Policy Memos

Can There Be Common Ground? The Iranian Nuclear Program in the U.S.-Russia Dialogue

Policy Memo:


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The development of the Iranian nuclear program continues to rank highly among challenges to international security, with tensions around this issue climbing to new heights in 2012. Since 2006, multiple UN Security Council resolutions on Iran have had little effect on the program’s development. To a significant extent, this can be explained by the differing policies of the United States and Russia in regard to the Iranian problem. Although the United States and Russia are both founders and predominant supporters of the nuclear nonproliferation regime, their policies toward Iran differ. Whereas Washington sees coercion as the main tool to prevent Tehran from building nuclear weapons, Moscow favors a strategy of engagement and appeasement. This discrepancy may have a critical impact on the further development of the nonproliferation treaty (NPT) regime, potentially undermining its stability in the future. This paper explores three sets of issues:

  • The similarities and differences between U.S. and Russian approaches toward the Iranian nuclear program, including their roots and justifications.
  • The possibility for Moscow and Washington to find common ground on the “Iranian issue” in order to achieve successful resolution.
  • The consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran for Moscow and Washington, in case both states’ strategies fail to keep Tehran out of the “nuclear club.” [...]

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About the author

Associate Professor
Mechnikov National University, Odessa