President Barack Obama is betting that improving relations with Russia will result in that nation working with him to exert pressure on Iran to halt its program of nuclear development. Alexander Khramchikhin, a prominent researcher with the Institute for Political an MIlitary Analysis, does not believe Russia has as much influence over Iranian decision making as believed to possess by the Americans. He notes that aside from using its veto power to block UN actions in the Security Council, the Russians wield scant power over the Iranians. Washington would like Russia to halt sale of surface to surface missiles, but, beyond that, there is little that outside nations can do to thwart Iranian nuclear development.
We are living with another aftermath of the Bush era. There were numerous times since 2001 when Iran reached out to solve its problems with the United States and each time was thwarted by the Bush administration. Perhaps, the only leverage possessed stems from the drop in the price of oil which increases pressure on Iran to take action to improve its economic conditions to meet rising unemployment and a dramatic drop in its income.