It's Time to Reboot Our Relationship with Russia and Iran's Neighbors
A prospective lifting of sanctions on Iran may bring economic benefit to its neighbors in the South Caucasus—Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Yet this cannot offset the region's deep-seated weaknesses, from ethnic tension to government corruption to substantial poverty.
Russia has a significant strategic and economic relationship with Iran that it is trying to maintain after the nuclear deal. To begin with, Russia has been a significant military and economic partner with Iran, providing nuclear power expertise and selling weapons to Iran. Russia supports the current sanctions regime but is looking forward to its expiration. In addition, Russia has long looked to use Iran to counter-balance against the U.S. in the Middle East while at the same time not antagonizing Iran to escalate its support for Islamic militants in Russian territories.