Policy Memos

Has Moscow Come to Terms with Iran?

Policy Memo:


Publication Date:




In strictly geographic terms, Iran is not Russia’s immediate neighbor: Azerbaijan on the western side of the Caspian Sea, and Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan on the eastern side form wide buffer zones. In geopolitics, however, politics always matters more than geography. Indeed, Russian policymaking toward Iran is shaped by historical traditions and economic contacts in such a way that the two countries do seem to remain neighbors. The real and perceived exposure of Russia from this state of affairs does not translate into any alarming risk assessments—Russia does not identify any direct threats to its vital interests emanating from Iran and generally recognizes the latter as a legitimate and untroublesome player in the Caucasus and Central Asia. It also finds few reasons to question the rationality of Tehran’s foreign policy course. [...]

More (PDF)

About the author

Research Professor
Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)