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FP: Is Moscow Playing a Double Game on Iran's Nukes?

Author: William Tobey
September 4, 2009

William Tobey argues that efforts aimed at preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons has reached a roadblock as Russia continues to play a diplomatic "double game."

This week, diplomats from China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain, and the United States, now called the Group of Six, met to discuss next steps to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signaled Russia's importance to this effort by consulting with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the matter ahead of time. Despite U.S. and Western European preferences, any serious discussion of new sanctions apparently fizzled when Iran signaled that it had a new proposal, without delivering it.

The U.S. approach to Iran's nuclear program has long been built on the assumption that Russia's influence in Iran is key to reaching a solution. Indeed, as Iran's primary nuclear technology supplier, and one of its leading trade partners, Moscow would appear to have powerful leverage in Tehran. But the United States may be basing its policy on an illusion, for the Russians could be playing a double game.

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