Russia’s military incursion into the sovereign nation of Georgia, which began on August 8th, has strained relations between Russia and the United States. Observers speculate the strain could damage attempts to work together to confront the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program – a threat which faces Russia as well as the United States.
The United Nations Security Council, whose permanent members include Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, has adopted three resolutions imposing legally binding sanctions on Iran for its refusal to fully suspend its proliferation sensitive nuclear activities.
After Iran this month failed to provide a clear, positive response to the refreshed package of incentives offered to it by the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany, the so called P-5+1 countries agreed to begin discussions on a fourth round of UN sanctions.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Russia’s involvement in trying to stop Iran from procuring the technologies necessary for a nuclear weapon is in Russia’s own interest:
“If indeed Russia is interested in a Middle East that is stable, if indeed Russia is interested in a Middle East in which the kinds of activities that we have promoted together in the Quartet [Russia, the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations] are going to have any chance, then clearly, it’s not going to be a Middle East in which there’s an Iran with a nuclear weapon. And I think that’s why Russia is involved in efforts to stop Iran from violating the Security Council resolutions that have been passed.”
“Let’s be very clear whose interests are being served by the partnership that Russia and the United States have engaged in on Iran,” said Secretary of State Rice. “It’s not a favor to the United States.”