A New Power In the Middle East: Russia’s Security and Political Goals In Iran

By Jessie Jenkins


Since the 18th century, there has been a power struggle in the Middle East over which European powers will control the region. In recent years, Russia has become a more active player in the Middle East and is vying for control in the area.  Russia has been supporting Iran’s nuclear program by giving them highly enriched Uranium, by helping them build reactors, and by lending scientists to ensure continued support and upkeep of these facilities. Juxtaposed, many Western states  are backing away from Iran due to their insistence on nuclear weapons.  Academics have begun to question why Russia is continuing to support Iran and its nuclear endeavors against the wishes of the Western community.  The answer lies in Russia’s 2009 new security strategy that revises previous national strategic security in the areas of defense and state security. These strategy revisions have the potential to become a catalyst for an indirect war between the U.S and Russia, and as such must be addressed by the western world.

Unless the U.S. looks at and addresses this new type of security strategy, it could be drawn into an indirect conflict with Russia in the Middle East within the next few years. In order to determine how to avoid this, I first analyze the security and political history between Russia and Iran.  Secondly, I examine the Russian-Iranian political partnership, and thirdly, I scrutinize Russia’s new security framework. After reviewing these salient elements, I put forth a policy recommendation for the U.S. 

As a framework, I use Kenneth Waltz’s theory of neo-realism to examine the development of Russia’s new security strategy.   Like any anarchist state, Russia is working towards its own state goals and is not bending to outside state pressure. In pursuit of its goals, Russia is positioning itself to become a major political player in the Middle East.  This re-positioning undoubtedly creates a direct path for Iran to obtain nuclear weapons in the very near future.  My presentation and policy recommendation offer solutions for the U.S in hopes of avoiding indirect conflict with Russia.


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