dealing with Iran.” This may be a case of wishful thinking, as a close examination of Russia’s relationship with Iran will reveal Moscow’s interests and agenda, as well as expose its unhelpful and enabling behavior towards the Islamic Republic.

Some in Washington have interpreted recent Russian statements as signs that the Kremlin may be more willing to cooperate on Iran than in the past. According to President of the Nixon Center Dimitry Simes, in a recent closed-door meeting at the Kremlin, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev purportedly expressed “concern” and “alarm” in “very graphic language” over Iran’s satellite launch. He stated that this launch represents how “far-reaching Iran’s nuclear ambitions are.”5 This statement may have been aimed in enticing the Obama Administration to offer concessions to the Kremlin in exchange for promises of Russia’s engagement on Iran. Yet only a few days later, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov publicly stated, “We still believe that at this point in time there are no signs that this [Iranian nuclear – A.C.] program has switched to a military purpose.”6 This public statement is in accordance with previous Russian leaders’ public statements and assessments of Iran’s nuclear and “civilian” space programs as peaceful.7

Russia is playing a sophisticated game of Star Trek’s multidimensional chess. It combines a realpolitik recognition of Moscow’s relative weakness vis-à-vis Washington with a desire to push America out of its desired zone of military and political predominance – the Persian Gulf. In the era of expensive oil, more tension at and around the planet’s “gas station” drives up energy prices – a boon to energy export revenue-dependent Russia. And an arms race in the Gulf may benefit Russia’s weapons exports. After all, Moscow sold weapons to both sides during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War. Perceived geopolitical and economic benefits in the unstable Persian Gulf, in which American influence is on the wane, outweigh Russia’s concerns about a nuclear-armed Iran. Why?

The Primakov Doctrine Revisited

Russia has excellent Iranian human intelligence sources which go back to the Soviet era. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani attended Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, and hundreds of Iranian engineers and scientists studied in Russian military, security, and engineering schools. Russian scientists work in the Iranian space and nuclear programs. Russia is fully aware – and profits from – the Iranian push to acquire deliverable nuclear weapons.

Yet past Russian actions, such as delaying and temporarily withholding delivery of nuclear fuel to Iran, postponing the transfer of sophisticated S-300 anti-aircraft batteries to Iran, and providing limited support for weak sanctions regimes indicate that Russia is trying to have its cake and eat it too. It demonstrates responsiveness to the U.S. and, occasionally, even to Israeli pressures and entreaties, while inexorably enabling Iran to get its wishes. The analytical challenge in assessing Russia’s willingness to cooperate with the West is to interpret Russia’s actions versus its rhetoric and to place both in the context of Russia’s perceived interests and its strong and multifaceted relationship with Iran.

Russia’s ambitions in Iran go back to the czarist and Soviet eras, when in the eighteenth century the South Caucasus and the Caspian littoral – until then under Persian hegemony – came under the sway of St. Petersburg. The Soviets occupied northern Iran during World War II. Later, Russian intelligence predicted the victory of the Khomeini Revolution long before Washington realized the scope of the geopolitical disaster it faced after the abandonment of its ailing ally, the Shah. Moscow sold weapons to both Baghdad (its principal client) and to Tehran. Today, Russia’s commercial interests in Iran span from billions in arms sales and the transfer of nuclear and space technology to lucrative oil and gas contracts for state-controlled Russian companies. These ties, and the potential of bilateral trade, are greater than its economic links with Israel.

The Kremlin sees Iran not as a threat but as a partner or an ad-hoc ally to challenge U.S. influence.8 It also sees Iran as a key platform to expand its regional and international influence. While the Iranian agenda is clearly separate from that of Russia, the Kremlin uses Iran as a geopolitical battering ram against the U.S. and its allies in the Gulf region and the Middle East. Therefore, Russian support for Iran’s nuclear program and arms sales are not only economic and export issues, but reflect a geopolitical agenda which is at least twenty years old.

These efforts are part of a strategy aimed at creating a “multi-polar world,” which came about as a reaction to the perceived decline of Soviet stature in the waning years of the Cold War, and was called by this author “the Primakov Doctrine.” Named after Foreign Minister Evgeny Primakov, this doctrine was a response to the emergence of independent states in Eastern Europe and Eurasia and the enlargement of NATO. In early 1997, Primakov and his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Velayati, issued a joint statement calling the U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf “totally unacceptable.”9

Today, both Russia and Iran favor a strategy of “multipolarity,” both in the Middle East and worldwide. This strategy seeks to dilute American power, revise current international financial institutions which comprise the post-Bretton Woods world order, shift away from the dollar as a reserve currency, and weaken or neuter NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, while forging a counterbalance to the Euro-Atlantic alliance, with Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Syria, and terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hizbullah, while hoping to attract China, India, and other states to this anti-U.S. coalition.10

Vladimir Putin has pursued his own version of this doctrine since his ascendancy. Signaling the importance of Iran, one of the first things Putin did when he came to power was to abrogate the secret 1999 Gore-Chernomyrdin Agreement. This accord was set to cut off Russia’s arms supply to Iran after the then-current contracts were fulfilled.11 While Putin also hosted Iranian presidents in Moscow and visited Iran himself, these high level ties have not resulted in cancellation of the Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Russia’s Contribution to Iran’s “Civilian” Space Program

On February 5, 2008, J. Michael McConnell, then Director of National Intelligence, presented his Annual Threat Assessment to the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence. The assessment stated that Iran is developing and deploying longer-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. However, the report failed to mention the involvement of Russia in this development.

Iran maintains that the test launches for its satellite program are of a civilian nature. However, Iran’s space program is under the control of the Revolutionary Guards – the most trusted militarized security component of the regime, not unlike the Nazi SS and Stalin’s NKVD.12 It is worth remembering that the Soviet secret services were in charge of its nuclear program under the leadership of Lavrentii Beria, Stalin’s much-feared security chief. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an alumnus of the Revolutionary Guards, is publicly and visibly involved with the space launch program. The development of successful space programs has historically occurred in tandem with ICBM programs, and satellite-launch capability is quite similar to intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capabilities.13

Russian technological aid is evident throughout the Iranian missile and space programs. Russian scientists and expertise have played a direct and indirect role in these programs for years. For instance, Iran’s first satellite was built and launched in Russia. On February 5, 2008, Iran launched a ballistic missile described as a “space launch vehicle,” or SLV. The rocket, called the Explorer-1, was launched from a new and secret space center in northern Iran. It is probable that this new missile was none other than the Shahab 4, which is likely based on technology transferred by Russia.14 This is likely the single-stage Soviet SS-4 intermediate-range ballistic missile, which was deployed in Cuba during the Missile Crisis of 1962. Russia also used to have a space-launch version.

According to some reports, Russian specialists are helping to develop the longer-range Shahab-5, and Russia has exported missile production facilities and technical documents, as well as fuel, to Iran.15 Iran and North Korea are cooperating in developing missile technology, and Russia may be facilitating technology transfers between the two; for example, the Shahab-5 is based on the Taepodong-2 first developed by North Korea and now being employed by Iran with Russian help.16 The launch of the new North Korean space vehicle on April 4, 2009, should be a reason to examine how that model may further boost Iranian ballistic missile capabilities.

Iran’s Race to Space

In March 2009, Iran launched its first indigenously produced satellite into orbit ahead of schedule using an Iranian-built rocket, the Safir-2 (“Ambassador”). The Safir-2 rocket is a two-stage rocket that, if reconfigured as a ballistic missile with a light warhead, could have a range of roughly 1,500 miles. This is sufficient to reach most parts of the greater Middle East. Iran has even more powerful rockets in its inventory such as the Shahab-3. The critical insight from this demonstration is that the launch of the Safir-2 represents a milestone for Iran in its quest to deliver larger payloads to longer distances.17 If a country can launch a missile that can place a satellite payload into orbit, then it may develop the ability to hit a target anywhere on Earth, given adequate warhead and command, control, and communications capabilities.

Another reason why Russia is so eager to assist Iran may have to do with Moscow’s clearly-articulated assessment that the U.S. and NATO are a threat. This was an explanation for Moscow’s opposition to the U.S. missile defense deployment in Europe.

If Iran achieves nuclear/ballistic missile capacity, it could further intimidate NATO countries currently hosting important U.S. bases in Europe. А refusal by NATO allies to provide aid to the United States in a future conflict could fracture the alliance’s cohesion, an outcome that Moscow would welcome. Thus, Russia may be using Iran as an important chess piece – not only to threaten U.S. interests in the Gulf, but eventually to undermine the Trans-Atlantic alliance.

Finally, Tehran’s development of longer-range ballistic missiles with the capacity to reach most of Europe might also deter NATO countries from allowing U.S. forces to use bases on their territory in a contingency to assist Israel, not unlike the Yom Kippur War scenario when only the Netherlands and Portugal allowed U.S. military cargo ships refueling on their territory, while the rest of Europe was intimidated by the threats of the Arab oil embargo.

Russia’s Support for Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions

Iran is also continuing with efforts to develop its uranium enrichment capability, ostensibly for civilian purposes but with the potential for making nuclear weapons. The light-water reactor and Bushehr nuclear power plant initiated by the German firm Siemens in the 1970s but completed by Russia are an essential part of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, which has received Russia’s support since 1992. Russia provided the technical expertise, nuclear fuel, equipment, parts, and other components for this reactor.18

Russia and Iran completed the Bushehr plant on February 25, 2009, when the reactor was tested successfully. The actual launch of Bushehr will likely take place in Fall 2009. Russia and Iran have recently agreed to sign a ten-year nuclear fuel contract and to operate the reactor with the help of Russian experts.19 If operated “off the books,” however, the complex will be capable of producing enough nuclear material for thirty atomic bombs a year.20

Iran currently returns spent uranium fuel to Russia, but it is feverishly developing its own uranium enrichment capability; this would give it the ability to process reactor fuel into weapons-grade material.21 This capability poses an acute danger to global non-proliferation efforts and to President Obama’s stated priority to rid the world of nuclear weapons. The question is whether Russia shares these laudable goals.

Russia’s Security Blanket over Iran

Russia is involved in providing Iran with a key component to enable it to achieve and deploy an offensive strategic capability and posture, making its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenal invulnerable to outside attack. In March 2009, Russian state news agencies confirmed that Moscow signed a contract as early as 2007 to sell advanced long-range S-300 air-defense systems to Iran, and “the contract itself…is being gradually executed.”22

The sale of the ostensibly defensive S-300 to Iran would be a game changer in the Middle East. This system, coupled with the Russian-made TOR-M1 surface-to-air missile system already deployed there, would offer Iran a shield against potential air strikes aimed at its nuclear program.23

Once Iran has air defenses to repel Israeli or American air strikes and nuclear warheads for its ballistic missiles – and sources indicate that this may occur sooner rather than later – it will possess the capacity to destroy Israel (an openly stated goal of the regime) and strike targets throughout the Middle East, in Europe, and the Indian subcontinent.24 Beyond that, if and when an ICBM capability is achieved, Tehran will be able to threaten the U.S. homeland directly. The choice then will become starkly resembling the early Cold War: deter or pre-empt.

Russia pretends that it can manage these developments and that it can play a vital role in brokering an agreement. If it does, then Moscow, which helped create the problem, can then negotiate the solution. This is evident by the Russian statement which followed the revelation that Moscow had signed the 2007 contract with Iran to sell the S-300. An anonymous official claimed that “the further implementation of the contract depends in large part on the developing international situation and the decision of the country’s leaders.”25 In February 2009, when the U.S. Manas air force base was evicted from Kyrgyzstan after Russian pressure, Moscow then offered a re-supply route through its territory, enhancing its own sway over Central Asia and possibly pocketing some of the transit fees and payments for refueling and other services.26

Russian Bears Bearing Gifts

The Obama Administration should use extreme caution in negotiating Russian cooperation on Iran. Moscow’s interests in Iran are commercial and geopolitical in nature, and until now mostly militated against substantial cooperation or any potential “grand bargain.” This so-called bargain would involve the U.S. delaying or canceling plans for European-based U.S. missile defense and barring NATO’s doors to Ukraine and Georgia.

Russia is demanding scaling back U.S. relations with Russia’s “near-abroad” countries and overlooking its abysmal rule-of-law situation and its security services’ human rights excesses – in exchange for Russian cooperation on preventing Iran from going nuclear. With the realpolitik school, including such octogenarians as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, and former President George H.W. Bush’s National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, and their acolytes, ascending in Washington, this looks like a plausible bargain – if Moscow delivers. And herein lies the rub.

In addition to nuclear and arms sales, the Kremlin has major plans with Tehran in the energy sector. The Kremlin is in the process of creating an OPEC-style gas cartel with Iran and other leading gas producers, to be headquartered in Moscow. By launching this cartel, Moscow hopes to enhance its energy superpower status.27 In addition to nuclear sales, Russia is also engaged in oil and gas “swap” deals with Iran that are accruing Russia influence in Tehran, in the Caspian Basin and the Persian Gulf.28 Moscow and Iran also are planning a massive energy and transportation corridor to connect the Indian Ocean, the Caspian, and Europe. The chances of Russia risking this ambitious agenda will depend on what the Obama Administration offers in exchange – and whether Moscow can pocket the concessions and continue its multi-faceted relationship with Tehran.

Conclusions

This is not the time for naïveté. Given the substantial Russian interests and ambitions, any grand bargain would almost certainly require an excessively high price paid by the United States to the detriment of its friends and allies.29 Russia simply does not view the situation through the same lens as the U.S. Moreover, Russia considers Iran as a partner and a de-facto ally in its plans to regain international influence. Russia has yet another powerful incentive not to ally itself with the Obama Administration’s Iran policy and “deliver” Tehran: Iran’s ascendancy in the Gulf and subsequent friction with the Sunni Arab world serves to boost oil prices and, thus, Moscow’s balance sheet.

Russia blocked a set of UNSC sanctions against Iran after the Russia-Georgia war and has provided limited support to previous sanction rounds. Unless this changes, the United Nations as an international organization (including the Security Council), and a robust sanctions regime as a tool, are not going to work as an option for dealing with Iran because Russian (and possibly Chinese) intransigence and European caution are likely to block any such efforts.

The Iranian challenge to the Obama foreign policy agenda also underscores the need for an effective missile defense strategy for the Middle East and Europe, which will be vulnerable to Iranian ballistic missiles. The potential consequences of a nuclear strike on Europe or Israel justify having the insurance provided by a missile defense system.30 Beyond that, the U.S., Europe, and Israel need to consider military options if diplomacy, including sanctions, fails. During the 2008 presidential election campaign, candidates Obama and Hillary Clinton said that “all options are on the table.” They should not be swept under it.

To conclude, with Russia providing support for Iranian ambitions diplomatically, technologically, and militarily (to defend their missile and nuclear programs from attack), and the “grand bargain” price likely being too high, the U.S. is left with a difficult problem.

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Notes

1. The author wants to thank the American Council on Germany, its President William Drozdiak and Vice President Stephen Sokol, for the invitation to the Spring 2009 Berlin Study Tour.

2. German Foreign Ministry briefing, April 2009.

3. Ariel Cohen, “Iran Now on the Brink of Making the Bomb,” United Press International, March 20, 2009,

http://www.upi.com/security_industry/2009/03/20/Iran_now_on_the_brink_of_making_the_bomb/UPI-82251237558637.

4. The Right Direction for U.S. Policy Towards Russia, March 2009, ttp://www.nixoncenter.org/RussiaReport09.pdf

5. Phillip P. Pan and Karen De Young, “Russia Signaling Interest in Deal on Iran, Analysts Say,” Washington Post, March 17, 2009, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/17/AR2009031703033.html

6. “No Sign Iranian Nuclear Programme Has Military Intent: Russia,” AFP, March 20, 2009, http://www.spacewar.com/2006/090320094343.v7054d9x.html

7. Stephen Blank, “Russia and Iran’s Missiles,” World Politics Review, February 9, 2009, http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articlePrint.aspx?ID=3269

8. Ibid.

9. Ariel Cohen and James Phillips, “Russia’s Dangerous Missile Game in Iran,” Heritage Foundation Executive Memorandum, November 13, 1997, http://www.heritage.org/Research/RussiaandEurasia/EM503.cfm

10. Ariel Cohen, “How the Obama Administration Should Engage Russia,” Testimony Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on “Prospects for Engagement with Russia,” March 19, 2009, http://www.heritage.org/research/russiaandeurasia/tst031909a.cfm

11. Mark N. Katz, “Russian-Iranian Relations in the Putin Era,” Demokratizatsiya, Winter 2002, http://mars.gmu.edu:8080/dspace/bitstream/1920/ 3046/4/Russian-Iranian%20Relations%20in%20the%20Putin%20Era.pdf

12. Ariel Cohen, “Why Are the Revolutionary Guards Running Iran’s ICBM program?” United Press International, September 30, 2008, http://www.upi.com/Security_Industry/2008/09/30/ Why_are_the_Revolutionary_Guards_running_Irans_ICBM_program/UPI-18751222786545

13. Martin Sieff, “North Korea’s Satellite Claim Means ICBM Threat Is Real at Last,” United Press International, February 24, 2009, http://www.upi.com/news/issueoftheday/2009/02/24/ North_Koreas_satellite_claim_means_ICBM_threat_is_real_at_last/UPI-13811235497413/print

14. Ariel Cohen, “Iran’s Satellite Booster Likely to Have ICBM Capability,” United Press International, September 29, 2008, http://www.upi.com/Security_Industry/2008/09/29/ Irans_satellite_booster_likely_to_have_ICBM_capability/UPI-95421222701978

15. Ariel Cohen, “The Real World: Iran’s Space Rocket Launch,” Middle East Times, February 9, 2008, http://www.heritage.org/Press/Commentary/020808c.cfm

16. Ibid.

17. James Phillips and Baker Spring, “Iran’s Satellite Launch Underscores Growing Military Threat,” February 4, 2009, Heritage Foundation, Webmemo No. 2270, http://www.heritage.org/research/middleeast/wm2270.cfm

18. “Bushehr,” Globalsecurity.org, October 10, 2008, http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/iran/bushehr.htm (March 16, 2009)

19. “Russia, Iran to Sign 10-Year Nuclear Fuel Supply Contract,” RIA Novosti, February 25, 2009, http://en.rian.ru/russia/20090225/120304285.html

20. “Bushehr,” Globalsecurity.org, October 10, 2008, http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/iran/bushehr.htm

21. Ariel Cohen, “The Real World: Iran- N. Korea with Oil?”, Middle East Times, April 11, 2008,

http://www.heritage.org/press/commentary/ed041108a.cfm?RenderforPrint=1

22. “Report: Russia Confirms Missile Contract,” Associated Press, March 18, 2009,

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iBLHJGdHUD5xKiB9QYH6NlZhfTXgD970C8A01

23. Ariel Cohen, “Can the U.S. F-35 Fighter Destroy Russia’s S-300 Systems?” United Press International, January 20, 2009, http://www.upi.com/Security_Industry/2009/01/20/ Can_the_US_F-35_fighter_destroy_Russias_S-300_systems/UPI-39001232464740

24. Mark Lavie, “Israel Believes Iran Can Build Nuclear Weapons,” Associated Press, March 8, 2009, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/ml_israel_iran;_ylt =AnvVKNHaGc4YRgg5EL3xpgLZn414; “Iran Leader’s Comments Attacked,” BBC News, October 27, 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4378948.stm

25. “Russia Has Not Delivered S-300 Missile Systems to Iran – Source,” Novosti, March 18, 2009, http://en.rian.ru/russia/20090318/ 120623475.html (April 1, 2009).

26. Ariel Cohen, “How the Obama Administration Should Engage Russia.”

27. Ariel Cohen, “Gas OPEC: A Stealthy Cartel Emerges,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo, April 12, 2007,

http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/wm1423.cfm

28. “Russia, Iran Signed Hydrocarbon Memorandum Allowing for Swap Operations,” Itar-Tass, March 15, 2009, http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html? NewsID=13680390&PageNum=0; “Iran: Is Tehran Using Russia as Insurance Against Tougher Sanctions?” Eurasia Insight, March 17, 2009, http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insightb/articles/eav031709b.shtml

29. Ariel Cohen, “How the Obama Administration Should Engage Russia.”

30. Stephen Blank, “Russia Challenges the Obama Administration,” Strategic Studies Institute, December 2008,

http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/pub900.pdf; Ariel Cohen, “The Real World: Between Iran and Poland,” Middle East Times, July 12, 2008, http://ww.heritage.org/press/commentary/ed071208a.cfm

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Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., is Senior Research Fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Security in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, at the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies at The Heritage Foundation

About Ariel Cohen

Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., is Senior Research Fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Security at The Heritage Foundation.