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This book presents a comprehensive, systematic analysis of Russia- Iran relations in the period following the collapse o

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Russia-Iran Relations Since the End of the Cold War
 0415740347, 9780415740340

Table of contents :
Cover
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
List of figures
List of tables
List of appendix tables and reports
Acknowledgments
List of abbreviations
1 Introduction
2 Developments in Russian–Iranian relations in the Soviet and post-Soviet eras
3 Measuring bilateral relations in the post-Soviet era: constructing a dependent variable of General Political Association
4 Evaluating the impact of national security calculations upon General Political Association: a macro-level analysis
5 Domestic politics and bilateral relations: a micro-level analysis of the Russian Federation
6 Domestic politics and bilateral relations: a micro-level analysis of the Islamic Republic of Iran
7 Evaluating the impact of domestic politics upon General Political Association: a micro-level analysis
8 Conclusion
Appendix
Appendix Report 1
Appendix Report 2
References
Index

Citation preview

Russia–Iran Relations Since the End of the Cold War

This book presents a comprehensive, systematic analysis of Russia–Iran relations in the period following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It discusses the key areas where cooperation is possible; charts different phases of increasing and declining cooperation; and relates these changes to security considerations and domestic factors in both countries. Throughout, the book argues that the potential for cooperation between the two countries is much greater than people realize, and it concludes by assessing how Russia–Iran relations are likely to develop in future. Eric D. Moore has received an M.S. in Political Science from the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University (Oregon, U.S.), and is a Research Associate with the TransResearch Consortium.

Durham modern Middle East and Islamic world series Series Editor: Anoushiravan Ehteshami University of Durham

1 Economic Development in Saudi Arabia Rodney Wilson, with Abdullah Al-Salamah, Monica Malik and Ahmed Al-Rajhi 2 Islam Encountering Globalisation Edited by Ali Mohammadi 3 China’s Relations with Arabia and the Gulf, 1949–1999 Mohamed Bin Huwaidin 4 Good Governance in the Middle East Oil Monarchies Edited by Tom Pierre Najem and Martin Hetherington 5 The Middle East’s Relations with Asia and Russia Edited by Hannah Carter and Anoushiravan Ehteshami 6 Israeli Politics and the Middle East Peace Process, 1988–2002 Hassan A. Barari 7 The Communist Movement in the Arab World Tareq Y. Ismael 8 Oman – The Islamic Democratic Tradition Hussein Ghubash 9 The Secret Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations in Oslo Their success and why the process ultimately failed Sven Behrendt 10 Globalization and Geopolitics in the Middle East Old games, new rules Anoushiravan Ehteshami

11 Iran–Europe Relations Challenges and opportunities Seyyed Hossein Mousavian 12 Islands and International Politics in the Persian Gulf The Abu Musa and Tunbs in strategic perspective Kourosh Ahmadi 13 Monetary Union in the Gulf Prospects for a single currency in the Arabian Peninsula Emilie Rutledge 14 Contested Sudan The political economy of war and reconstruction Ibrahim Elnur 15 Palestinian Politics and the Middle East Peace Process Consensus and competition in the Palestinian Negotiation Team Ghassan Khatib 16 Islam in the Eyes of the West Images and realities in an age of terror Edited by Tareq Y. Ismael and Andrew Rippin 17 Islamist Extremism in Kuwait From the Muslim Brotherhood to Al-Qaeda and other Islamist political groups Falah Abdullah al-Mdaires 18 Iraq, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World Edited by Ali Paya and John Esposito 19 Islamic Entrepreneurship Rasem N. Kayed and M. Kabir Hassan 20 Iran and the International System Edited by Anoushiravan Ehteshami and Reza Molavi 21 The International Politics of the Red Sea Anoushiravan Ehteshami and Emma C. Murphy 22 Palestinian Christians in Israel State attitudes towards non-Muslims in a Jewish State Una McGahern

23 Iran–Turkey Relations, 1979–2011 Conceptualising the dynamics of politics, religion and security in middle-power states Suleyman Elik 24 The Sudanese Communist Party Ideology and party politics Tareq Y. Ismael 25 The Muslim Brotherhood in Contemporary Egypt Democracy defined or confined? Mariz Tadros 26 Social and Gender Inequality in Oman The power of religious and political tradition Khalid M. Al-Azri 27 American Democracy Promotion in the Changing Middle East From Bush to Obama Edited by Shahram Akbarzadeh, James Piscatori, Benjamin MacQueen and Amin Saikal 28 China-Saudi Arabia Relations, 1990–2012 Marriage of convenience or strategic alliance? Naser M. Al-Tamimi 29 Adjudicating Family Law in Muslim Courts Cases from the contemporary Muslim world Edited by Elisa Giunchi 30 Muslim Family Law in Western Courts Edited by Elisa Giunchi 31 Anti-Veiling Campaigns in the Muslim World Gender, modernism and the politics of dress Edited by Stephanie Cronin 32 Russia–Iran Relations Since the End of the Cold War Eric D. Moore

Russia–Iran Relations Since the End of the Cold War

Eric D. Moore

Published in association with the Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah Programme at Durham University.

First published 2014 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2014 Eric D. Moore The right of Eric D. Moore to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Moore, Eric D., 1973- author. Russia-Iran relations since the end of the Cold War / Eric D. Moore. pages ; cm. – (Durham modern Middle East and Islamic world series ; 32) 1. Russia (Federation)–Foreign relations–Iran. 2. Iran–Foreign relations–Russia (Federation) 3. Soviet Union–Foreign relations–Iran. 4. Iran–Foreign relations–Soviet Union. I. Title. II. Series: Durham modern Middle East and Islamic world series ; 32. DK68.7.I7M66 2014 327.47055–dc23 2013043382 ISBN: 978-0-415-74034-0 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-315-81566-4 (ebk) Typeset in Times New Roman by Wearset Ltd, Boldon, Tyne and Wear

Contents

List of figures List of tables List of appendix tables and reports Acknowledgments List of abbreviations

ix x xi xii xiii

1

Introduction

1

2

Developments in Russian–Iranian relations in the Soviet and post-Soviet eras

8

3

4 5 6 7 8

Measuring bilateral relations in the post-Soviet era: constructing a dependent variable of General Political Association

47

Evaluating the impact of national security calculations upon General Political Association: a macro-level analysis

66

Domestic politics and bilateral relations: a micro-level analysis of the Russian Federation

95

Domestic politics and bilateral relations: a micro-level analysis of the Islamic Republic of Iran

121

Evaluating the impact of domestic politics upon General Political Association: a micro-level analysis

151

Conclusion

167

Appendix

182

viii Contents

Appendix Report 1

193

Appendix Report 2

195

References Index

213 224

Figures

2.1 2.2 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 6.1 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4

Bilateral exports between the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1992–2012 Aggregate number of arms-related contracts, 1987–2012 Annual cooperation in the Trade in Conventional Weapons, 1966–2013 Annual Cooperation in Nuclear Development, 1966–2013 Annual Cooperation in Caspian Sea Delimitation, 1966–2013 Russian–Iranian General Political Association, 1966–2013 Iran’s national power relative to NATO’s aggregate member power (IRN_PERC) and General Political Association Iran’s national power relative to NATO member power (IRN_ PERC) and General Political Association—time series data, 1991–2009 Iranian natural gas production relative to production levels in the Russian Federation (IRP_NG) and General Political Association, 1992–2013 Iranian natural gas production relative to production levels in the Russian Federation (IRP_NG) and General Political Association—time series data, 1992–2013 Point change in General Political Association during successive periods, 1987–2013 Effective Number of Political Parties in the Russian State Duma and General Political Association, 1992–2013 Effective Number of Political Parties in the Russian State Duma and General Political Association—time series data, 1992–2013 Counter-Reformist Influence in the Iranian Majlis and General Political Association, 1992–2013 Counter-Reformist Influence in the Iranian Majlis and General Political Association—time series data, 1992–2013

9 30 50 52 57 58 85 86 88 89 131 160 161 162 164

Tables

3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 7.1 7.2 8.1

Seven-point scale for sub-components of General Political Association Coding scheme for transforming Aggregate Number of Defense Contracts into seven-point scale of cooperation Scaled Caspian Sea delimitation positions of the five littoral nations Coding scheme for cooperation in Caspian Sea delimitation Correlation matrix for analysis of GPA and Economic Utility for Partnership Correlation matrix for test of discriminant validity Correlation matrix for test of convergent validity Russian and Iranian annual perceptions of national power relative to NATO member power, 1991–2012 Index of mutually proximate regions to Russia and Iran Russian and Iranian natural gas production, 1992–2013 Correlation matrix for macro-level analysis Counter Reformist Influence in the Iranian Majlis, 1992–2012 Correlation matrix for micro-level analysis (Chapters 5 and 6) Rank-ordered correlation matrix for all significant independent variables

48 50 55 56 61 63 64 79 81 83 84 155 159 171

Appendix tables and reports

A.1 Gazprom shareholding controlled by the Russian Federation A.2 Trade in Conventional Weapons data, 1966–2013 A.3 Economic utility of bilateral partnership with Iran to USSR/ Russia (1981–2012) A.4 Economic utility of bilateral partnership with USSR/Russia to Iran (1981–2012) A.5 USSR/Russian exports to emerging and developing countries expressed as a percentage of total world exports, 1981–2012 A.6 Similarity of Russian–Iranian security alliance portfolios (1966–2000) A.7 Regional Magnitude of State Failure, 1992–2013 A.8 Effective Number of Parties in the Russian State Duma, 1992–2013 A.9 Seat-holding percentages of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF ) and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) in the Russian State Duma, 1992–2013 A.10 Seat holding percentages of counter-reformists in the Iranian Majlis, 1992–2013 A.11 Annual scores for sub-components of General Political Association, 1966–2013 Appendix Report 1 Coding scheme for Annual Cooperation in Nuclear Development (ACND) event data Appendix Report 2 Coded event data for GPA sub-component: Annual Cooperation in Nuclear Development (ACND)

182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 195

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank Dr. Bruce Gilley, Dr. Ronald Tammen, and Dr. Birol Yesilada of the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University; this project, quite simply, would not have been possible without their guidance and support. I would additionally like to thank my partner, Krista Lane, for being a gracious listener, and for all her input and patience throughout this long process. To my parents, you have certainly added to this accomplishment with all of your encouragement and optimism, thank you for that. Lastly, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Peter Sowden and Helena Hurd at Routledge for their interest in this project and for their invaluable assistance in bringing it to fruition. As always, any shortcomings in the work are purely my own.

Abbreviations

ACI ACND ANC ASM BBC BP CCSD CEC CEE CENTO CPRF CPRF_I CPSU CRI CRS ENP E&P ESD EU FDI FSB GCC GDP GPA IAEA IAEO IFOSA IFV IIPF IMF IPU IR

Executives/Servants of the Construction of Iran Annual Cooperation in Nuclear Development (variable) Aggregate Number of Contracts (variable) air to surface missile British Broadcasting Corporation British Petroleum Cooperation in Caspian Sea Delimitation (variable) Central Election Commission (of the Russian Federation) Central and Eastern Europe Central Treaty Organization Communist Party of the Russian Federation Influence of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (variable) Communist Party of the Soviet Union Influence of Counter-Reformists in Iranian Majlis (variable) Congressional Research Service Effective Number of Political Parties (variable) exploration and production (of hydrocarbon resources) Equal Share Division (approach to Caspian Sea delimitation) European Union foreign direct investment Federal Security Service (Russia) Gulf Cooperation Council gross domestic product General Political Association (variable) International Atomic Energy Agency Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Iran Foreign Oil Sanctions Act (1995) infantry fighting vehicle Islamic Iran Participation Front International Monetary Fund Inter-Parliamentary Union international relations

xiv

Abbreviations

IRGC IRI IRN_PERC IRP_NG ISC ISSCEC JRM LDPR LDPR_I MinAtom MML MRM MTCR NATO NDR NIKIET NRP NRP_I NRP_R OVR P5+1 PFIR PITF PPP PR PRC PUF RMSF RosAtom RUS_PERC SAM SCO SIPRI SMD SOCAR SRAAM SVR TCW UGSS UNBISNET UNGA UNSC UR USSR

Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Islamic Republic of Iran Iran’s perception of NATO’s relative power (variable) Iran’s production of natural gas relative to Russia (variable) Iran Sanctions Committee Iranian–Soviet Standing Commission for Economic Cooperation Society of Militant Clergy Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Influence of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (variable) predecessor to Russia’s present Ministry of Atomic Energy modified median line (approach to Caspian Sea delimitation) Assembly of Militant Clerics Missile Technology Control Regime North Atlantic Treaty Organization Our Home Is Russia (Russian political party) Scientific Research and Design Institute for Energy Technologies (Russia) NATO’s Relative Power NATO’s Power Relative to Iran (variable) NATO’s Power Relative to Russia (variable) Fatherland–All Russia (leading opposition Russian political party) Five Permanent Member Countries of the UNSC, plus Germany Persevering Front of the Islamic Revolution Political Instability Task Force purchasing power parity proportional representation People’s Republic of China Principalist Unity Front Regional Magnitude of State Failure (variable) Russia’s Ministry of Atomic Energy Russia’s perception of NATO’s relative power (variable) surface to air missile Shanghai Cooperation Organization Stockholm International Peace Research Institute single-member district State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic short-range anti-aircraft missile Russian Foreign Intelligence Services Trade in Conventional Weapons (variable) Unified Gas Supply System (of the Russian Federation) United Nations Bibliographic Information System United Nations General Assembly United Nations Security Council United Russia (Russian political party) Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

1

Introduction

In the study of contemporary politics few interstate relationships have proven more instrumental, controversial, and perplexing to global policy-makers than that which has persisted between Moscow and Tehran since the collapse of the USSR. Alternating between periods of intimate cooperation and serious diplomatic fatigue, the status of Russian–Iranian relations at any given moment has captured the attention of the world community because of its demonstrated importance to global affairs. Moscow’s frequent diplomatic support of Tehran alongside of its recurrent transfers of conventional weaponry and nuclear technology have raised important concerns for regional and western leaders who fear that the Islamic Republic’s coming of age will have unprecedented consequences for the status quo of relations in the Middle East. Although Russian leaders have often sought to ease international concerns by making public promises both to restrict and/or to monitor the scale of its cooperation with Iran, perhaps just as frequently the Kremlin has defaulted on these same commitments, thereby causing western leaders to question Moscow’s role in the global community. The duplicitous nature of Russia’s policies toward Iran in the post-Cold War era have only further obscured the answer to whether or not Moscow is, today, a supporter of the global and regional status quo or whether it is, in fact, a revisionist power. Despite the contemporary importance of Russian–Iranian relations to questions of global and regional politics there has, to date, been very little in the way of critical scholarship performed on the subject. While a wide spectrum of accounts offer a wealth of data on contemporary and historical events which have, presumably, defined and conditioned bilateral relations, there has been virtually no effort to isolate, examine, empirically test, or evaluate those conditions that are deemed salient to cooperation. In contrast, this present effort analyzes relations between Moscow and Tehran in a manner that is both vibrant and unprecedented, taking the reader far beyond the highly routine and speculative approaches that populate the subject’s existing literature. Relying upon a rigorous scientific methodology, this study not only investigates both the domestic and the international factors thought to be heavily responsible for influencing cooperative outcomes between Moscow and Tehran, but it also provides a procedural blueprint for students of international relations interested in unraveling

2

Introduction

the complexities of bilateral and multilateral political relationships across the globe. Russia–Iran Relations Since the End of the Cold War is a science-based investigation into the myriad conditions that have shaped the tumultuous political relationship between Moscow and Tehran during the post-Soviet era. Through the application of a rigorous methodology, this study invests the reader with specific knowledge that is essential to both understanding and predicting changes in this complicated bilateral relationship. Innovative for its creation of a dependent variable of bilateral political association, and its operationalization of those forces deemed salient to cooperation, this study demonstrates the utility of methods in political science to critically test and evaluate propositions made about the state of international affairs. Through a discrete macro-level analysis of extant security conditions facing the political dyad, and a micro-level analysis of influential domestic sub-currents and changing institutional conditions, the present study seeks to bring structure, conclusion, and confidence to a crucial, but often disorderly, debate among the wider policy community. Specifically, this volume reveals how political interrelations between Moscow and Tehran remain sensitive to a consistent set of critical international and domestic factors. From latent energy competition between the two nations, and the relative power of NATO, to the changing level of political pluralism in the Russian Federation, and the influence of counter-reformists in the Islamic Republic, this study demonstrates, empirically, that the quality of political relations between the two nations—though highly complex—is both patterned and rational. Its timely conclusions provide policy-makers and students of Russian and Iranian foreign relations alike with a virtual primer for understanding the future course of this tumultuous and important relationship. Rather than simply dismissing the extant tradition of literature on Russian– Iranian relations, this study seeks to aggregate and transform the subject’s many diverse narratives into a series of collective arguments which may be both formalized and subjected to empirical analysis. By translating complex historical interactions into a user-friendly political metric and restructuring vague, causal narratives into a set of formal hypotheses which can be critically evaluated this study develops discrete conclusions about those factors which are—and are not—salient to cooperation and non-cooperation in the post-Cold War era. By redirecting the analysis of Russian–Iranian relations into the realm of science, not only do we improve our ability to predict the future course of relations, but so too do we begin to initiate a professional and more dynamic discussion. While the narrative efforts of so many analysts are indeed informative, without a carefully defined forum much valuable information may easily become lost through a series of otherwise disparate monologues. By centralizing and defining a great number and variety of arguments, this study intends to create those conditions favorable to stimulating a rigorous dialogue surrounding one of the most important political relationships of the twenty-first century.

Introduction 3

Progress of study No critical evaluation of Russian–Iranian relations can proceed without first undertaking the necessary steps to develop a dependent variable of political affinity that efficiently depicts the changing nature of cooperation during the period under investigation. Despite the fact that there is much valuable scholarship on the history of Russian–Iranian relations—the most significant of which is John W. Parker’s (2009) incredibly rich account Persian Dreams—to my knowledge, no author has thus far attempted to create a quantifiable index of bilateral relations in the post-Soviet era. Thus the first chapters in this study, chapters 2 and 3, are wholly dedicated to the process of constructing what I hereafter refer to as the dependent variable of General Political Association (GPA). Beginning in Chapter 2, this study provides an in-depth recitation of the events pertinent to relations between Moscow and Tehran from the early twentieth century to the contemporary era. While the scope of this study will focus predominantly upon the late Soviet and post-Soviet periods, this chapter provides additional historical information, at its outset, that is relevant and useful to the reader who may otherwise be unfamiliar with general developments in Soviet–Iranian relations prior to the late 1980s. While this cursory review of relations during the Soviet era is depicted in narrative format, beginning with the year 1987 I proceed to compartmentalize bilateral relations into discrete fiveyear periods, and narrow the study’s focus down to three substantive issue areas. It is upon these three issue areas that I base my index of General Political Association—the construction of which is the subject of Chapter 3. These three issue areas are: (1) the annual trade in conventional weapons; (2) annual bilateral cooperation in nuclear development; and (3) the annual status of agreement over the issue of Caspian Sea delimitation. In each succeeding five-year period between 1987 and 2013, I focus specifically upon the status of developments in each of these three areas. In order to further aid the reader’s ability to grasp the changing scale of cooperation that is evident within the discussion, successive five-year periods have been assigned individual GPA scores which reflect the average level of bilateral cooperation for the five-year period under investigation. While the construction of the GPA indicator is undertaken in the following chapter, I have taken the liberty of adding GPA scores to this early portion of the study in order to assist the reader in her/his evaluation, and also to demonstrate how GPA may also be used to complement a complex, qualitative analysis. While political cooperation may be gauged by any number of issues, the tradition of literature surveyed during this study suggests that these specific issue areas form a reliable core of political relations in the late Soviet and post-Soviet periods. By training this chapter’s focus upon three discrete areas of cooperation, this study provides the amorphous concept of bilateral relations with a defined structure which allows the reader to gauge the changing scale of cooperation in a simplified and efficient manner. Building upon the qualitative description of events recounted in Chapter 2, Chapter 3 consists of the formal development of a quantitative indicator of GPA.

4

Introduction

Taking the reader step by step through the formulation of each of the three subcomponents of GPA (trade in conventional weapons, cooperation in nuclear development, status of agreement on Caspian Sea delimitation), as well as the construction of the scaled, composite 21-point indicator itself, this chapter presents a model of Russian–Iranian cooperation that is intuitive, dynamic, and unprecedented, and accurately represents the qualitative historical discussion presented in Chapter 2. The chapter concludes with an empirical analysis of GPA’s relative utility for expressing political affinity between the two nations, and legitimizes the author’s claims that GPA is best modeled upon distinctly political—rather than economic—data. In chapters 4–7, I aggregate, classify, and develop the variety of arguments that scholars and analysts alike have made in regard to those independent factors which are suspected of having conditioned the quality of Russian–Iranian relations during the post-Soviet era, discussing each argument in detail before transforming it into a formal hypothesis to be tested in subsequent rounds of evaluation. The broad range of independent factors which are frequently linked to changes in relations, and the complexity of their underlying arguments, make it both efficient and critical to sort and classify the myriad arguments into two broad conceptual groupings—one which ascribes importance to macro-level national security calculations that are principally related to prominent geopolitical concerns (Chapter 4), and another which attests to the importance of micro-level changes in the domestic politics of each nation (chapters 5–7). Chapter 4 both presents and tests macro-analytic arguments found within existing policy-relevant literature which suggest Russian–Iranian relations are a function of changing security dynamics at the global, regional, and national levels. Through its analysis the reader is presented here with detailed re-creations of specific discussions that suggest bilateral affinity may be sensitive to specific geo-political undercurrents such as: NATO expansion and relative power; regional political stability; and the latent energy competition existing between the two capitals. Subsequently, this chapter operationalizes and tests the veracity of these arguments against the dependent variable of GPA, finding that the relationship is, in fact, highly associated with latent energy competition between Moscow and Tehran as well as Iranian perceptions of NATO’s power relative to its own. Subsequently, chapters 5–7 present and evaluate those arguments which suggest that changes in GPA during the post-Cold War period are likely a product of ongoing domestic political manifestations in each nation. Chapter 5 presents a leading argument within scholarship which suggests that changes in Russian–Iranian political relations throughout the post-Cold War era have been a product of transitions in Russian domestic politics between 1989 and 2013. In Part I of this chapter I recount the generic argument that high levels of Russian– Iranian cooperation, or affinity, during the 1990s may have been a product of increasing levels of party representation in Yeltsin’s new democracy. Following a substantial tradition of scholarship, this chapter argues that Yeltsin’s postCommunist reforms during the early to late 1990s—along with the nation’s new

Introduction 5 democratic commitments—effectively emboldened a class of political actors who favored ties with Iran for both economic and ideological reasons. Emboldened by these reforms, this tradition has suggested that members of the Communist and Liberal Democratic parties, as well as military industrial elites, were effectively able to utilize their ample political leverage to entice the Kremlin to pursue a pro-Iranian policy course—despite the Yeltsin administration’s significant predisposition for cultivating ties with the West. Thus this chapter suggests that high levels of bilateral cooperation evident during the 1990s may have been due to the outgrowth of the Kremlin’s concessionary strategies that were principally designed to placate domestic political opposition during the era of the new federation. Part II of Chapter 5 presents the converse of this argument, and suggests that the declining state of political cooperation—generally evident during the 2000s—can be accounted for by the diminishing state of political pluralism which accompanied the presidencies of Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev. Specifically, this chapter argues that the Kremlin’s efforts to consolidate control over all real domestic political opposition—through a series of electoral victories and subsequent constitutional reforms enacted in 2001 and 2004—reduced levels of party representation and subsequently the ability of pro-Iranian Kremlin opposition parties to effectively influence policy formation in their favor. In the environment of a markedly diminished political pluralism, I argue that the Kremlin became free of all domestic requirements to extend policy concessions to opposition forces—a process which placed substantively negative pressure on cooperation with Tehran. This chapter concludes with the formalization of three hypotheses which are operationalized and later tested in Chapter 7. Chapter 6, in turn, explores the possibility that varying levels of bilateral cooperation in the post-Soviet era may also be reflective of changing trends in Iran’s own domestic political field. Part I of this chapter presents the argument that high levels of Russian–Iranian cooperation during the 1990s were likely conditioned by the changing factional balance of power within the Islamic Republic wherein more pragmatic and realist policy-makers favoring regional engagement were suddenly privileged over more radical forces which had previously dominated Iranian foreign policy throughout the 1980s and which had used it to further advance revolutionary ideology. Specifically, this chapter argues that political pragmatists, with the assistance of moderate religious conservatives and (later) reformists, cooperated to obscure the political influence of revolutionary radicals and so reoriented Iranian policy around a development agenda that sought to bolster cooperative ties to Russia—among other regional nations—during the 1990s. Part II of Chapter 6 develops an argument for why the reemergence of radical policy-making in the Islamic Republic during the early 2000s may have been responsible for the downturn in cooperation between Tehran and Moscow. Specifically, this chapter suggests that policy reorientation in favor of religious conservatives and revolutionary hardliners effectively raised diplomatic costs to Moscow for ongoing bilateral cooperation, insofar as the Islamic Republic had

6

Introduction

largely returned to unilateralism in foreign affairs—particularly in the field of nuclear development. With the Kremlin simultaneously no longer feeling domestic pressure from its own political opponents to pursue a pro-Iranian policy orientation, this study suggests that Moscow became increasingly compelled to allow its cooperation with Tehran to diminish as a result of general cost-benefit calculations applied to the partnership. In more specific terms, this chapter presents existing arguments that the return to revolutionary/unilateralist policies in Iran had been precipitated by the electoral victories of the reformist faction during the late 1990s and early 2000s which, unlike earlier pragmatist victories, had directly challenged the continued existence of constitutionally mandated clerical authority in the Islamic Republic. In an effort to protect the authority of clerical institutions relative to republican policy-making organs, scholars have suggested that religious conservatives utilized their constitutional authority to ostracize reformist elites from both elections and existing positions of power, while also seeking factional support from revolutionary hardliners and closely aligned military organizations such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basij Militia. Thus Iran’s return to an increasingly unilateralist policy-making framework during the 2000s is here postulated to be a function of both factional infighting and also the leverage afforded to clerical institutions under the nation’s unique constitutional structure. This chapter concludes with the formalization of a single hypothesis to be used in later testing. In Chapter 7, I operationalize the set of hypotheses generated in the two preceding chapters, testing the veracity of micro-analytic arguments against the dependent variable of GPA. Testing clearly reveals support for the argument that changing micro-analytic conditions have influenced bilateral relations. In terms of the Russian Federation, analysis in this chapter reveals that GPA is positively associated with overall levels of political pluralism in Russian domestic institutions. Simultaneously, testing also confirms a negative association between the factional influence of counter-reformists in Iranian domestic politics and bilateral relations. Chapter 8 reviews—in abridged form—the many arguments discussed in chapters 4 through 6, as well as the results of both rounds of testing, thereby revealing that both macro and micro levels of analysis are, indeed, pertinent to explaining changes in bilateral relations. In light of the study’s findings, Chapter 8 closes with a discussion of the future of Russian–Iranian relations, concluding that relations will likely improve in the immediate and intermediate terms due largely to: (1) the influence of sanctions being levied against Iran which function to increase perceived power disparities between Iran and NATO and which also suppress levels of competition between Russia and Iran for access to downstream foreign energy markets; (2) recent legislative concessions in Russia which will serve to broaden political pluralism in upcoming electoral cycles, thereby restoring traditionally pro-Iranian domestic groups to power; and (3) changing factional dynamics in Iran that will likely lead to increasing policy moderation and pragmatism in foreign affairs. Despite the apparent reemergence

Introduction 7 of conditions that will favor a return to bilateral cooperation in the near term, Chapter 8 closes with a discussion of Iran’s strategic efforts to cultivate foreign energy markets—a contingency which, if fully realized, could reasonably be expected to place significant downward pressures on cooperation over the long term. It is the hope of the author that this new volume on Russian–Iranian relations will serve to bring increasing organization and clarity to a subject that is as complex as it is controversial. By establishing benchmarks for what constitutes political relations between Moscow and Tehran and by examining those factors and forces deemed pertinent to changes in cooperation, this study seeks not only to develop actionable information for policy-makers and watchers of the Russia– Iran relationship, but also to present a method of inquiry that may be of value to students of international relations and foreign affairs more generally.

2

Developments in Russian–Iranian relations in the Soviet and post-Soviet eras

Introduction In this chapter, I review the history of Russian–Iranian relations in the Soviet and the post-Soviet eras, analyzing the relationship in discrete periods for the years 1987–2013. While this chapter seeks to provide the unfamiliar reader with a rich summary of bilateral historical relations, it simultaneously functions as a platform for the development of the composite, dependent variable of General Political Association (GPA) covering the post-Soviet era. As discussed previously, the composite variable of GPA measures distinctly political relations between the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran according to three substantive issue areas on a year-by-year basis. The three areas of focus are: (1) defense relations—emphasizing the annual trade in conventional weapons; (2) interstate development assistance—here treated as annual Russian assistance to Iranian nuclear development; and (3) territorial agreement—specifically referring to the annual status quo of agreement in post-Soviet delimitation of the Caspian Sea. While political relations between nations have frequently been measured across a wide variety of state-oriented dimensions including similarities of domestic political institutions (Werner, 2000), security alliance portfolios (Bueno de Mesquita, 1975; Kim, 1991; Organski & Kugler, 1980; Tammen et al., 2000), and foreign policy positions (Signorino & Ritter, 1999; Gartzke, n.d.), there has also been a tendency within the tradition to make use of economic data as a means of describing changes in the quality of interstate relations across time. Without directly contradicting the proposition that economic trends can elucidate meaningful information about bilateral or multilateral political relationships, this study does determine to evaluate the quality of Russian–Iranian cooperation on the basis of overtly political variables as a means of preserving the overall clarity of such a notion as political association. In the particular case of Russian–Iranian relations, reliance upon purely economic data would tend to skew one’s perspective toward increasing bilateral cooperation across time, failing, in the process, to acknowledge the significant diplomatic challenges faced by both nations throughout the postSoviet era (see Figure 2.1). Creating a dependent variable which adequately hopes to measure bilateral political association therefore requires a variable (or series of

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 9 4000

Value of Russian exports to Iran Value of Iranian exports to Russia

US dollars (millions)

3500 3000 2500 2000 1500 1000

2011

2012

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

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2004

2002

2001

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1999

1998

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1996

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0

1992

500

Figure 2.1 Bilateral exports between the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1992–2012 (source: International Monetary Fund, Direction of Trade Statistics, database July 2013 edition. Data available at www.imf.org/external/index.htm).

variables) that is capable of being highly sensitive to ongoing political debates, challenges, and opportunities—a condition which economic indicators are simply less likely to fulfill. This study will also try to limit its reliance upon more traditional, yet often generic, indicators of political affinity that focus narrowly upon a single dimension of bilateral relations. As this chapter will demonstrate, although Russian– Iranian relations can be measured across a variety of planes, certain dimensions have been of critical importance to both nations and, in fact, are unique to their bilateral relationship. Although traditional indicators such as state security alliance portfolios or United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voting are perhaps appropriate to large-scale studies involving numerous countries, such indicators fail to recognize the fact that each set of interstate relationships tends to hinge upon its own unique set of variables. Following the work of numerous scholars and analysts, this study, again, suggests that Russian–Iranian interstate relations can best be understood by focusing attention upon three substantive issue areas: the sale of arms and military technology; cooperation in the development of the Iranian civilian nuclear program; and the status of agreement or non-agreement on Caspian Sea delimitation. Although this chapter will explore a variety of factors comprising political cooperation, special attention will be paid in each sub-section to these three issues which, in turn, shall form the basis of a composite dependent variable of General Political Association. Chapter 3 discusses the construction and formalization of that variable. While this study concentrates its focus upon the late Communist and post-Communist eras (1987–present), a broad and cursory review of relations during the Soviet period will first prove itself invaluable to readers who are otherwise unfamiliar with the constantly shifting patterns of cooperation and

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non-cooperation that have come to define the long-term association of the two capitals.

Review of relations during the Soviet era Although relations between the Russian and Persian empires had been strained by a series of treaties during the nineteenth century that had formally transferred control of Persian territories in the North Caucasus to St. Petersburg (the 1813 Treaty of Gulistan and the 1828 Treaty of Turkmanchai), at the outset of the twentieth century the status of relations was set to change (Parker, 2009, pp. 1–2). The end of Tsarist rule in Russia, and the rise of the Communists to power in 1917, precipitated new opportunities for inter-governmental collaboration as the Communist regime of the USSR sought to gain international political allies that could help to alleviate the potential threat of British military intervention from the south as well as to deter British support for the anti-Bolshevik White army (Mamedova, 2009, para. 4; Rubinstein, 1982, p. 52). As part of an effort designed to protect the USSR from harmful implications of the AngloPersian Treaty of 1919, the two parties signed the first Soviet–Iranian Treaty in 1921 (Mamedova, 2009, para. 5; Rubinstein, 1982, pp. 60–1). According to N. M. Mamedova (2009), the 1921 Treaty operated as a generous political concession to the Persian monarchy; under its terms, the USSR not only agreed to release the Persian monarchy from all previous debts owed to Tsarist Russia, but also divested itself of all Russian holdings in Iran, including its claim to islands in the Caspian Sea, while simultaneously preserving the Persian navy’s right to operate in the Caspian (para. 5). Despite these impressive concessions, the USSR managed to preserve its own claim to territories in the North Caucasus as affirmed by the 1828 Treaty of Turkmanchai and gained important security assurances from Tehran (Parker, 2009, p. 2). Under the 1921 Treaty, article 5 functioned to ensure that neither nation could become a staging ground for hostile third-party operations against the other; article 6 even went so far as to provide the USSR with a legal right to enter Iran if the Persian regime was unable to guarantee compliance with article 5 (Mamedova, 2009, para. 5; Parker, 2009, pp. 2–3; Milani, 2007, p. 329; Rubinstein, 1982, p. 61). Thus within four years of the October Revolution, relations between the two capitals had turned a dramatic corner as the USSR and Persia sought to overcome resentments associated with the former Tsarist era. But a joint security commitment, debt forgiveness, and territorial agreement were not the only hallmarks of this new-found cooperation. Between 1921 and 1933 the two capitals worked together to forge a new, multi-faceted and highly productive economic relationship. The interwar years can be described in largely cooperative terms. In Iran the regime of Reza Shah Pahlavi determined to make its new-found Soviet ally a critical partner in a broad new economic development agenda (Rubinstein, 1982, pp. 61–2). Under this program the two nations worked to create a variety of jointly managed enterprises designed to facilitate bilateral trade in essential goods. By Mamedova’s (2009) account, during this period the USSR became a

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 11 primary export market for Iranian goods while simultaneously working to aid Iran in the development and regeneration of numerous export-oriented industries (paras. 8–13). Citing a 1935 report by the People’s Commissariat of Foreign Trade, Mamedova indicates that the USSR had: accounted for 35 percent of Iranian foreign trade . . . buying 100 percent of all Iranian exports of fish and ambary, 97.5 percent of rice and cattle, 90 percent of cotton, 86 percent of wool, 68 percent of silkworm cocoons, [and] 47 percent of leather and hides. (Mamedova, 2009, para. 13) Perhaps the most important product of these early joint efforts was the creation of Iran’s first railway system, a network which extended 900 miles and provided a critical geo-strategic linkage between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf (Rubinstein, 1982, p. 62). And while Mamedova (2009) indicates that each nation’s move toward increasing levels of dictatorship had, in fact, been placing real limits on trade growth during this period—due to an overall downward pressure on the influx of private capital—it was not until the late 1930s that trade relations between nations would effectively founder (paras. 14, 16). By her account, the collapse in trade relations that occurred by the late 1930s was the result of an emerging diplomatic row between Moscow and Tehran following the USSR’s entrance into the League of Nations in 1934 (Mamedova, 2009, para. 15). Mamedova indicates that following the USSR’s admission into the League, officials in Tehran began to request that Moscow abandon its rights under article 6 of the 1921 Treaty—the article providing the USSR with a right of occupation—arguing that security was effectively guaranteed to Moscow under the League of Nations Charter. She writes: However, the USSR refused to do so and this had an adverse effect on any further development of relations between the two countries. . . . After the expiration of validity of the Treaty of 1935, economic relations between the USSR and Iran practically ceased, as the Iranian side refused to prolong the treaty. (Mamedova, 2009, para. 15) During the years of World War II, Soviet–Iranian relations faced increasing challenges as leaders in Moscow became wary of Tehran’s diplomatic overtures toward Germany—overtures made in spite of its otherwise stated position of neutrality (Rubinstein, 1982, p. 62). Having allowed German advisors into Iran, the USSR asserted that the Shah was unable to guarantee a commitment to Soviet security as outlined under articles 5 and 6 of the 1921 Treaty (Rubinstein, 1982, p. 62). On August 25, 1941 a combined Soviet and British force entered Iran with the British occupying the south and the Soviets occupying the northern provinces (Rubinstein, 1982, p. 62). Within six months Iran capitulated to the demands of the Soviets and British and formally entered into a tripartite alliance

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that effectively transformed Iran into a tactical and logistical partner to allied forces in the region (Rubinstein, 1982, p. 62). The treaty, signed in January 1942, not only secured Iran’s allegiance to allied forces but also contained set guidelines for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iran within six months of the conclusion of the conflict; while the British honored their agreement by March 1946, the Soviet decision to delay its withdrawal reportedly created further animosity between the two capitals and left the Soviets firmly entrenched in Iran for an additional two months until the withdrawal of its forces in May 1946 (Rubinstein, 1982, pp. 63–4). Although the Soviet withdrawal could be credited to the influence of the United Nations Security Council—which had begun to intervene at Iran’s request in January 1946—Rubinstein (1982) has suggested that the order to withdraw was given only after the USSR had achieved significant political concessions, one of which included direct representation of the Soviet-backed Tudeh party in Prime Minister Qavam asSaltaneh’s cabinet (pp. 63–4). Described as “the most powerful and best organized political party in Iran’s modern history” (Milani, 2007, p. 329), Tudeh’s direct ties to the USSR would be a constant source of concern for successive Iranian regimes throughout the Cold War era. A locally rooted Communist party, Tudeh not only represented the interests of the USSR in the Iranian parliament and cabinet during the late 1940s, but also became a vital platform for the USSR’s increasing support to ethnic separatist movements then being organized in the northern provinces (including Iranian Azerbaijan) (Rubinstein, 1982, pp. 63–4). Iran’s suppression of these autonomous movements under the Shah in the early 1950s would become an increasing source of tension for the two governments as the Shah’s harsh public policy quickly swelled the number of immigrants to the USSR (Mamedova, 2009, para. 21). Perhaps most controversial of all, however, was Tudeh’s close relationship to Prime Minister Mossadeq. This relationship would alert western nations to the growing power of Soviet influence in Iran, and would become the motive force behind the United States’ decision to support the Shah in the ousting of Prime Minister Mossadeq in 1953 (Rubinstein, 1982, pp. 65–6). Immediately following the coup, the Shah worked quickly to eliminate Soviet influence in Iran by banning Tudeh’s participation in government and strategically reorienting his nation toward the United States (Mamedova, 2009, para. 22; Milani, 2007, p. 329; Rubinstein, 1982, p. 66). Iran’s subsequent decision to join the western-focused Baghdad Pact/Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) in 1955, as well as its formal rejection of articles 5 and 6 of the 1921 Soviet– Iranian Treaty—and the signing of a defense treaty with the United States just two days later in March 1959—effectively came to represent a complete breakdown in the country’s political cooperation with the USSR (Rubinstein, 1982, p. 68). And yet, as has often happened in relations between Moscow and Tehran, an era of renewed cooperation was predictably close at hand. Between 1962 and 1963, Iran attempted to revitalize its diplomatic and economic relations with Moscow; Iran’s efforts in these early years would lead to a renewed era of cooperation that would last for more than a decade, collapsing

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 13 only after the infamous 1979 Iranian revolution (Rubinstein, 1982, p. 73). During 1962, the Shah would make formal guarantees to Moscow that Iran would agree not to house missile bases of any foreign nations on its soil, thereby demonstrating its new commitment to neutrality in the otherwise quickly polarizing worldsystem of the Cold War era (Rubinstein, 1982, pp. 68–9). This initial move would reignite relations and set off an important series of high-profile diplomatic exchanges between 1962 and 1965 (Mamedova, 2009, paras. 23–4; Milani, 2007, p. 329; Parker, 2009, pp. 3–4). The Shah’s increasing interest in developing cooperative relations with Moscow throughout the 1960s and 1970s is generally felt to indicate his need for increasing diplomatic and economic support at a time when the Pahlavi regime’s survival had been put at increasing risk by a wave of unpopular economic and land reforms that had officially begun in 1963—a program known generically as the White Revolution (Rubinstein, 1982, pp. 68–9, 73–4, 83). By increasing ties with the USSR, the Shah believed he could compensate for Washington’s demonstrated failure to become a substantive partner in Iranian development and security while also staving off the likelihood of a Sovietbacked counter-insurgency aimed at suppressing his program of land reform (Rubinstein, 1982, pp. 68–9, 73–4, 83). Rubinstein (1982, p. 69) further indicates that Iran’s rapprochement with the USSR had been made feasible at this time due to a series of significant changes in U.S. policy within the region. Specifically, he notes the fact that the United States was then making large-scale strategic upgrades to its nuclear arsenal in the region that would effectively enable it to increase its deterrent capacity—thereby limiting the likelihood of a nuclear confrontation (Rubinstein, 1982, p. 69). At the same time, Washington was reportedly attempting to improve diplomatic ties with the USSR, and its efforts to do so seem to have paid further dividends in terms of Tehran’s own aspirations to reengage Moscow (Rubinstein, 1982, p. 69). As a result of the restoration of amicable bilateral relations, between 1962 and 1974 Iran and the USSR engaged in a series of high-level diplomatic exchanges that produced many impressive collaborative results including: as much as $1 billion in low-interest Soviet loans; a swap of Soviet military equipment for Iranian natural gas supplies; the introduction of new air route agreements; long-term oil and gas contracts; the joint construction of the trans-Iranian gas pipeline and negotiations for a second gas pipeline valued at $3 billion; the creation of more than 100 long-term industrial development projects in such fields as metallurgy, oil and gas, petrochemicals, and power development (including the development of uranium), projects in agriculture, and the construction of related transportation infrastructure (Mamedova, 2009, paras. 23–31; Milani, 2007, p. 329; Parker, 2009, pp. 3–4; Rubinstein, 1982, pp. 73, 76–7, 83–4). And while cooperation between the capitals would generally continue through 1978, as was characteristic of relations throughout the twentieth century, significant challenges to any prolonged cooperation were already evident by the mid-1970s. One notable exception to this long-term expansion of cooperation had been a dispute beginning in January 1974 over natural gas pricing in which Iran sought

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to increase the cost of gas exports to the USSR in accordance with the terms of a prior 1966 agreement which had indexed the price of natural gas exports to the value of crude oil on world markets (Rubinstein, 1982, pp. 77–82). As oil prices rose in the wake of the Arab–Israeli War of 1973, tensions between Tehran and Moscow also increased as the Kremlin initially refused to accommodate Tehran’s requests for natural gas price hikes (Rubinstein, 1982, pp. 77–82). Following the interruption of gas deliveries in July of that year, the two nations quickly reached an accommodation that ended the crisis (Rubinstein, 1982, pp. 77–82). Although overall cooperation between them was not truly hindered by these developments, such incidents do provide a formal pretext for assessing the two nations in the post-Soviet era as energy competitors. While present restrictions on Iran’s development of natural gas supply capability limit the experience of direct competition today, this early event clearly demonstrates the potential for competition that is inherent in bilateral relations—a subject which will be more fully addressed in Chapter 4 and Chapter 8. Other threats to sustained cooperation were also evident during this period but, much like the natural gas dispute, failed to disrupt the status quo of bilateral cooperation—a sure sign of the capacity for resilience between the capitals in what had been an otherwise historically troubled partnership. Rubinstein (1982) indicates that bilateral relations during this period were being further challenged by emerging geo-political rivalries between Iran and Iraq, which had been brewing as a product of the anticipated withdrawal of British forces from the Persian Gulf during 1971 (pp. 83–9)—a landmark announcement by Britain that had been made three years earlier by Prime Minister Harold Wilson during January 1968 (Sato, 2009, p. 100). Specifically, Rubinstein (1982) highlights the impact of Iran’s growing military support for the Kurdish autonomy movement in Iraq, indicating that such regionally destabilizing developments had worked to encourage the USSR to balance Iran’s tactics more aggressively, by deepening support for the Baathist regime of President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr in Iraq (Rubinstein, 1982, pp. 83–9). And though Rubinstein (1982) indicates that all of these factors definitely functioned to strain relations during the mid-1970s, he goes on to note that “none of the issues was acute enough to upset their détente” (p. 89). Despite the otherwise substantive diplomatic and economic successes of these two decades, only the dramatic events of 1979 and the subsequent shift in Iranian domestic politics would lead to a serious rift in Iranian–Soviet relations (Milani, 2007, p. 330). Following the Shah’s ouster and the subsequent return to Iran of Ayatollah Khomeini in February 1979, the newly installed Ayatollah immediately declared a policy of non-alignment with either side of the Cold War axis and began implementing a series of decisions that would decisively fracture relations with the USSR. No longer would Iran pursue a pragmatic policy of cooperation with Moscow focused upon economic development and security gains; the new Islamic regime pursued an ideologically driven foreign policy that effectively insulated Iran from the ongoing geo-political rivalries between the USSR and the United States that had polarized the region. Dramatic steps to

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 15 achieving Tehran’s non-alignment goals were implemented on May 11, 1979 when Iran formally annulled provisions of its 1921 Treaty with the Soviet Union—a decision which suggested Iran would, perhaps, in the future be amenable to functioning as a forward base of operations for outside powers hostile to the Soviet Union (Parker, 2009, p. 8). And while Khomeini’s regime may have sought to distance itself from taking sides in the Cold War rivalry by pursuing a policy of genuine independence, ultimately it could not insulate itself from the impact of ongoing geo-political rivalries between the USSR and the United States. By all accounts the USSR’s December 27, 1979 invasion and subsequent occupation of Afghanistan dealt a dramatic blow to relations between Moscow and Tehran. The USSR’s decision to invade Afghanistan had apparently been premised upon the suspicion that following the removal of the Shah—a key ally to Washington—the United States would seek to entrench itself in neighboring Afghanistan as a means of maintaining regional influence and intelligencegathering capacity (Milani, 2007, p. 330). The forcefulness of Soviet policy no doubt disturbed the newly formed regime in Iran as it demonstrated a new side to Soviet decision-making within the region, one that now included direct military intervention. Over time, the ongoing conflict between the Soviets and both U.S.-backed and Iranian-backed counter-revolutionaries would send more than 2 million refugees into neighboring Iran, causing the Ayatollah’s regime to bear the extensive socio-economic and political burden of instability (Milani, 2007, p. 330; see also United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [n.d.]). The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in December was quickly followed by multiple invasions of the Soviet embassy in Tehran and reportedly led Iran, just three months later in February 1980, once again to discontinue its export of natural gas to Soviet republics in Central Asia while also directly curtailing its economic cooperation with the USSR (Mamedova, 2009, para. 33; Parker, 2009, pp. 6, 12). The eruption of the Iran–Iraq War in 1980 only further complicated ties between Moscow and Tehran, insofar as the Ayatollah’s stated policy of independence from Cold War alliances had deprived Iran of much-needed military support in the face of a more heavily western- and Soviet-backed Iraq. Although Moscow’s direct provision of weaponry to Iran had largely ceased in 1978 (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute [SIPRI] website), Parker (2009) indicates that Moscow continued to provide Tehran with supplies through indirect channels, noting also that such “indirect flow[s]” were further culled in 1982, when Khomeini rejected Saddam Hussein’s calls to end ongoing hostilities while also calling for the removal of the Baathist regime (p. 13). According to Parker’s (2009) account, the USSR had been concerned predominantly with maintaining the status quo of power relations in the Middle East and saw the ongoing conflict as likely to alter the existing balance of power by encouraging direct intervention by the United States (p. 13). The withering of Soviet military support preceded what Parker (2009) has referred to as the “low point” in bilateral relations that occurred in 1983, when the Khomeini regime

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arrested and executed 45 members of the Moscow-backed Communist Tudeh party in Iran and required the USSR to recall a substantial number of its diplomats from its embassy in Tehran (pp. 16–17; see also Mamedova, 2009, para. 33). Despite these remarkable setbacks, there are indications that a restricted flow of weapons from the USSR to Iran still continued throughout the war. Citing a November 30, 1986 Sunday Times report, Reuters claimed that the USSR had continued to send indirect flows of weapons to Iran as part of a strategic imperative of building rapport with Iranian leaders that could be capitalized upon following the anticipated death of Ayatollah Khomeini: “[T]he USSR secretly contributed weapons to the Iranian war effort via North Korea, Czechoslovakia, Libya, and Syria” (Reuters, 1986). Thus, by the mid-1980s, political relations between the two nations had been strongly undermined by ideological divisions and the polarizing effect of regional hostilities. But once again the substantial decline in bilateral cooperation could not be expected to last. According to Eva Patricia Rakel (2007), by the late 1980s years of international isolation, war fatigue, and economic malaise would encourage the Iranian leadership to seek out cooperative engagement with regional powers as a means of restarting stalled national development (p. 170).

Relations in the late Soviet and post-Soviet era (1987–2013): developing a dependent variable of political affinity New beginnings in the post-Communist era: 1987–91 (Average GPA score for period: 13.4, high level of moderate cooperation) By 1987 the USSR and Iran had begun to take the very first steps toward a general state of rapprochement, thereby ending nearly eight years of estrangement that had followed in the wake of the 1979 Iranian revolution and Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Just one year prior, in August 1986, declining global oil prices had pushed Tehran to reopen its sales of gas to the Soviets (valued then at $2 billion/year) as part of an effort to boost its economy (Hiro, 1986, December 21), and by December of that same year the Iranian–Soviet Standing Commission for Economic Cooperation (ISSCEC) met in Tehran for the first time since the disruption of its activities in 1980 (Hiro, 1986; Parker, 2009, p. 21). According to Dilip Hiro (1986), writing for the Los Angeles Times, “The list of industries included in the [ISSCEC] agreement was significant: transport, steel mills, machine tools, power plants, fishing, banking, construction, and technology.” With the Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akhbar Velayati visiting Moscow in February 1987, and the Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Yuli Vorontsov visiting Tehran in August that same year, the two nations concluded new agreements on the construction of power plants and refineries in Iran as well as on the further development of related oil pipelines and railways (Parker, 2009, p. 21). All of this would serve as a pretext for the Ayatollah’s January 1, 1989

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 17 letter to Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev which called for a return to cooperative engagement (Imam Khomeini Official Website; Mamedova, 2009, para. 34; Parker, 2009, p. 29). Where Rakel (2007) has noted that Iran sought to reevaluate its relations with regional partners in accordance with the rise of pragmatists in the Iranian policy bureaucracy (p. 170)—a domestic faction which envisioned enhanced foreign relations as a means to economic reconstruction and continuing political legitimacy—Parker and Mamedova have indicated that the ceasefire signed between Iran and Iraq in August 1988, and the likelihood of a forthcoming Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, provided the necessary pretext for rapprochement (Mamedova, 2009, para. 34; Parker, 2009, p. 29). Parker determines that the normalization of relations between the USSR and Iran, specifically, hinged upon the Ayatollah Khomeini’s letter to Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, in January 1989, in which Iran’s Supreme Leader directly called for a return to cooperative engagement (Parker, 2009, pp. 23, 29). Following Khomeini’s letter of proposed cooperation, and the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan the following month, the two nations exchanged visits of foreign ministers between February and March, thereby laying the groundwork for a proposed Iranian delegation to visit Moscow in June that year (Mamedova, 2009, para. 34; Parker, 2009, p. 29). The June round of talks between high-ranking officials (including both General Secretary Gorbachev and Majlis Speaker Hashemi Rafsanjani) came to define a turning point in Soviet–Iranian relations insofar as it committed the two nations to cooperation across a wide range of issue areas through the year 2000 including: joint economic development projects; cooperation in matters of regional security; cooperation in the development of civilian nuclear energy programs; and a general agreement on the sale of arms (Mamedova, 2009, para. 34; Parker, 2009, pp. 31–2, 36). Whether or not the death of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini just three weeks prior to the delegation’s visit contributed to the highly successful outcome is uncertain, but appears likely given that his passing has been associated with an opening of policy space in Iran. According to Rakel (2009), the death of Khomeini enabled pragmatist and conservative party factions to actualize their growing preference for a foreign policy based on engagement rather than on isolation and unilateralism (pp. 105, 116–18). One of the leading proponents of a more liberal foreign policy was none other than the delegation’s leader and known pragmatist, then Speaker of the Majlis, Hashemi Rafsanjani (Parker, 2009, p. 31). Within just two months of the Moscow talks Rafsanjani would be elected to a redesigned presidency that entrusted the executive with increasing control over foreign policy decision-making (Rakel, 2007, p. 170). In the course of his presidency, Russian–Iranian relations would reach unprecedented levels of commercial, technical, and diplomatic cooperation through the fulfillment of arms contracts and a program of nuclear development which had been agreed upon during the June, 1989 talks. Between 1989 and 1991, the Russian Republic signed and began delivery on numerous contracts for a vast array of high-profile defense-related goods which

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signaled, definitively, the beginning of Soviet–Iranian rapprochement. While such weapons transfers clearly included weapons systems that could be employed in an offensive capacity (a fact that would become highly disturbing to Washington in the coming years), Moscow defended its emerging weapons relationship as one that was inherently defensive or non-aggressive in nature (Kempster, 1989; Parker, 2009, p. 32). These contracts initially included the purchase and delivery of 24 Mig-29 and 12 Su24MK strike aircraft, an assortment of short-range anti-aircraft missiles (SRAAM) for fighter aircraft, surface to air missiles (SAM), air to surface missiles (ASM), bomber aircraft, and air search radar for use with missile systems (Parker, 2009, p. 34; SIPRI website). Perhaps the most controversial contracts, however, were those authorizing orders for the sale of three Kilo-class submarines which would be delivered to Iran between 1992 and 1993 (Parker, 2009, p. 34; SIPRI website). Around 1991, the USSR also agreed to the sale of parts for tanks, infantry fighting vehicles (IFV), and anti-tank missiles which were licensed to be produced within Iran—these longterm supply and production agreements apparently remained open throughout the remainder of the decade, with some contracts continuing up through the time of writing (SIPRI website). Notably, however, deliveries of these later goods did not begin until 1993, an outcome perhaps due to a decline in general cooperation which occurred during 1992 as Moscow and Tehran fell into a dispute surrounding the Tajik civil war—a series of events which is further discussed in the following section. But weapons-based cooperation was not the only hallmark of the late Soviet period. Between 1987 and 1991 the Russian Republic and the Islamic Republic remained in continuous agreement over the issue of Caspian Sea delimitation, still subscribing to the 200 mile Astara–Gasanguly (Hasan–Qoli) median line of demarcation which had been informally agreed to in 1935, and which was based upon existing Soviet–Iranian land borders (Mamedova, 2009, para. 19; Parker, 2009, p. 151). Although Parker notes that the collapse of the USSR in 1991 had opened up this informal regime to potential renegotiation, at least through 1992 both nations still continued to endorse the median line divider as well as the existing condominium approach which provided the two nations with equal rights in respect to both navigation and resource utilization (Parker, 2009, pp. 150–1). As is demonstrated in the following section, the issue of Caspian Sea delimitation would become increasingly controversial throughout the decade, as newly independent Caspian littoral states began to stake claims to maritime resources in proximity to their coastline prior to any successful renegotiation of the Caspian Sea legal regime. In terms of bilateral cooperation in the field of nuclear development prior to the 1989 agreements, the USSR had neither formally nor informally engaged Iran on the topic—a sure sign of marginal political amity during a time when Iran had been actively seeking to develop a deterrent nuclear capacity (Parker, 2009, p. 110). While the June 1989 round of talks did not produce specific contractual agreements between the parties to cooperate in the field of nuclear power, they did in fact establish a formal expectation that they would work

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 19 together in the future on this key issue (Parker, 2009, p. 31). According to Parker (2009), Viktor Mikhaylov (a former Russian Minister of Atomic Energy) later reported that the June 1989 agreements had been the foundation for Russia’s subsequent cooperation in the completion of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant (p. 111). Thus the period of 1987 to 1991 can generally be treated as one of initial rapprochement, wherein the parties committed themselves to a profound reconceptualization of their relationship, pursuing cooperation rather than competition. Navigating the complexities of post-Soviet affairs—challenges and opportunities: 1992–96 (Average GPA score for period: 16.025, low level of high cooperation) The five-year period between 1992 and 1996 represents one of the most dynamic periods in Russian–Iranian relations during the post-Soviet era. While the period overall is defined by a level of high cooperation (see Appendix Table A.11)— due to the ongoing trade in defense-related goods as well as the initial commitment of the Russian government to begin completion of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant—collaboration was still being challenged by the breakup of the Soviet Union, a contingency which had fractured the existing status quo of relations within Central Asia and the Caspian region. The opportunity for expanded relations with the United States, the outbreak of civil war in the former Soviet republic of Tajikistan, and the reevaluation of the long-standing Caspian Sea regime by newly independent littoral states placed substantial pressure upon Russian–Iranian relations during this period, thereby threatening the fragile rapprochement that had been brokered in 1989. Although the Russian Republic emerged from the collapse of the USSR in full possession of the Soviet Union’s former agreements with Iran, the direction of national policy appeared uncertain in the early years of independence as Moscow sought to maintain the status quo of relations with Iran while also exploring new relations with Washington. The absence of normal diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Iran proved to be a significant hurdle to the newly independent Russian Republic, which was then seeking to broaden its engagement with Iran under the historic 1989 agreements. Continuing to fulfill its controversial weapons contracts with Iran, while also formalizing its commitment to bilateral cooperation in the field of nuclear technology, Russia’s policy of engagement during this period became increasingly worrisome to officials in Washington, who feared the consequences of growing proliferation in weapons and dual-use technology that might ultimately enable Iran to militarize its civilian nuclear program, thereby destabilizing the status quo of power within the Gulf region. While Washington’s concerns ultimately did not restrict Russian– Iranian relations from improving to their highest levels during the late 1990s (see Appendix Table A.11), Russia’s desire simultaneously to cultivate ties with the U.S. during this period indicated that Russian–Iranian relations were necessarily

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subject to significant pressures emanating from a powerful and interested third party. It is, in fact, interesting to speculate on what bilateral relations between Moscow and Tehran would have looked like without these same pressures—one can only imagine that the heightened levels of cooperation during this and subsequent periods would have risen even further. In an effort to appease Washington during this era, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev visited Washington in March 1993 and proposed the establishment of a new non-proliferation forum—the Gore–Chernomyrdin Commission (Parker, 2009, p. 113). While this commission would become increasingly important to Russian–U.S. relations throughout the 1990s, the relationship would constantly be tested by the fact that Russian–Iranian cooperation in the sale and transfer of weapons and nuclear-based technology continued to deepen as the decade progressed. Furthermore, between 1992 and 1996 Moscow would negotiate new defense contracts with Iran for the provision of a Kilo-class (a.k.a. Tareq) submarine, diesel tank engines, and anti-tank missiles, as well as former Russian SAMs and SAM systems, while also continuing to make good on its deliveries of defense contracts signed in 1991 (SIPRI website). In terms of bilateral nuclear cooperation, this period witnessed the development of agreements associated with Russia’s anticipated participation in the construction of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant—a facility that had been left uncompleted by the German firm Siemens in the wake of the 1979 revolution and the Iran–Iraq War (Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 50; Wehling, 1999, p. 136). Early agreements were signed in August 1992 and, according to Vladimir A. Orlov and Alexander Vinnikov (2005), represented a significant future commitment on the part of Russia to nuclear development in Iran (p. 50; see also Parker, 2009, p. 113). Describing these agreements, Orlov and Vinnikov (2005) write: [N]uclear cooperation would consist of construction of nuclear power plants for Iran, cycling nuclear fuel, supplying research reactors, reprocessing spent fuel, producing isotopes for use in scientific research and medical research and training of Iranian nuclear scientists at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute. (p. 50) By January 1995 these agreements had led to a formal contract signed between the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy (MinAtom) and the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) for construction of the Bushehr 1 nuclear power plant at a cost to Iran of US$800 million (Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 51; Parker, 2009, p. 114), with a formal construction agreement signed between the IAEO and the Russian firm Zarubezhatomenergostroi (Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, pp. 50–1). Responding to international concerns that Russian collaboration in the field of nuclear science could potentially enable Iran to produce nuclear weapons, analysts have indicated that Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Services (SVR) issued successive reports in 1993 and 1995, arguing that bilateral cooperation was

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 21 unlikely to enable Iran to produce a weapon (Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 52; Parker, 2009, p. 115). And yet, while these reports vehemently defended Russia’s cooperation as oriented solely toward the development of civilian nuclear technology, analysts have also indicated that one of Yeltsin’s presidential advisory bodies, the Security Council, discovered a series of secretive side deals between MinAtom Director Viktor Mikhaylov and the IAEO for the provision of 2000 tons of uranium, uranium mining assistance, a gas centrifuge capable of enriching uranium, and the training of Iranian scientists in Russia (Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 52; Parker, 2009, pp. 116–17; Wehling, 1999, p. 136). Orlov and Vinnikov (2005) indicate that the Security Council report was made available to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which, in turn, cancelled the protocol of intent with the IAEO by May 1995 (p. 52). Despite the fact that the Russian Foreign Ministry had formally sought to suspend illicit nuclear cooperation with Iran, international leaders pressured the Yeltsin regime to pursue a more aggressive policy of non-proliferation. Between May and August 1995, the Russian Federation not only agreed (through the Gore–Chernomyrdin Commission) to end all bilateral arms cooperation with Iran following the completion of its existing contracts in 1999, but also became a signatory to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement—an inter-governmental forum which sought to curb the proliferation of dual-use technologies (Parker, 2009, p. 117; see MTCR and Wassenaar Arrangement websites in References section for further information). Thus, while bilateral cooperation would continue in the short term, it simultaneously appeared that long-term cooperation with Iran was being sacrificed by the Kremlin as part of a strategy aimed at cultivating favor with the West. But emerging relations with Washington were not the only challenge to Russian–Iranian cooperation between 1992 and 1996: the breakup of the Soviet Union had led to a dramatic alteration in the region’s political landscape. The emergence of newly independent states in the Caspian Sea basin was also beginning to place negative pressures on Moscow and Tehran’s fragile relationship. While the USSR and Iran had enjoyed long-standing agreement over the issue of Caspian delimitation and resource use, following the emergence of newly independent post-Soviet Caspian littorals (Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan), it was evident that this long-dormant subject would soon be open to renegotiation (MacDougall, 1997, p. 89; Parker, 2009, p. 151). While Russia and Iran continued publicly to endorse a common approach to Caspian Sea delimitation between 1992 and 1996 (see Ghafouri, 2008), elites within the Russian Federation were becoming increasingly divided over whether Moscow should continue to pursue a delimitation regime that was strategically favorable and promoted ongoing cooperation with Iran or instead opt for one that maximized Russian economic opportunities at the cost of bilateral affinity (Parker, 2009, pp. 152–3). Joint exploration and production opportunities (E&P) in Azerbaijan had attracted Russian energy opportunists as early as 1993, thereby angering the

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Iranian leadership which argued that it would be inappropriate for states to engage in unilateral E&P agreements prior to the successful renegotiation of the existing regime (Parker, 2009, pp. 152–3). By the close of this period, Russian– Iranian relations would become increasingly strained not only over the formalization of E&P contracts between Russia and western corporations in Azerbaijan’s so-called national sector, but also over subsequent Iranian reprisals which consisted of talks pertaining to rival pipeline cooperation with both Turkey and Turkmenistan. Between December 1994 and August 1995, Tehran’s overtures presented a serious challenge to Moscow’s growing regional energy hegemony insofar as they threatened to diminish Central Asian producer nations’ reliance upon Russia for export of their hydrocarbon products (Kemp, 2000, p. 153; Olcott, 2004, pp. 11–13; Parker, 2009, p. 154). And yet, while divisions between policy elites in Russia clearly contributed to growing bilateral tensions in this area, it remains simultaneously the case that these same divisions likely functioned to stabilize cooperative relations by mitigating more negative outcomes. Despite the fact that Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin (then Deputy Premier in charge of the fuel and energy sector and Gazprom chair) had officially supported Russia’s participation in controversial Azerbaijani E&P agreements—thereby suggesting a de facto policy reversal over issues of Caspian delimitation—Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Services (SVR) under the direction of Yevgeny Primakov as well as the Foreign Ministry publicly argued in favor of renegotiating the legal regime prior to commencement of E&P by any one nation (MacDougall, 1997, pp. 97–9; Parker, 2009, pp. 149, 152–3). Thus, while Russia’s de facto policy reversal over Caspian delimitation associated with the position of Yeltsin and Chernomyrdin was operating to strain relations with Iran, cabinet-level opponents of this policy inside of Russia likely functioned at least to slow the growing rift between Russia and Iran over Caspian delimitation between 1992 and 1996. As Mahmoud Ghafouri’s (2008) research demonstrates, throughout this period Russia and Iran continued to rhetorically endorse the same delimitation regime, both arguing in favor of a condominium approach to resource utilization; notably, in 1996 both nations (and also Turkmenistan) agreed to a change in the existing regime which supported the extension of an excepted 10-mile offshore zone to a 45-mile offshore zone (Ghafouri, 2008, pp. 87–8). It seems more than likely that this joint modification of the existing delimitation regime functioned largely to quell growing tensions between the two nations. For the newly independent nations, this arrangement would have the beneficial effect of magnifying each nation’s own territorial holdings, thereby assuring them of greater freedom of maneuver in E&P opportunities within those areas proximate to their respective coastlines. Insofar as Russian firms would likely be included in these same emerging production opportunities, this arrangement would also have provided Russian firms and the Kremlin with a clear win as well. At the same time, the preservation of the condominium principle throughout the remaining portion of the Caspian would have the similarly beneficial effect of providing assurances

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 23 to Iran that it could still obtain access to resource-rich areas of the Caspian, instead of restricting it to operations in southern Caspian waters as would have been the case under a regime favoring a strict division of the sea into five equal portions. Russia’s willingness still to cooperate with Iran in these matters (despite Yeltsin and Chernomyrdin’s preferred positions) may have been urged by the SVR and Foreign Ministry as part of a larger tactical effort designed to encourage cooperation with the Islamic Republic at a time when Russia required increasingly affine relations with Tehran in order to preserve regional and national security (Parker, 2009, pp. 80, 86). One of the leading challenges to Russian–Iranian relations, and to regional security in general, at this time was the outbreak of civil war in the newly independent Republic of Tajikistan (Parker, 2009, p. 57; Power, 1993). Growing tensions between the ruling Tajik government of Communist leader Rahmon Nabiyev and the domestic Islamic Revival Party during 1992 had attracted both diplomatic and tactical support from the Iranian government, thereby stirring fears in Moscow over the role that Iran might choose to play in Russia’s predominantly Muslim regions as well as in the greater post-Soviet sphere (Freedman, 1997, p. 105; Parker, 2009, pp. 57, 71, 73, 74). Having experienced a large-scale revival of domestic Islamic political movements in the wake of the USSR’s collapse, along with recent memories of fighting Islamist forces in Afghanistan during the 1980s, Moscow was by the early 1990s already highly sensitive to the potentially disruptive role Iran could play in the region (Power, 1993; Trenin, Malashenko, & Lieven, 2004, p. 12). Parker (2009) has indicated that following Nabiyev’s ouster by Islamic opposition forces in September 1992, Russia—principally through the Foreign Ministry and SVR (p. 86, 97)—had become deeply involved in the brokering of peace and had engaged Iran directly on the topic by tying the future of bilateral relations to the Islamic Republic’s behavior in Tajikistan (pp. 80, 86). With work on a new draft political treaty between the Russian Republic and Iran under way by October 1992, and an agreement signed that August on the construction of a nuclear power plant in Iran, Russian leaders successfully worked to change the course of Iranian behavior in Tajikistan (Parker, 2009, pp. 86, 113). By Parker’s (2009) account, Iranian support for opposition forces was effectively over by 1993 and was replaced by a new joint effort by both Russian and Iranian leaders to broker negotiations between Tajik parties beginning in April 1994 (pp. 81, 86). Although episodic conflict among Tajik opponents continued throughout the negotiations, Russian–Iranian diplomatic coordination on this matter has been widely recognized as contributing to the eventual peace agreement signed between Tajik disputants in Moscow during June 1997 and represents a significant accomplishment in terms of bilateral cooperation (Parker, 2009, p. 176; Rakel, 2007, p. 171).

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The heights of a cooperation under pressure: 1997–2001 (Average GPA score for period: 13.475, high level of moderate cooperation) Between 1997 and 2001, Russian–Iranian relations would face many of the same challenges that had evolved in the preceding era. Although hostilities in Tajikistan were resolved by June 1997 due to the well-coordinated diplomatic efforts of the two nations (Freedman, 1997, p. 106; Parker, 2009, p. 176), continuing pressure from Washington and the international community over arms cooperation and collaboration in developing Iranian nuclear technology, as well as disagreements over Caspian Sea delimitation, played a dampening role in bilateral affairs. Yet, in spite of these pressures, between 1997 and 2001, relations between the two capitals reached unprecedented levels, as Russia sought to broaden its contributions in both nuclear development and transfers of conventional weaponry. In the wake of a successful bipartisan effort aimed at resolving Tajik hostilities, Parker has called the year 1997 the “high point” of bilateral relations (Parker, 2009, p. x). While affairs between Moscow and Tehran had often been turbulent, successful political collaboration in this era demonstrated—in no uncertain terms—just how mutually beneficial and advantageous relations between these two nations can be. In April 1997 Majlis Speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nuri visited Moscow; during this visit officials reportedly signed an important bilateral agreement on establishing export controls over restricted nuclear technology which had been pending since December 1996 (Parker, 2009, pp. 118–19). While the agreement, in principle, sought to emphasize both nations’ commitment to non-proliferation, Kenneth Katzman (1998) of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) has noted that leaders in Washington remained highly concerned about the stability of Russian non-proliferation commitments during this period, and subsequently briefed Russian officials (in the context of the Gore–Chernomyrdin Commission) in September 1997 of ongoing violations to the nation’s nuclear nonproliferation commitments stemming from various Russian enterprises (p. 2). Katzman’s (1998) report for CRS indicates that by 1998, U.S. officials had taken decisive action to incentivize the Kremlin to increase nuclear safeguards by adopting the Fiscal Year 1998 Foreign Aid Appropriations Law, which sought to “[cut] 50% of U.S. aid to the Russian government unless it [ended] nuclear or ballistic missile cooperation with Iran” (p. 3). Similarly, from April 1998, Washington began placing sanctions on Russian corporations suspected of participating in illegal transfers of dual-use technology (Parker, 2009, p. 122). As a response to such measures, the Russian government began to take overt and dramatic steps to convince Washington, and the international community, that it was complying with the non-proliferation regime. On January 28, 1998 Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin signed Directive Number 57 which, Parker (2009) notes, was designed to “close loopholes in Russian anti-proliferation legislation” (p. 122). Just two months later, in March 1998, the Yeltsin administration would take further public steps to restrict the flow of dual-use technologies by appointing

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 25 Andrei Kokoshin as the Secretary of the President’s Security Council (a presidential advisory group) (Parker, 2009, p. 120). According to Parker (2009), Kokoshin would come to play an “active role in elaborating and implementing new export controls designed to impede the unsanctioned flow of weapons and technology to Iran” (p. 120). By May 1998, the administration would take even more pragmatic steps to curb proliferation by issuing a directive which placed export control units in all Russian firms working in the nuclear and missilerelated industries (Katzman, 1998, p. 2), while also working to subvert underground procurement activities by Iranian agents inside Russia that were focused on obtaining missile-related technologies (Parker, 2009, p. 121). And yet, despite these high-profile Russian efforts to curb illegal proliferation, the Yeltsin administration pursued policies which simultaneously undermined these efforts—decisions which firmly expressed the administration’s willingness or desire to cater to Iranian procurement activities. If the Yeltsin administration was publicly supportive of Washington’s concerns, it was also taking decisive steps to ensure that it did not fracture relations with Tehran. Understanding why the Yeltsin administration would risk jeopardizing newly established ties to the U.S. in the fragile post-Cold War climate for the opportunity to participate in Iranian nuclear development and armament activities is the subject of subsequent chapters. A May 1998 decision to replace MinAtom Director Viktor Mikhaylov—in the wake of allegations that he had secretly sought to supply Iran with uranium and uranium enrichment technologies—with Yevgeny Adamov, a former head of the Scientific Research and Design Institute for Energy Technologies (NIKIET), demonstrated the Yeltsin administration’s willingness to take chances with the non-proliferation campaign (Parker, 2009, pp. 137–40). Citing Russian media reports, Parker’s research indicates that between 1992 and 1998, while working as head of NIKIET, Yevgeny Adamov had presided over unilateral deals with the Iranian government for the provision of technologies aimed at enriching uranium (2009, p. 140). These same activities would lead the U.S., just one year later, to sanction NIKIET for the “transfer of missile and nuclear technologies to Iran” (Parker, 2009, p. 138). Thus, while the Yeltsin administration had been clearly responsive to western calls to curb illicit proliferation through its decision to participate in dedicated bilateral forums and international regimes, during this same period his administration also sought to insulate MinAtom policy from non-proliferation pressures by upholding appointments of ministers who had allegedly been engaged in direct proliferation activities with Tehran. Also noteworthy is Parker’s (2009) indication that Yeltsin’s successor, Vladimir Putin—though previously tasked with curbing the FSB’s role in illicit proliferation activities during the late 1990s—would, shortly after taking office in May 2000, amend a 1992 nuclear technology export control decree which, reportedly, was expected to aid Iran in the development of additional nuclear reactors (Parker, 2009, pp. 132–4, 138). In both instances it is clear that Russian presidents during this period were highly incentivized to cooperate with Tehran, despite significant international pressure to restrict the scale of cooperation in

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nuclear development initiatives. The same could be said of Russia’s involvement in the provision of conventional weapons to Tehran during this period. By 1999, leaders in Moscow were becoming increasingly divided over the negative security implications associated with the continuation of the nation’s decade-long support of defense-related exports to Iran, emphasizing especially how such technology could be used to harm Russian energy interests within the region (Parker, 2009, pp. 135–7). Nevertheless, despite protests to the contrary, the Kremlin appeared intent throughout the period on increasing the sale of conventional weapons. According to SIPRI records, between 1997 and 2001, Moscow signed new agreements for the sale of towed guns, IFV turrets, antitank missiles, and helicopters. Deliveries on these contracts, as well as deliveries pertaining to existing contracts signed in 1991 (anti-tank missiles, IFVs, tanks), 1993 (diesel tank engines), and 1995 (anti-tank missiles), make this five-year period one of the most robust eras of cooperation in terms of actual numbers of contracts being both signed and delivered on (SIPRI website). Yet in November 2000, Russian officials took even stronger measures to enhance weapons cooperation with Tehran when they announced that Moscow would be formally withdrawing from its commitments under the Gore– Chernomyrdin protocols on December 1 (Katz, 2006, p. 1; Parker, 2009, p. 143). Not only had Russian officials now begun to claim that it would take an additional decade to fulfill existing weapons contracts (Parker, 2009, p. 143), but more importantly, this action paved the way for negotiating new weapons agreements with Tehran. Just three months after the withdrawal from Gore– Chernomyrdin, in March 2001 Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted a bilateral summit in Moscow with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami (Parker, 2009, p. 209). At that meeting, the two leaders reportedly discussed future arms agreements which were estimated to have been valued at approximately US$7 billion (p. 209). Moscow’s renewed commitment to weapons-based cooperation, as well as its willingness to jeopardize adherence to international nuclear nonproliferation protocols, provide clear indications of the level of political amity that was being enjoyed between the capitals during this period. And while the relationship may have been characterized by a high level of nuclear and defensebased cooperation during this period, overall levels of political affinity were to some extent mitigated, by growing discrepancies in their approach to policy in the Caspian Sea basin. In terms of the ongoing question of Caspian Sea delimitation, this period represented a significant emerging challenge to bilateral cooperation insofar as the Kremlin began to move away from its traditional position of consensus with Tehran. Although both Russia and Iran had continued—officially—to endorse a jointly authorized condominium approach to living and non-living resource utilization with an excepted 45-mile off-shore exclusive zone and a jointly navigable sea surface, beginning in 1998 the Yeltsin administration made a decisive step toward adhering to an alternative delimitation regime. In July 1998, the Yeltsin administration formally agreed to open negotiations with Kazakh officials over a new delimitation protocol known as the Modified Median Line (MML)

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 27 (Ghafouri, 2008, p. 88; Parker, 2009, p. 157). The MML division of the Caspian sought to divide the seabed into sovereign national sectors based upon a median line that was consistent with national coastlines, leaving both the sea surface and water column freely navigable by all parties (Ghafouri, 2008, pp. 87–8; Parker, 2009, p. 157). While Russia and Kazakhstan did not formally sign a delimitation agreement implementing this change of protocol until May 2003 (Ghafouri, 2008, p. 88), the opening of negotiations quickly prompted Iranian protests which functioned to strain bilateral relations. According to analysts, Iranian dissatisfaction with the MML approach was likely a product of two key revisions to the existing protocol. In the first instance, while a condominium approach to resource utilization had effectively ensured each nation’s participation in all E&P activities outside of the exclusive offshore economic zones—by investing each nation with veto power over project development—the new MML approach divided the seabed into unequal national sectors that were to be considered sovereign territory (Parker, 2009, pp. 151–2; Ghafouri, 2008, p. 88). As Parker (2009) has noted, the condominium principle of resource utilization in the post-Soviet era would have encouraged all littoral states operating E&P projects to include both Iran and Russia in their operations as a way of avoiding costly vetoes by both nations (pp. 151–2); under an MML regime, Iranian and Russian participation was, therefore, no longer guaranteed. In the second instance, an MML approach would function to maximize the potential economic gains of North Caspian nations like Azerbaijan, Russia, and Kazakhstan—nations which were more likely to benefit economically owing to their longer coastlines, abundant resources, and shallow waters (a contingency which functioned to reduce project costs) (Parker, 2009, pp. 151–2). In contrast, under an MML approach, southern nations like Iran and Turkmenistan (which have shorter coastlines) would legally only be able to claim a smaller share of the actual seabed (Parker, 2009, pp. 151–2). The negative impact of the MML regime was only further amplified by the fact that the southern Caspian is known to be generally less abundant in hydrocarbon resources and is considerably deeper, thereby making production costs more prohibitive. The value to Iran of ensuring the longevity of the condominium approach cannot be overstated when one considers the isolating effect of ongoing political hostilities between Iran and the United States both during this period and today. In response to Iranian nuclear ambitions and its support for regional terrorist organizations, President Clinton signed into law the Iran–Libya Sanctions Act in 1995 which, as well as “banning U.S. trade with and investment in Iran,” also sought to “curb the strategic threat from Iran by hindering its ability to modernize its key petroleum sector, which generates about 20% of Iran’s GDP” (Katzman, 2007, p. 1). This act was immediately followed by the Iran Foreign Oil Sanctions Act (IFOSA), legislation which required the President to apply U.S.-based sanctions against foreign firms that were willing to provide Iran with energy-related technology (Katzman, 2007, p. 2). Under these sanctions, thirdparty corporations choosing to invest more than US$20 million in Iranian hydrocarbon projects would be effectively prevented from doing business with

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U.S.-based entities (Katzman, 2007, p. 2). The ability of Iran to veto the national E&P projects of other Caspian littoral states under a condominium regime could, therefore, conceivably provide the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) with enough leverage over its neighbors to effectively ensure that the U.S. decree would be ignored among Caspian nations. On the other side of the equation, Caspian littoral states have traditionally required the technical assistance of western corporations for the development of the Caspian’s hydrocarbon resources, and so could not reasonably afford to ignore Washington’s decree; by rejecting a condominium approach in favor of the MML regime, newly independent Caspian littorals could effectively insulate themselves from mandatory participation with Iran in hydrocarbon E&P activities, thereby relieving potential tensions between themselves and the West. Thus Russia’s 1998 push toward MML negotiations with Kazakhstan not only functioned, in practical terms, to restrict the sheer amount of hydrocarbon resources available to Iran but, perhaps more importantly, demonstrated to the Iranian leadership that the Kremlin (as well as northern Caspian littorals) would be hesitant to side with Tehran in its diplomatic war with the United States whenever the question of hydrocarbon resources was raised. Thus, if cooperation between the two nations was flourishing in matters of defense, it was also simultaneously embattled by a fundamental disagreement over energy-related matters. While such disputes did not then apparently carry enough weight to significantly disrupt general relations between Moscow and Tehran, it was at least evident that such contingencies could function as a mitigating factor—thereby operating to suppress extreme levels of political amity. In the context of contemporary relations, we may consider that these or similar disputes could have a markedly more negative impact upon relations insofar as Putin’s Russia has become increasingly dependent upon hydrocarbon resources for both federal revenue and political influence in more recent years. We might note further that Russian efforts to restrict Iran from participation in Caspian development opportunities have, most importantly, enabled Moscow to maintain its architecture of regional energy hegemony by restricting the development of alternative, Iranian-controlled hydrocarbon export corridors. In subsequent chapters, this book further explores the significant impact that energy-related competition can be assumed to have upon bilateral relations. Tensions between Iran and other Caspian littorals grew substantially greater in 2001 as Iran began to officially pursue its own delimitation regime known as the 20 percent Equal Share Division (ESD). Beginning in March 2001, the Iranian Oil Ministry formally entered into an agreement with the Swedish firm GVA over the construction of a deep-water drilling rig that was to be located in Iran’s unilaterally claimed national sector (Parker, 2009, p. 158). Not entirely dissimilar from the MML approach, the ESD regime simply divided both the seabed and the sea surface into five equal national sectors (Ghafouri, 2008, p. 89). Not only would this approach increase Iran’s seabed territory from 13 percent of the Caspian under the MML regime to a proposed 20 percent share, but it also sought to nationalize the sea surface, thereby subjecting naval

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 29 transportation on the sea to the regime of state sovereignty (Ghafouri, 2008, p. 89; see also Parker, 2009, pp. 151–2). Iran’s desire to pursue an ESD was and is reportedly viewed as an affront by the leadership in Moscow, which has operated the sea’s largest naval force and has been free to navigate the sea surface under both the condominium and the MML approaches to delimitation (Ghafouri, 2008, p. 89; Parker, 2009, p. 162). By January 2001, Azerbaijan had agreed, in principle, to Russia’s and Kazakhstan’s joint approach toward delimitation, thereby establishing a viable consensus among a majority of Caspian littorals (Parker, 2009, p. 160). The definitive change in Azerbaijani policy orientation brought the issue of Caspian delimitation to the fore as Azerbaijani claims under the MML came into conflict with Iranian claims under ESD. In July of that same year, Iran officially protested Azerbaijan’s E&P activities in the Alborz/Alov fields, claiming that the Azeris had violated the Iranian national sector (Parker, 2009, p. 158). Thus, although 2002 would come to represent the lowest point in Russian–Iranian agreement on Caspian delimitation since 1935, the case can quite clearly be made that cooperation in this area of relations was effectively ended by 2001. The de facto renationalization of Gazprom, as well as subsequent moves by the Russian state to control the formation of energy policy among post-Soviet nations, only placed Russia and Iran further at odds with one another in the coming years as both sought to assert control over regional hydrocarbon exports (Freedman, 2001, p. 71). Cooperation vanishing: 2002–6 (Average GPA score for period: 10.19, moderate level of cooperation) Disagreements over Caspian delimitation had certainly strained bilateral relations in the preceding period, as each nation was forced to redefine its preferred policy position in the post-Soviet era; and yet, despite increasing pressures from the international community over security-related concerns, trade in conventional arms and cooperation in the field of nuclear science remained relatively robust, thereby preserving a clearly high level of political affinity. But the continuation of robust levels of political affinity was severely challenged following revelations in 2003 and 2004 that Iran had been secretly working toward the enrichment of uranium. While the regime would claim that the domestic enrichment of uranium was part of a larger goal of developing an independent nuclear fuel cycle for the generation of peaceful nuclear power, continued failings of the Iranian leadership to publicly disclose the status or intentions of its program—in light of its known generous reserves of natural gas which could also be used to produce electricity—undermined the faith of the international community. Russian diplomatic support, as well as its ongoing technical cooperation in the nuclear field, no doubt served to buoy political relations in this period, but already there were signs that the partnership was growing increasingly fragile. Further drift in the Caspian delimitation regime, the signing of only a few new agreements for conventional weapons, and delay over the Bushehr nuclear power

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plant’s completion were concrete signs that political collaboration was now increasingly in jeopardy. While the trade in conventional weapons continued between 2002 and 2006, it was already abundantly clear that cooperation in this key area was in decline. According to SIPRI records, which give the number of new and existing conventional weapons contracts concluded in any given year, it can clearly be shown that between 2002 and 2004 trade levels plummeted to their lowest since 1992— when Moscow and Tehran had, initially, taken adversarial positions in relation to the Tajik civil war (Figure 2.2). During this period the Russian Federation and Islamic Republic signed four new contracts for SRAAMs, ground attack systems, SAMs, and mobile SAM systems (SIPRI website). Meanwhile, Moscow continued its deliveries on previously signed contracts for anti-tank missiles, diesel engines for tanks, towed guns, IFV turrets, and helicopters (SIPRI website). Despite the subtle decline in the conventional weapons trade occurring during this period, there were no other significant developments to report. Regarding Caspian Sea delimitation, the 2002–6 period demonstrated the further consolidation of national positions that had been advanced in the preceding era, as well as the emergence of a decidedly more conflictive disposition in Russian–Iranian relations. Between April and May 2002, Russian President Vladimir Putin not only officially rejected Iran’s ESD approach to Caspian delimitation, but also signed a completed delimitation agreement with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev based upon the MML approach to demarcation; by September President Putin signed a similar bilateral agreement with Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliev (Parker, 2009, p. 161). Although these agreements did not establish a new formal consensus on Caspian delimitation among all littoral states, they did suggest Russia’s de facto reversal of the traditional

16

Number of contracts

14

Contracts Three-year moving average

12 10 8 6 4

0

1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

2

Figure 2.2 Aggregate number of arms-related contracts, 1987–2012 (source: SIPRI, Arms Transfers Database, report generated July 15, 2013. Figures represent all contracts signed and/or delivered on during a given year).

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 31 cooperative regime which had been adhered to by both nations since the treaty of 1935. The signing of official bilateral delimitation agreements in the spring and fall of 2002 can be linked to a Russian policy change on hydrocarbon resource development in the Caspian basin and Central Asia which had been officially endorsed by Putin in January 2002, and which clearly placed Russia and Iran at further odds with one another. By Parker’s (2009) account, President Putin had unveiled a new plan in January 2002 aimed at incorporating Central Asian nations into a natural gas cartel or alliance which was to be spearheaded by the Russian Federation, and which would aim—ultimately—to control the flow of regional hydrocarbon exports to expanding markets in Europe and Asia (p. 149). Notably, Parker indicates that Putin’s project—at least in part—sought to undermine Iran’s own efforts to capture the downstream European market. He writes: The project aimed at a Gazprom monopoly on less expensive Central Asian natural gas exports in order to greatly increase Gazprom’s profit margin in lucrative European markets. Together with the Blue Stream pipeline to Turkey, Putin’s Gazprom-led ‘alliance’ cemented Russia’s position as the dominant supplier of natural gas to much of Europe and blocked Iran from any attempt to move in and whittle down Russia’s market share. (Parker, 2009, p. 149) According to Oil and Gas Journal statistics, Iran, possessing 1187 trillion cubic feet (tcf ) of natural gas, presently holds the world’s second largest supply of reserves, and so clearly presents a challenge to the Russian Federation which— through the partially privatized multinational corporation Gazprom—possesses the world’s largest supply of natural gas reserves (1680 tcf ) and which simultaneously operates the world’s most extensive pipeline infrastructure known as the Unified Gas Supply System (UGSS) (as cited in U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2012, 2013; see also Gazprom, n.d.). While the petroleum industry had accounted for 25 percent of federal government revenue in 1998, on the eve of Putin’s presidency, independent reports indicate that by 2008 energy receipts would come to account for fully 50 percent of all federal revenues— thereby demonstrating the increasing importance of energy to matters of Russian state policy during this and later periods (Foglizzo, 2008; Kwon, 2006, p. 2). Given the fast-increasing importance of energy receipts to federal coffers, there can be little doubt that matters of energy export were becoming ever more salient in terms of bilateral cooperation. Surely, it is hardly a coincidence that Putin’s January 2002 announcement of a Central Asian gas alliance followed the December 2001/January 2002 opening of the rival Tabriz–Ankara natural gas pipeline which functioned to transport natural gas supplies from Iran (and potentially eastern Caspian littoral nations like Turkmenistan) to Turkey and on to Europe (British Broadcasting Corporation BBC, 2006; Parker, 2009, p. 154). By Parker’s (2009) account, the Iran–Turkey line presented the first credible challenge to Russia’s hegemony over regional exports (p. 154) and so acted as a

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considerable threat to a state which was in the process of deepening its dependency upon energy-related revenues. Thus, there can be little doubt that the emerging competition over energy resources, and their distribution to downstream markets, placed a significant strain on bilateral relations in this period and was likely the basis for the growing divergence over issues of Caspian delimitation. Throughout the remainder of this period, Russia consolidated its control over the direction of regional gas exports by signing a series of bilateral production agreements in the eastern Caspian and Central Asian region; through these agreements Moscow would effectively lock up regional supplies, thereby preventing their export through competing Iranian-backed (Tabriz–Ankara) or U.S.backed pipelines (Nabucco). In April 2003, September 2005, and November 2005, Parker (2009) indicates that Russia’s Gazprom Corporation would conclude successive long-term gas production and transit agreements with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan that would effectively provide Moscow with virtual control over the region’s natural gas reserves (p. 283). Following these acquisitions in June 2005, the Russian state purchased 2.5 billion additional shares of Gazprom stock, thereby gaining a 50.002 percent controlling interest—the largest concentration of state-owned stock in Gazprom since its privatization in the early 1990s (see Appendix Table A.1, figures supplied by Gazprom; Parker, 2009, p. 283). By 2006, Gazprom had come to control nearly all gas exports to countries in Eastern Europe and substantial portions of gas supplies used by the EU’s predominant powers such as Germany and France (44 percent and 25 percent respectively) (Parker, 2009, p. 283). Russia’s European energy position was further enhanced during this period by the efforts of Kremlin-friendly corporations to acquire controlling interests in downstream Central and Eastern European energy assets (pipelines, refineries, petrochemical plants, and retail outlets) which effectively provided Moscow with increasing control over the sourcing of imports (see Bugajski, 2008). This monolithic endeavor only further functioned to isolate Caspian producer nations from downstream energy markets across Europe, a situation which has likely increased the strain on Russian–Iranian relations. That Russia’s new Caspian delimitation regime also functioned to enhance Moscow’s control over regional energy production and exports—and hence the stability of its downstream markets—seems likely. More importantly, Moscow’s changing attitudes toward the importance of Caspian and Central Asian energy in this period clearly placed Russia and Iran into increasingly competitive positions. As mentioned in the preceding section, Russia’s transition to a series of Caspian delimitation agreements based upon the MML principle functioned both to isolate Iran from the maritime production activities of other littoral nations and to restrict Iran’s overall share of the Caspian to a small percentage of the seabed and water column consisting of fewer, harder-to-reach hydrocarbon reserves. Simultaneously, the MML’s insistence on maintaining free mobility on the sea surface likely preserved the Russian navy’s right to protect future joint venture projects in disputed territories from interference by aggrieved Caspian

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 33 littorals, as had been the case between Iran and Azerbaijan during 2001 (see Parker, 2009, p. 162). But the strain that hydrocarbon resources were placing on bilateral relations during this period was not the only important development. Revelations during this era that Iran was, in fact, seeking to develop a domestic nuclear fuel cycle further ignited international criticism of bilateral cooperation in nuclear science and technology. Ultimately, in 2008, international criticism induced Russian leaders to side with western nations in the implementation of a sanctions regime that was designed to halt Iran’s uranium enrichment program. While bilateral relations plummeted to their lowest levels in the following period, between 2002 and 2006 it is clearly evident that political affinity was beginning to languish in the face of international criticism. Although future nuclear cooperation had appeared promising in December 2002—with discussions between Russia’s MinAtom and Iran calling for evaluations of the construction of a second nuclear reactor—that same month a Washington-based Iranian opposition group disclosed reports based on commercial satellite imagery which suggested that Iran was both enriching uranium at the site of Natanz and making weapons-grade plutonium in the regime’s Arak facility (Katz, 2006, p. 1; Parker, 2009, pp. 215–17). According to Parker (2009), Iranian President Mohammad Khatami responded to these charges by indicating that Iran was, in fact, attempting to develop the technology that would enable it to produce a complete “indigenous” nuclear fuel cycle that could be used to fuel as many as six nuclear reactors engaged in the production of electricity (p. 217). Western analysts skeptical of Tehran’s claims have suggested that Iran’s comparative advantage in natural gas (which is also commonly used in the production of electricity) should, in fact, preclude the need for developing highly controversial nuclear technology: thus the argument is made that Iran is likely invested in developing nuclear power specifically for use in military applications (Saberi, 2006). Although the argument is not without merit, Iranian officials have expressed the idea that nuclear power generation would not only function to preserve Iran’s non-renewable hydrocarbon resources, but from an economic standpoint would also free up more natural gas reserves for production and export, thereby enhancing global energy security (Saberi, 2006). Iran’s admissions prompted a visit by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed ElBaradei to Iran in February 2003. According to Parker (2009), ElBaradei’s report confirmed that Iran had installed 100 gas centrifuges to be used for the enrichment of uranium, further noting that the IRI had plans to develop an additional 50,000 centrifuges at the Natanz facility (p. 217). To provide some perspective on the development pace of Iranian uranium enrichment capacity, a recent IAEA report reveals that the country has made significant progress toward the goal of increasing the number of centrifuges at Natanz in recent years, indicating that as of May 2013 inspections had confirmed the existence of 14,244 operating units (Sanger and Broad, 2013). Tehran’s initial admission in 2003 had clearly placed a strain on bilateral relations, as was evident by Russia’s decision to support the June 2003 Joint Declaration of the G-8 Summit which urged Iran to formally agree to an IAEA

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additional protocol (Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 55). The degree of strain, however, appears to have been only slight, insofar as Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to continue cooperation in the nuclear sphere, provided Iran was willing to allow its operations to be overseen by the IAEA (Parker, 2009, pp. 220–1). In the wake of such revelations Iran presented itself as willing to cooperate, and so delivered a full disclosure of all of its nuclear programs to the IAEA (October 2003) while also signing an IAEA protocol which requested the temporary suspension of all enrichment activities (Parker, 2009, p. 253). While such moves clearly diffused some of the tensions weighing upon bilateral relations, and so provided a reasonable basis for continued cooperation in the development of the Bushehr facility, there were signs that members of Russia’s policy community were becoming increasingly distrustful of continued cooperation—as evidenced by a 2003 Ministry of Defense report which viewed Iran’s nuclear program with some level of skepticism (Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 55). While the Ministry of Defense’s position did not fully represent Moscow’s thoughts on cooperation with Tehran, it did represent a significant sub-sector of the government that had long been skeptical of bilateral cooperation. According to Parker (2009), in December 1996, amid a flurry of western criticism over cooperation in conventional weapons, Russia’s Defense Minister, Igor Rodinov, “had included Iran among countries that represented an increasing military danger” (p. 120). The layers of distrust within Russia’s policy community seemed only to deepen, however, following revelations about the Natanz facility. Orlov and Vinnikov (2005) wrote, “An internal decision seems to have been made at some point between 2002 and 2003 not to speed up the full completion of the Bushehr nuclear power plant project, invoking technical reasons” (p. 55). Thus while cooperation continued, the revelations of 2003 likely were functioning to reduce the scale of collaboration, as was evident through reported completion delays. By early 2004, IAEA investigations are reported to have discovered efforts by Iran to conceal the construction of a new model of centrifuge (Parker, 2009, p. 254). The G-8 once again took up the issue in the June summit, this time issuing a declaration, signed by Russia, which “aimed at ending nuclear fuel cycle cooperation with states that violate their nuclear non-proliferation and IAEA safeguard obligations” (Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 55). In the wake of the summit, Iran fully acknowledged that it had not suspended its nuclear enrichment program, and had been actively building centrifuges and seeking out 37 tons of yellowcake for nuclear fuel production (Parker, 2009, p. 254). By November 2004, Iran signed an agreement with the EU-3 (France, Germany, and UK), agreeing to fully suspend its enrichment activities in an interim period of negotiations (Parker, 2009, p. 255). The decision to cooperate with the EU-3 appears once again to have apparently paid dividends in terms of Russian– Iranian cooperation by December 2004 when the two nations began informal discussions on the prospects of expanded cooperation in the development of additional civilian nuclear reactors (Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, pp. 60–1). Moscow continued to deepen its nuclear cooperation with Iran in the wake of the December agreements with the EU-3. While the two nations signed an

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 35 important spent-fuel return agreement in February 2005 calling for the release of all spent nuclear fuel to Russian authorities for further disposal, Russian officials took additional steps to demonstrate considerable diplomatic support for continued cooperation with Iran (Katz, 2006, p. 1; Parker, 2009, p. 255). Notably, that same month Russia used its veto powers in the UNSC to formally reject U.S. calls for imposing related international sanctions, and by July 2005 Moscow welcomed Iran as an observer into the Central Asian regional security regime— the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) (Parker, 2009, pp. 256, 281). Shortly after its entrance into the SCO as an observer nation on August 1, 2005, Iran notified the IAEA that it would resume uranium conversion; just two days later neo-conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took his seat as the newly elected Iranian president (Katz, 2006, p. 2; Parker, 2009, p. 256). The new presidential administration represented a decisive reorientation away from the policies of the previous reform-minded administration of Mohammad Khatami, and was ideologically aligned with the priorities of Khomeini-era revolutionaries, favoring unilateralism and nationalistic policies at odds with the western agenda (Rakel, 2009, p. 122). Shortly after taking office, President Ahmadinejad delivered a heated address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 17, 2005, in which he resolutely defended Iran’s right to domestically produce a complete nuclear fuel cycle, indicating that international deliveries were both unreliable and not legally binding (Parker, 2009, p. 258). By Parker’s (2009) account, Iran’s more aggressive and unilateral policy approach caused Russia to alter its cooperation with Iran, forcing it to consider very seriously its own relations with the international community (p. 256). While some tangible signs of political affinity would still remain, it was simultaneously true that Russia’s diplomatic support for the IRI was wearing increasingly thin. Shortly after Ahmadinejad’s speech before the United Nations, the IAEA decided to turn the issue over to the UNSC. Despite the fact that both Russia and China had abstained from the IAEA vote, thereby allowing the issue to pass to the UNSC, in November 2005 Moscow proposed a concessionary plan that would allow Iran to continue enrichment activities so long as it remained committed to finding a permanent solution in the context of ongoing EU-3 negotiations (Parker, 2009, p. 258). Russia offered further enticements to the IRI leadership by simultaneously signing additional agreements for Pechora-2A SAM systems, as well as agreements on the sale of 29 or 30 Tor-M1 air defense systems valued at US$1billion, while also agreeing to help Iran in the launching of a remote-sensing spy satellite (Katz, 2006, p. 3; Parker, 2009, p. 260). Although new arms agreements were clearly on the table, Russia was also becoming increasingly supportive of efforts which would push the nuclear issue before the UNSC. In February 2006, just one month after Iran announced that it had resumed enrichment activities at the Natanz facility, Russia supported an IAEA Board of Governors’ decision to supply the UNSC with Director ElBaradei’s findings and recommendations (Katz, 2006, p. 3; Parker, 2009, p. 261). While Russia would initially oppose any talk of imposing sanctions on Iran within the UNSC/P5+1 setting, tensions were clearly building as the Russian

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Foreign Ministry publicly denounced Iran’s mismanagement of the highly contentious issue (Katz, 2006, p. 3; Parker, 2009, p. 263). A fundamental turning point in bilateral relations apparently came in late June 2006, however, when the Iranian President formally rejected a settlement from the EU-3 which, according to Parker, would have provided the IRI with increasing access to international capital, investment, and markets (Parker, 2009, pp. 268–9). Having failed to concede to the highly generous conditions of the EU-3 negotiations, Russia seems to have largely abandoned its commitment to continued diplomatic support for the IRI. Beginning on July 31, 2006 the UNSC adopted Resolution 1696 which called for the imposition of sanctions in the event that enrichment activities were not ended within 30 days (Katz, 2006, p. 4; Parker, 2009, pp. 250, 270). When Iran failed to concede to these demands, in December 2006 the UNSC passed Resolution 1737 which called for the beginning of international sanctions (Parker, 2009, p. 301). With cooperation on the issue of Caspian delimitation effectively ended and cooperation in the nuclear sphere collapsing, it was clear that by the end of 2006 bilateral relations were now entering a state of general decline. State of decline: 2007–11 (Average GPA score for period: 8.76, low level of moderate cooperation) The period 2007–11 would prove to be one of quickly worsening conditions between the two nations. The status of bilateral relations had been confirmed early on in January 2007 when Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed Ayatollah Khamenei’s calls for a deepening of ties in regional affairs (Parker, 2009, p. 302). While President Vladimir Putin visited the IRI later that same year, in October 2007, relations on all three issues—trade in conventional weapons, cooperation in nuclear development, and status of agreement on Caspian Sea delimitation—were in a clear state of decline, confirming the fact that the high level of affinity of the 1990s was now nearly at its end (Parker, 2009, p. 305). Putin’s visit to Tehran had entailed a summit on Caspian affairs as well as a series of meetings with both President Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei (Parker, 2009, p. 305). On the issue of Caspian delimitation, Parker (2009) indicates that the summit had failed to resolve the essential question (p. 305). Similarly, he notes that calls for long-term economic, industrial, scientific, and technical cooperation were met by no new concrete initiatives and “merely resurrected the negotiations apparently dropped after 2003” (Parker, 2009, p. 305). And although cooperation in Caspian and nuclear affairs had largely collapsed in recent years, the previous period (2002–6) had, at least, been notable for the continuation of the dyad’s long-standing relationship in the trade of conventional weaponry. While there had been a marked decline in the number of active contracts in the previous term when compared to earlier eras, between 2007 and 2011 even the trade in conventional weapons would

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 37 effectively dry up, leaving a general deficit in all levels of political affinity between these two nations. Between 2007 and 2011 Russia would continue to fulfill long-standing contracts for the delivery of anti-tank missiles (signed in 1991, 1995, and 1998) and turrets for infantry fighting vehicles (signed in 1999), as well as its more recent agreements for 9M388 surface to air missiles and Tor-M1 air defense systems (signed in 2005) (SIPRI website). While deliveries of anti-tank missiles and turrets would continue through 2011, deliveries on the Tor-M1 were quickly concluded by 2007 (SIPRI website). Most important of all, this period was remarkable for the simple fact that only two new conventional arms agreements were signed between the two nations—agreements for the sale of air search radar systems in 2007 and in 2011 (the SIPRI register indicates a level of uncertainty pertaining to the year of order for 2011 systems) (SIPRI website). The general deficit of transfers pertaining to either new or existing contracts indicates a substantial reduction in the conventional weapons trade, the likes of which had been unknown since general rapprochement had occurred in the late 1980s (see Figure 2.2). Although another agreement had been signed between the two nations during 2007, complications pertaining to the transfer of this equipment under expanding UNSC sanctions in 2010 left the contract unfulfilled, thereby souring bilateral relations. The contract in question, worth $800 million, had been for the sale and delivery of Russia’s S-300 long-range air defense missile system (Parker, 2009, p. 309; Kessler & Richburg, 2010). The sale of the S-300 was highly significant insofar as it would provide Iran with the technological capacity to defend its nuclear installations at Bushehr and Natanz from air attacks (Parker, 2009, p. 303). While the announcement of the contract was clearly a significant political development, further complications related to Iran’s nuclear enrichment program would, ultimately, prevent the delivery of this critical weapons system (Katz, 2010, p. 17). In particular, UNSC Resolution 1929 (dated June 9, 2010) paragraph 8 explicitly called for expanding international sanctions against Iran to include the “direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer” of conventional weapons by all nations (United Nations Bibliographic Information System [UNBISNET]). According to Glen Kessler and Keith B. Richburg of the Washington Post (2010), officials from the Russian Foreign Ministry had originally suggested— just one day after the vote—that deliveries of the S-300 system would not be affected by the new round of sanctions. They indicate that the Foreign Ministry’s initial assertion had been based upon the fact that a “loophole in the language of the resolution suggested that defensive ground-to-air missile systems such as the S-300 were not covered by the ban” (Kessler & Richburg, 2010). Notably, just two days after the UNSC vote, the Kremlin contradicted the Foreign Ministry’s statements, indicating that the language of the resolution did, in fact, apply to the sale of the S-300 systems, thereby committing the Russian Federation to upholding the new round of sanctions and suspending delivery of the S-300 system (Kessler & Richburg, 2010).

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Kessler and Richburg (2010) further suggest that Russia’s policy reversal may have been contingent upon improving relations between Moscow and Washington, insofar as it occurred on the same day that the White House announced a June 24, 2010 summit meeting between presidents Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev, to be held in Washington. Whatever had been the cause of the collapse of the S-300 deal, it should be recalled that general cooperation in conventional weapons sales was already in significant decline by 2010, as evidenced by the dearth of new contracts and the gap in continued deliveries. Most important, however, is the fact that throughout this era, Moscow appeared unwilling to continue its prior level of commitments in weapons cooperation, and simultaneously willing to endorse a resolution ending an arms trade that had extended back to 1989. While it may be tempting to assume that a growing rapprochement with Washington was likely responsible for this changing policy, it is prudent to recall that the Gore– Chernomyrdin Commission bilateral forum—itself a long-standing symbol of cooperative relations between Moscow and Washington—had been unable to dissuade Russia from collaborative arms contracts with Iran; such examples tend to suggest an alternative reason for cooperative decline rather than one based simply upon third-party relations with Washington. More than a year after the Kremlin’s decision to suspend deliveries of the S-300 under sanctions imposed by UNSC Resolution 1929, Iran’s ambassador to Moscow on August 24, 2011 formally rejected Russia’s official position, declaring that S-300 deliveries did not, in fact, violate the terms of the 2010 resolution (United Press International, 2011). Having reportedly made an early down payment of $170 million following the contract signing in December 2007, Iranian officials became engaged in a legal battle to force Russia to abide by its contractual commitments (United Press International, 2011). According to a United Press International report dated August 30, 2011, the IRI filed a lawsuit in the International Court of Justice seeking to resolve the differing interpretations of the resolution’s provisions and so win a judgment that would compel Russia to begin system deliveries. Notably, Iran’s legal battle appears to parallel a 2011 push by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to gain domestic approval for Israeli air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities (Daily Telegraph, 2011); as mentioned previously, numerous sources indicate that the S-300 system would be instrumental to providing Iranian nuclear facilities with a robust line of defense against air to ground attacks (Parker, 2009, p. 303; United Press International, 2011). Iran’s appeal to an independent court as well as Russia’s continued willingness to abide by existing international sanctions are, themselves, clear evidence of the widening rift in bilateral relations. Still, United Press International notes that Moscow’s future position on the issue will likely depend upon how it views its relations with both Iran and Washington and, citing a report by Stratfor, suggests that Moscow could quite easily subvert international sanctions if it chose to by channeling S-300 sales through other defense clients such as Belarus, Armenia, or Kazakhstan (United Press International, 2011). Complications pertaining to the sale and delivery of the S-300 system were not surprising, of course, given the overall declining state of cooperation

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 39 that was quickly becoming evident in the nuclear field. As of the time of writing, reports have recently circulated that Moscow may have delivered its first controversial shipment of S-300 components to the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (Harding, Owen, & Greenwood, 2013). Whether these deliveries could potentially become a back-door conduit to supplying Iran is as yet unknown, but recent pro-regime reporting indicates that Tehran’s leadership may presently be ramping up pressure on Moscow to fulfill its disputed S-300 contracts with Iran in the wake of the Syria deal (Iran’s View, 2013). Where Moscow once appeared a robust and cooperative ally in Iran’s quest to develop nuclear power, leaders in the Kremlin during the period 2007–11 proved that Russia held no fundamental allegiance to Iran or to its own history of seemingly unconditional support. Although nuclear cooperation between the two appeared to regain some of its former vitality by the fall of 2011, between 2007 and spring 2011 Russia and Iran’s relationship would be sorely tested as the international community became increasingly concerned at Iran’s intentions. According to United Nations records, between 2007 and 2010 the Russian Federation supported three more rounds of sanctions against the IRI in the UNSC forum (Res. 1747, March 2007; Res. 1803, March 2008; Res. 1929 June, 2010) (UNBISNET). Failing to heed international calls for the suspension of nuclear enrichment activities, Russia’s Security Council in March 2007 notified Iran that it would now make the anticipated nuclear fuel deliveries contingent upon the IRI’s cessation of its enrichment program (Parker, 2009, p. 303). Importantly, Parker (2009) indicates that the Kremlin, once again, in the summer of 2007, began to slow down the completion of the Bushehr facility as a means for increasing its own political leverage over Tehran. He writes: Subsequently, after charging Tehran with falling behind on its payments, Moscow cited technical disruptions in explaining a further delay in the target date for the completion of Bushehr. When the original contract had been signed in October 1995, Bushehr had been projected to be finished by spring 2000. By summer 2007 Bushehr’s completion date had slipped to fall 2008 at earliest. (p. 303) Construction delays would continue throughout much of this period as Iran repeatedly ignored calls by the international community to suspend its enrichment program. Ongoing project delays would, ultimately, push the completion of the Bushehr project back to summer 2010, when Russian and Iranian officials jointly began loading fuel rods into the reactor on August 21, 2011—a step which formalized Bushehr’s classification as an official nuclear facility (Makarova & Kevorkova, 2010). During this period the Kremlin sought out other ways of increasing its leverage over a still-defiant Tehran. While the advertised suspension of S-300 sales in August 2010 was a clear effort to rein in Tehran’s behavior following expanded UNSC sanctions that June, the Kremlin had also made use of its leverage against Tehran in the SCO.

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During the 2010 SCO heads of state meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (just days after the expanded 2010 sanctions), Russian President Dmitri Medvedev announced that no country under UNSC sanctions would be eligible to become a full member of the SCO (Kessler & Richburg, 2010); clearly the announcement had been aimed at the IRI which then held observer status in the SCO. As if expressing frustration with the Russian leadership’s earlier decision to suspend S-300 sales, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was conspicuously absent from the 2010 SCO annual meeting, traveling instead on an official state visit to Beijing (Kessler & Richburg, 2010). Notably, the presidents of fellow observer nations Pakistan and Afghanistan were in fact in attendance at the Tashkent Summit meeting (President of Russia official website, 2010). Ahmadinejad’s well-timed trip to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) functions as an overt symbol of the growing political ill-will between Moscow and Tehran during this period, and may indicate Iran’s intention to replace lost Kremlin support with diplomatic support from Beijing. While political affinity between Moscow and Tehran has had many ups and downs historically, Iran’s relationship with the PRC has generally been more stable, depending upon long-term trade in both energy and weaponry (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2013; Katzman, 1998, p. 3). Despite the Kremlin’s various efforts to restrain Tehran’s nuclear ambitions during this period, Moscow still managed to accommodate the further development of Iran’s civilian nuclear program by supplying low-enriched uranium to be used as nuclear fuel for the Bushehr facility between December 16, 2007 and January 28, 2008 (Parker, 2009, pp. 307–8; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 2008). According to Parker (2009), the decision to ship fuel to Bushehr represented a “clear reversal of long-standing policy” whereby Moscow has since 2003 repeatedly tied future fuel deliveries to Iran’s voluntary suspension of all enrichment activities and complete adherence to the IAEA’s additional protocols (p. 308). Both Russian and western officials (including UN officials) have defended the delivery of low-enriched uranium (which cannot be used for nuclear weapons), indicating that such deliveries in fact negate Iran’s need to continue its own domestic enrichment activities (BBC, 2007; Parker, 2009, p. 308). According to the BBC, although Russia continued to press Iran to suspend its enrichment program following the fuel delivery agreements, Iranian officials indicated that their country “would not halt uranium enrichment under any circumstances” (2007). Thus while the decision to begin fuel deliveries may in some sense be viewed as a positive bilateral development, Iran’s continued defiance of Moscow’s calls to suspend enrichment activities also remains a clear indicator of the ongoing tensions which plague bilateral relations in the nuclear field. Yet by the fall of 2011, the fragile state of nuclear cooperation that had defined most of the era appeared at an end as Russia for the first time since 2006 indicated that it would now be unlikely to support heavier sanctions against the IRI. On November 8, 2011 the IAEA released a new report indicating that the IRI might, in fact, still be secretly pursuing the development of a nuclear weapon

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 41 (Gutterman, 2011, November 9). In the wake of the report, officials in both the U.S. and France signaled that their respective governments would support the imposition of increasing sanctions against the IRI (both bilateral and multilateral rounds) (Gutterman, 2011). According to Steve Gutterman of Reuters, Russian officials in the Foreign Ministry rejected the report’s claims, indicating that no new information had been revealed and that Moscow would therefore not, in fact, support an expanded sanctions regime (2011). Citing an Interfax report, Gutterman quotes Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov saying that new sanctions “will be seen in the international community as an instrument for regime change in Tehran,” commenting, “That approach is unacceptable to us, and the Russian side does not intend to consider such proposals” (as cited in Gutterman, 2011). The growing nuclear rapprochement was further complemented by a joint announcement just two days later on November 11, 2011 that Russia was considering working with Iran to develop additional nuclear reactors (Faulconbridge & Gutterman, 2011). Although no official agreements had been signed as of the time of this writing, Russia’s increasingly positive public support for Iran’s nuclear program should be viewed as a highly significant event following roughly five years of diminishing affinity. The time frame of 2007–11 can thus clearly be distinguished as a time of decreasing political affinity as cooperation over the sale of conventional weapons and nuclear development stalled and a general consensus on Caspian delimitation was still absent. And yet the final months of 2011 appear to suggest that a growing restoration of cooperative relations may once again be on the rise as both Russia and Iran defended their nuclear partnership in the face of harsh criticism by the international community. Signs of recovery: 2012–13 (Average GPA score for period: 8.8, low level of moderate cooperation) While the preceding ten-year period had demonstrated a significant downturn in bilateral relations, during the time in which this book was being written it appeared as though Moscow and Tehran were, once again, exhibiting early signs of a renewed engagement. Although cooperation in the trade of conventional weapons and territorial agreement in regard to Caspian issues continued to prove elusive, the two capitals in fact made significant progress in repairing relations upon the nuclear front. As indicated in the preceding section, by 2011 Moscow had determined that it would no longer support increasing rounds of sanctions meant to deter Iran from pursuing uranium enrichment. As both the United States and the European Union moved to initiate these strict measures during the spring/summer of 2012, leaders in Moscow remained committed to solving nuclear concerns through UNSC diplomacy, criticizing the West’s approach as being largely counterproductive to ongoing diplomatic efforts (De Carbonnel, Gutterman, & Heavens, 2012). While the reopening of successive rounds of

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P5+1 talks with Iran in 2012 and 2013 have not, as of the time of writing, resulted in an agreement for the suspension or slowing of uranium enrichment (Herszenhorn, 2013, April 6), in the context of the West’s aggressive sanctions regime these meetings have constantly served to demonstrate Moscow’s increasing benevolence toward Tehran, thereby laying the foundations for a geopolitical realignment. Through a series of measures adopted between November 2011 and February 2012, both the United States and the European Union have implemented progressive rounds of unilateral sanctions against Iran which are designed to cut the Islamic Republic off from the international banking system and ultimately to harm its ability to export oil (Asgari & Reynolds, 2012; Blair, 2012; Katzman, 2012, pp. 20–3). Designed to prevent or restrict foreign banks working with Iran’s central bank from conducting business with the United States, U.S. tactics have sought to directly scale back foreign purchases of Iranian oil which generally have accounted for approximately 70–80 percent of Iran’s central government revenue (Asgari & Reynolds, 2012; Katzman, 2012, p. 47). In addition to U.S. efforts, European leaders on January 23, 2012 announced that the EU— which has accounted for approximately 20 percent of Iranian crude oil exports— would immediately embargo all new contracts for Iranian crude oil and would begin embargoing imports under all existing contracts on July 1, 2012 (Blair, 2012). On June 28, 2012 the then U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, announced that U.S. and EU sanctions had already led to losses in sales of 1 million barrels per day (bpd) out of Iran’s 2.5 million bpd average (as cited by Katzman, 2012, p. 47). A recent Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) (2013) report indicates that within just one month of the European Union’s embargo, Iranian oil exports had been further diminished from 1.7 million bpd to just 940,000 bpd (Cordesman, Gold, Khazai, & Bosserman, 2013, pp. 4–5). According to the 2013 report, “Oil export revenue fell from $9.8 billion in July of 2011 to $2.9 billion in July 2012” (Cordesman et al., 2013, p. 5). The impact of sanctions upon Iran’s economy is presently expected to be at, or above, $30 billion per year (Cordesman et al., 2013, p. 11; Katzman, 2012). While cooperation between the two countries continues to remain depressed when contrasted with the scale of collaboration which had existed during the 1990s, Russia’s support for Iran in the face of the West’s program of tough unilateral sanctions—and through its declared opposition to Israeli and westernbacked military solutions (Baczynska, Gutterman, & Heritage, 2013)—seems to be underwriting a positive bilateral dialog that may portend increasing levels of nuclear-oriented collaboration in the future. Ahead of a July 2013 meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Moscow, recently reelected Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly met with the outgoing Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to discuss the state of bilateral relations. According to reports, President Ahmadinejad not only indicated that the Islamic Republic wished to build additional nuclear reactors at the Bushehr facility as well as at other locations throughout Iran, but more importantly also stressed his nation’s interest in continuuing to work with Russia’s atomic energy ministry (RosAtom)

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 43 throughout this venture (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 2013, July 2). With rhetorical indications of future collaboration in more nuclear projects looming, it appears likely that the end of the initial Bushehr project will not result in a reduction of bilateral collaboration in the development of Iran’s civilian nuclear infrastructure. While no formal agreements over future nuclear cooperation had been signed at the time of writing, Tehran’s overtures represent a positive development in relations that had been generally soured by Moscow’s support of UNSC sanctions and its related decision to cancel deliveries of the S-300 air defense system to Tehran just three years earlier (see previous section). Notably, just two weeks after the July presidential meeting in Moscow, Russia’s Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations publicly affirmed, once again, his nation’s commitment to opposing any further sanctions against the Islamic Republic over the nuclear issue (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 2013, July 16). This announcement appears to have been made in conjunction with activities on the UNSC Iran Sanctions Committee (ISC) where both Russia and China have utilized their respective committee assignments to block the group’s recommendation for the further expansion of sanctions against Iran (Charbonneau, 2013). ISC reports were expected to bring heavier sanctions against Iran for missile testing violations which had occurred during 2012 and for violations pertaining to arms exports to Iran’s regional clients (Charbonneau, 2013). While signs of growing nuclear collaboration are, therefore, presently apparent, analysts also indicate that the destabilizing impact of events related to the Arab Spring throughout the region may be incentivizing Iran and Russia to increase their levels of political collaboration. In November 2012, at a meeting in Tehran, deputy foreign ministers are reported to have met in order to discuss the Iranian nuclear program; while nuclear talks may have been the cornerstone of this meeting, the occasion was also used to indicate the two nations’ wish for deepening collaboration in the areas of both security and economics (PressTV, 2012; Xinhua, 2012, November 16). Two months after these meetings, in January 2013, interior ministers of both nations met in Tehran to sign a Memorandum of Understanding designed to broaden collaboration in matters of domestic and regional security (Taheri, 2013). According to Amir Taheri (2013) of the New York Post, these agreements predominantly sought to provide Iran with both training and aid designed to quell domestic instability arising from the spread of civil unrest throughout the region, as well as in anticipation of Iran’s June 2013 presidential elections. Whether the new 2013 agreement will come to serve as a framework for restoring the ailing trade in conventional weapons is presently uncertain. While SIPRI records indicate that Moscow continued to make deliveries upon contracts for IFV turrets at least through 2012 (under a contract originating in 1999), and continued also to provide Tehran with antitank missiles as well as the licensing and components for the domestic production of anti-tank missiles during this same period (under contracts originating in 1991, 1995, and 1998), records also indicate that relations in this area have remained simultaneously depressed by the dearth of new contracts in recent

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years. At the time of writing, SIPRI arms transfer registers indicate that no new formal contracts have been initiated since 2011 when Moscow and Tehran signed a deal for the transfer to Tehran of 1L222 Avtobaza electronic intelligence systems (SIPRI website; see also Eshel, 2011). Despite the recent status of relations, new security commitments unfolding in the wake of the Arab Spring may in fact presage a return to more robust engagment in the trade in conventional weaponry. In regard to the Caspian Sea, as of the time of writing in 2013 no progress to cooperation over seabed or surface delimitation had yet been made. According to recent reports, Tehran officials presently remain unwilling to recognize the legality of delimitation agreements signed between Russia and Kazakhstan in 1998, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in 2001 and 2003, and the trilateral agreement between Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan in 2003; in contrast to recognition of these agreements, Tehran has continued to rely upon the condominium principle of resource utilization and the 10-mile off-shore sovereign sector regime which was guaranteed to both Iran and the USSR under the 1940 treaty, but is still reportedly seeking a 20 percent equal share division for all nations (Khatinoglu, 2013; Valiyev, 2013). If this period has demonstrated a recent thaw in bilateral relations nowhere is this more evident than in the two capitals’ coordinated efforts to support the embattled regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. While Russia and Iran have each contributed a myriad of tangible instruments designed to protect the Assad regime from internal collapse and external pressures—including weapons and defense technology, training, foreign fighting assistance from Iran’s Hezbollah clients, and Russian financial protection from international banking sanctions against the Assad regime—there are clear indications that both nations are also working unilaterally and jointly within the context of multilateral international forums in order to support the Syrian leadership diplomatically (for a discussion of both nations’ efforts to support the Assad regime see: Gaouette, 2013; George, 2012a, August 9; Grove, 2012). Between 2011 and 2013, Russia repeatedly used its veto powers in the UNSC to condemn draft resolutions on the crisis in Syria which could be used to construct international sanctions against the Assad regime as well as to pave the way for military intervention by a coalition force. At a meeting of the UNGA on December 20, 2012, Russia and Iran joined together along with China and nine other nations to vote against UNGA Resolution 67/183, “Situation of Human Rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” which sought to condemn human rights violations associated with the Syrian domestic conflict (UNBISNET). Five months later, on May 15, 2013, both nations would jointly oppose UNGA Resolution 67/262, “The Situation in the Syrian Republic,” which specifically condemned the Assad regime for violence against the Syrian people (UNBISNET). Collaborative efforts inside the United Nations would, however, be further complemented by other diplomatic overtures during this period. During a June 2012 heads of state meeting of the SCO, the organization (of which Russia is a permanent member and Iran an observer) asserted its interest

Developments in Russian−Iranian relations 45 in further cooperating to improve regional security and to promote the peaceful resolution of ongoing crises in both Syria and Iran (Xinhua, 2012, June 7; United Press International, 2012). In a sign of further cooperation emerging between Iran and the SCO and of coordination on the Syria issue, newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani determined to make the September 2013 SCO heads of state meeting in Bishkek his first trip abroad, just one month after taking office (FARS News Agency, 2013). A year earlier on August 9, 2012, Iran hosted the Tehran Consultative Meeting on Syria, during which ambassadors from more than two dozen countries—including both Russia and SCO partner nation China—reiterated their unanimous diplomatic support for the peaceful resolution of the conflict between the Assad regime and opposition forces (George, 2012b, August 9). Whether or not closely aligned diplomatic efforts will, in fact, work to sustain the Assad regime cannot presently be known, but the process itself is indicative of the spirit of renewed cooperation that is developing between Moscow and Tehran. While there can be little doubt that Russian–Iranian cooperation can be wildly volatile, oscillating between high and low levels of political affinity, it is clear—in light of more recent events—that the crisis in their cooperation that defined the preceding decade is likely at its end—at least for now.

Conclusion While it is common throughout much of the literature on Russian–Iranian relations to assert that bilateral affairs remain generally sensitive to distant historical grievances, this chapter has also clearly demonstrated that the two nations have retained an equal willingness and capacity to advance cooperation to robust levels when necessary. The tendency toward both conflict and cooperation that is evident in this dyadic relationship is the hallmark of the Russian–Iranian experience. Exploring the driving forces behind this cyclical relationship is, of course, the full object of this study and it is to that aim that this investigation now turns. To as great a degree as possible, this chapter has attempted to avoid or mitigate overt speculation about those factors and forces that are reported frequently to drive changes in bilateral cooperation—saving that discussion for later chapters. By isolating causal arguments from the post-Soviet record of cooperation, this chapter has sought to focus the reader’s mind, specifically and without distraction, upon the constituent elements of political affinity and the trajectory of each of these elements over the two decades since the collapse of communism and the Soviet Union. In the intervening pages of Chapter 3, this study provides an innovative schematic for measuring Russian–Iranian relations that seeks to intuitively express—in ever simplified form—the detailed historical discussion that has been presented, at length, throughout this chapter. Focusing yet again upon the three substantive issue areas of political cooperation previously explored (trade in conventional weapons, cooperation in nuclear development, and the status of agreement over Caspian Sea delimitation), Chapter 3 develops

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a quantitative annual indicator of bilateral relations referred to as General Political Association. By collapsing the dyad’s complex history into a simplified political metric, this study attains the clear and unique advantage of being able to empirically evaluate traditional arguments that have been made in relation to those factors and forces which are frequently described as being relevant to cooperation.

3

Measuring bilateral relations in the post-Soviet era Constructing a dependent variable of General Political Association

Introduction In an effort to simplify and make usable the complex information pertaining to the Russian–Iranian political dyad developed in Chapter 2, I construct a quantitative, multidimensional indicator of General Political Association (GPA) which measures annual changes in the overall quality of bilateral political relations between 1966 and 2013. As this study has argued, there is a consistent tendency in academic and non-academic traditions to treat changes in Russian–Iranian relations as a function of changing security conditions as well as a product of ongoing developments in the domestic politics of each individual nation, yet there has been little or no effort to empirically evaluate these claims or to determine the relative influence such factors and forces may have on the bilateral relationship. By compressing complex dyadic data into a simple, scaled political indicator this study seeks to construct a well-informed and sensitive dependent variable which can be used to test the varying range of factors which can reasonably be expected to influence changes in bilateral relations. By creating a case-specific indicator, this study not only hopes to contribute a new and innovative means of measuring Russian–Iranian political affinity but more generally invites policy professionals to entertain the utility of political metrics as a means of standardizing the disparate voices of speculation that muddy the field of international affairs. In the preceding chapter I sought to demonstrate the concept that ‘GPA’ between any set of nations is both highly nuanced and often depends upon a set of factors that are peculiar to that distinct political relationship. In the case of Russian–Iranian relations, relying upon a variety of sources, I have suggested that annual political affinity in the post-Soviet era is the product of changes in the trade in conventional weapons, cooperation in nuclear development, and agreement in matters of Caspian Sea delimitation. Although it is important for the sake of this study to focus on the specific set of factors comprising Russian– Iranian political relations, we can also inductively reclassify these specific factors into three substantive issue dimensions which could be used to develop a definition of GPA. In this manner I suggest that GPA is likely the product of: (1)

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defense cooperation; (2) inter-state development assistance; and (3) general agreement on territorial divisions; operationalizing these three issue dimensions would therefore be the task of the individual researcher/policy professional, a task which, as the preceding chapter has suggested, is best fulfilled by a comprehensive qualitative analysis of interstate relations. Although it is reasonable to suggest that underlying factors do not all impact political affinity in an equal manner, it remains outside the scope of this present study to determine what varying weights should be assigned to each underlying issue dimension; such determinations are best made from a position of consensus involving multiple case studies. To avoid making excessive errors in the estimation of factor weights on overall political affinity, I therefore assume that all factors are weighted equally. As such, the final measurement of GPA is here represented as the sum of all underlying factors. For the sake of efficiency I have chosen to express each of the three underlying factors or issue dimensions in terms of a simple ordinal, seven-point scale ranging from Strong non-cooperation (1) to Strong cooperation (7) with an intermediary point of neutrality (4) (Table 3.1). While expressing each underlying issue dimension as a continuous variable would provide greater range and variation among scores, the decision to utilize an ordinal variable is here profitable as it enables the researcher to incorporate a wide variety of qualitative data into a simple format, thereby diminishing one’s reliance upon traditional numeric indicators which may not always adequately capture the essence of the issue dimension being analyzed. By translating all three underlying issue dimensions into uniform ordinal variables, the product of GPA may simply be expressed as the sum of all three data points on a 21-point scale.

Measuring defense cooperation: annual cooperation in the Trade in Conventional Weapons (TCW) I operationalize defense cooperation as annual cooperation in the Trade in Conventional Weapons, relying upon dyadic trade registers provided by SIPRI’s Arms Transfer Database, compiled on July 15, 2013. SIPRI’s supplier–recipient trade registers provide information concerning both the years in which specific

Table 3.1 Seven-point scale for sub-components of General Political Association (GPA) Category

Ordinal value

Strong cooperation Moderate cooperation Basic cooperation Neither cooperation nor non-cooperation Basic non-cooperation Moderate non-cooperation Strong non-cooperation

7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Measuring bilateral relations: GPA 49 conventional arms agreements were initially signed and the years during which deliveries on those agreements were made. In order to describe the quality of ongoing cooperation in any given year I focus specifically on the aggregate number of contracts (ANC) in existence, where the ANC represents the sum of new and open contracts during a given year. By focusing on the ANC rather than on data indicating the value of annual sales or the weapons typology, I anticipate that my indicator will more accurately reflect changes in the underlying political conditions which constitute the relationship. In particular, I expect a climate of increasingly negative political relations to be reflected in few or no new contracts being signed, as well as a general reduction, slow-down, or cessation of deliveries on existing contracts. Conversely, I expect a positive political climate to be reflected in newly signed contracts, as well as continuous deliveries of existing contracts. The only exceptions to this rule of determining ANC in a given year are those few instances where a contract is both ordered and delivered on in the same year. In this case I treat both the order and the delivery as two separate contracts; this method allows the indicator to express the vitality of relations that is represented by the quick delivery of orders that are fulfilled in the same year as they were originated. The number of these events is few, as most contracts are not fulfilled in the year in which they are generated but rather are carried out over a period of many years. In order to estimate the scaled level of cooperation indicated by the ANC in any given year I convert each score to a standard z-score (where z = (x − μ) ⁄ σ) (where x = Aggregate Number of Contracts in a given year, μ = population mean, and σ = standard deviation of the population) and then assign a corresponding ordinal value based upon the number of standard deviations each score is above or below the population mean; z-scores are a representation of how many standard deviations a given score is above or below the population mean. The population mean is calculated using the average annual ANC for the years 1966 through 2012. I have chosen to use the post-World War II period of 1966 to 2012, rather than a shorter period more closely approximating the years of this study, because this expanded period is more likely to provide an accurate picture of long-term relations between Moscow and Tehran and therefore functions to assuage reliability concerns associated with any particular year or set of years. The year 1966, in particular, is chosen as a starting point because this represents the first year in the post-World War II era in which Moscow and Tehran formally entered into cooperative engagement in conventional weapons sales as indicated by SIPRI records. At the time of writing, SIPRI records do not account for 2013; in order to account for missing 2013 data, I simply assess the ANC z-score for 2013 as the mean of scores for 2011 and 2012 and derive a scaled Trade in Conventional Weapons (TCW) score based upon those data. Table 3.2 provides the coding scheme for translating ANC z-scores into the seven-point scale of dyadic cooperation. Thus, for example, in order to code a given year with the rating of strong cooperation, the ANC z-score in that year would need to be greater than or equal to 1.0 standard deviation above the population mean

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Table 3.2 Coding scheme for transforming Aggregate Number of Defense Contracts into seven-point scale of cooperation Level of cooperation

Coding scheme (ANC = aggregate number of contracts)

7 Strong cooperation 6 5 4 3 2 1

ANC z-score is (> or =) 1.0 standard deviations above population mean Moderate cooperation ANC z-score is (> or =) 0.5 standard deviations above population mean Basic cooperation ANC z-score is (> or =) 0.1 standard deviations above population mean Median point ANC z-score is (< or =) 0.1 standard deviations above or below the population mean Basic Non-cooperation ANC z-score is (> or =) 0.1 standard deviations below population mean Moderate non-cooperation ANC z-score is (> or =) 0.5 standard deviations below population mean Strong non-cooperation ANC z-score is (> or =) 1.0 standard deviations below population mean

(for a list of all ANC scores, ANC z-scores, and the resulting coded TCW score, see Appendix Table A.2). The value of this coding scheme can clearly be discerned by examining the data points in graphical format. Figure 3.1 clearly conforms to the expectation that Russian–Iranian bilateral political cooperation was either low or nonexistent throughout the 1970s and 1980s as a product of Cold War geo-political alignments, the 1979 Iranian revolution and Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, as well as the Soviet Union’s stated support for Iraq throughout the Iran–Iraq War. Similarly, Figure 3.1 confirms the anticipated swelling of bilateral relations that

Scaled level of cooperation

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Figure 3.1 Annual cooperation in the Trade in Conventional Weapons, 1966–2013. TCW scores are represented on a seven-point scale. Complete TCW data may be found in Appendix Table A.11 (sources: SIPRI, Arms Transfers Database. TCW scores based upon author’s calculations. SIPRI data accessed online on July 15, 2013 at www.sipri.org/databases/armstransfers).

Measuring bilateral relations: GPA 51 occurred throughout much of the 1990s and early 2000s, but also notably recognizes the significant decline in cooperation during 1992 when the two nations briefly supported adversarial factions in the Tajik civil war as well as the general downturn in relations that defines the period following 2006. A complete list of all annual TCW observations may be found in the Appendix under Table A.11.

Measuring InterState development assistance: Annual Cooperation in Nuclear Development (ACND) State-sponsored development assistance is here operationalized as Annual Cooperation in Nuclear Development (ACND). Complicating any effort to measure ongoing nuclear cooperation between Russia and Iran is the fact that Moscow has often pursued a multi-vectored policy. While Russia has ultimately satisfied its initial commitments to the IRI regarding assistance in the development of civilian nuclear power (i.e., construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant), the Kremlin and other elites have often pursued policies or actions which have simultaneously supported and undercut efforts to limit the proliferation of highly restricted technologies and materials essential to the development of a weaponized Iranian nuclear program; further complicating this scenario is the fact that policies/activities encouraging proliferation and non-proliferation occur at competing domestic and international levels. In order to make sense of these often contradictory data I have created a system which allows me to numerically code each observable instance of cooperation or non-cooperation in terms of a seven-point scale. Annual ACND scores are then determined by taking the average of all observable instances during a given year. Appendix Report 1 presents the coding scheme used to document each instance of cooperation or non-cooperation in nuclear development during a given year. Annual events are principally derived from Parker (2009) and Orlov and Vinnikov (2005), but these sources have been complemented by observations reported in Katzman (1998), Makarova and Kevorkova (2010), Gutterman (2011, 2013), Faulconbridge and Gutterman (2011), Bridge (2012), Tehran Times (2012), Charbonneau (2013), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (2013, July 2, July 16), Atomstroyexport (2013), and United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNBISNET website). Although Parker (2009) does not offer a formal dataset of events pertaining to nuclear cooperation, his text is richly populated by descriptions of such events, as well as the dates of their occurrence, and so represents the fullest chronicling of historical cooperation that is presently available. Extracting event information from the text of Parker (2009) and the above-named supplementary sources, I have created a timeline of pertinent data that can be coded according to the scheme presented in Appendix Report 1. The event data used in the construction of the ACND GPA sub-component are furnished in Appendix Report 2 and annual ACND scores may be found in Appendix Table A.11. The coding scheme represented in Appendix Report 1 makes three broad assumptions. In the first instance, the scheme assumes that higher levels of

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Scaled level of cooperation

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Figure 3.2 Annual Cooperation in Nuclear Development, 1966–2013. ACND scores are represented on a seven-point scale. Complete ACND data may be found in Appendix Table A.11 (Sources: Atomstroyexport; Bridge, 2012; Charbonneau, 2013; Faulconbridge & Gutterman, 2011; Gutterman, 2011, 2013; Katzman, 1998; Makarova & Kevorkova, 2010; Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005; Parker, 2009; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 2013, July 2, July 16; Tehran Times, 2012; UNBISNET website. Scaled annual cooperation data ares based upon author’s calculations. See Appendix Report 2 for a complete list of event data).

cooperation or non-cooperation will best be represented by those efforts to either aid or restrict Iran in the development of a militarized nuclear program. Although Iranian officials have long insisted that their government is not actively seeking a weaponized nuclear program, evidence of ongoing uranium enrichment activities, attempted acquisition of ballistic missile technology, and recent IAEA reports would suggest otherwise. In light of this, I assume that efforts aimed to aid the development of a distinctly militarized program represent a moderate level of collaboration, insofar as they prioritize bilateral cooperation over adherence to international non-proliferation agreements or international sanctions regimes which have been designed to restrict the development of an Iranian weaponized nuclear program. Efforts deemed likely to support the development of a much less controversial civilian nuclear program are assigned a lower magnitude cooperation score, and are here represented as instances of basic cooperation. In terms of non-cooperation, Russian efforts to restrict collaboration in Iran’s development of civilian nuclear power is classified as an instance of basic non-cooperation, while efforts to limit or restrict the development of a weaponized program are treated as examples of moderate non-cooperation. The second key assumption made by this coding system lies in the fact that it evaluates instances of both cooperation and non-cooperation undertaken in international venues such as the IAEA Board of Governors, the United Nations Security Council, and the Gore–Chernomyrdin Commission as inherently more vital to the status of bilateral relations than those events which occur within the domestic context. As such, the coding of Strong cooperation or Strong

Measuring bilateral relations: GPA 53 non-cooperation is reserved for those events taking place within the context of bilateral or multilateral international forums or venues. Thus, Russian efforts to block UNSC resolutions which seek to impair Iran’s dual-purpose nuclear programs are here represented as inherently more vital instances of cooperation than even those domestic directives or initiatives which lead to concrete proliferation. While the actual proliferation of restricted technologies may occur either illegally or as a byproduct of lax enforcement policies, diplomatic support or nonsupport in key international forums represents an explicit intention on the part of the state leadership to back Iran in its quest for both civilian and military nuclear power. Conversely, efforts to support sanctions or public condemnations against Iran in international forums are deemed to represent the highest levels of noncooperation (Strong non-cooperation), insofar as they represent the intentions of state leaders to side with nations which have been generally opposed to Iranian nuclear development aspirations. Based upon these criteria, Figure 3.2 depicts Annual Cooperation in Nuclear Development between Russia and Iran for the years 1966–2013.

Measuring general agreement on territorial divisions: Cooperation in Caspian Sea delimitation (CCSD) In this section I operationalize general agreement on territorial divisions as Cooperation in Caspian Sea Delimitation (CCSD). In order to construct a measurement capable of expressing qualitative changes in bilateral cooperation on Caspian delimitation, I begin by identifying five possible delimitation regimes that have been proposed or supported by the littoral nations since the collapse of the USSR. As discussed in the preceding chapter, treaties signed in 1921 and 1940 between Moscow and Tehran provided the framework for a long-standing delimitation agreement based upon a condominium principle of resource utilization where both the seabed and sea surface were owned equally by Russia and Iran, excepting a 10-mile sovereign offshore zone. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, all newly independent nations were obliged to uphold existing delimitation treaties until a new joint regime could be established. Renewed international interest in the Caspian’s abundant hydrocarbon resources during the 1990s placed pressure on each of the littoral states to quickly identify a delimitation regime that would maximize its own particular share of maritime resources—a contingency which thus jeopardized the initial post-Soviet status quo. Although Russia and Iran would initially remain jointly committed to a condominium approach to resource utilization, by 1998 pressures within the Caspian would lead to the dramatic polarization of Russian–Iranian positions, thereby fracturing the long-standing cooperative relationship. Although no new unanimous regime has yet been adopted, North Caspian nations today (Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan) have already entered into formal bilateral treaties which are used to justify ongoing exploration and production (E&P) activities in formal national sectors which are demarcated by a modified median line (MML). In contrast, both Iran and

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Turkmenistan today continue to adhere to the former Soviet–Iranian treaties emphasizing joint ownership and a condominium approach to resource extraction—claiming that no E&P activities can be undertaken until all littoral nations have endorsed a unanimous delimitation regime. Relying upon the research of Mahmoud Ghafouri (2008), I identify five possible post-Soviet delimitation regimes which can be scaled to represent distance intervals between Russia’s and Iran’s preferred policy positions in any given year (see Table 3.3). Ghafouri’s (2008) research is critical because it not only describes the variety of delimitation positions available, but also (informally) prioritizes the delimitation regimes according to each nation’s preferences: scaling the five delimitation positions I can thus determine the distance interval between Russia’s and Iran’s policy positions in any given year. Distance intervals between policy positions during a given year are then compared against a seven-point scaled indicator of cooperation to make a final determination regarding the annual level of Cooperation in Caspian Sea Delimitation (CCSD) (see Table 3.4). Table 3.3 presents the five proposed delimitation regimes in a scaled format, where lower positions on the scale are reserved for joint ownership positions and a condominium approach to natural resource development. As indicated previously, a condominium approach to resource development gives all littoral nations a potential veto power over exploration and production activities and so incentivizes joint projects which include all Caspian members as a means of defusing potential veto scenarios. As discussed, such a regime is thought especially favorable to Iran owing to the fact that hydrocarbon resource deposits in Iran’s South Caspian location are less prolific than in the North Caspian and are located at greater depths, thus raising the costs of production (Ghafouri, 2008, p. 89). The condominium approach subsequently provides Iran with greater access to Caspian resources and incentivizes all littoral nations to include Iran in E&P opportunities despite ongoing international sanctions. Although both Russia and Iran adhered to position 1 for the greater portion of the twentieth century (see Table 3.3), by 1996 Russia, Iran, and Turkmenistan had proposed extending the 10-mile offshore zone to a 45-mile offshore zone—position 2 in Table 3.3 (Ghafouri, 2008, p. 87). Thus the year 1996 is treated as the high point of CCSD owing to the fact that Russia and Iran were diplomatically able to agree upon an alteration to the existing regime, and were simultaneously capable of drumming up support from a neighboring littoral nation. The other end of the scale presented in Table 3.3 is represented by variations on the MML which divides the Caspian Sea into unequal national sectors. Position 4 had initially been endorsed by Azerbaijan, and sought to provide total state sovereignty over both the seabed and sea surface (Ghafouri, 2008, p. 87). By 1998 Russia and Kazakhstan would informally agree to the national sector approach outlined in position 5, which, although proposing national sovereignty over the seabed, left the sea surface freely navigable—a position which Ghafouri (2008) notes is likely appealing to Russia because it continues to ensure the free mobility of Russia’s Caspian-based naval fleet across all sea waters (pp. 88–9).

Measuring bilateral relations: GPA 55 Table 3.3 Scaled Caspian Sea delimitation positions of the five littoral nations Scaled Caspian Sea delimitation positions of the five littoral nations 1 Condominium approach to Caspian Sea resources where equal joint utilization of all living and nonliving resources is permitted with exception of 10-mile offshore national zones 2 Condominium approach to Caspian Sea resources where equal joint utilization of all living and nonliving resources (both seabed and sea surface) is permitted with exception of 45-mile offshore national zones 3 20% ESD of Caspian Sea under a unified, legal regime for both seabed and surface (a modified national sector approach)

4 MML division of Caspian seabed into sovereign national sectors with full state sovereignty over both seabed and sea surface 5 MML division of Caspian seabed into sovereign national sectors with joint usage of sea surface for navigation

Notes Iran: 1940–96; 1998–present Russia: 1940–96 Iran: 1996–8 Russia: 1996–8

Iran has advocated for this position but presently insists that a delimitation regime based upon the 1921/40 Soviet–Iranian treaties should persist until a new regime is established.

Russia: 1998–present

Source: Based upon discussion of Caspian Sea delimitation positions presented in Ghafouri (2008).

Azerbaijan agreed, informally, to the Russian–Kazakh position in January 2001 and later signed a trilateral agreement with Russia and Kazakhstan to divide the North Caspian along these same lines in May 2003 (Ghafouri, 2008, p. 88). According to Ghafouri (2008), position 5 described in Table 3.3 should be the least palatable position to Iran insofar as it not only significantly limits the IRI’s ability to access resources outside of its own diminished national sector (as is the case in both positions 4 and 5), but moreover because it provides Iran with no legal buffer against Moscow’s naval presence (p. 89). Thus, I infer that position 5 would be less favorable to Iran than position 4, where the sea surface is subject to national sovereignty claims. In response to the adoption of a national sector approach based upon a modified median line, Iran has suggested position 3 as a way to increase its share of Caspian maritime territory (Ghafouri, 2008, p. 89). Position 3 differs from the other national sector positions insofar as it proposes to provide each littoral nation with an equal 20 percent share of the seabed and sea surface (Ghafouri, 2008, p. 89). While position 3, in Tehran’s view, is a significant improvement over positions 4 and 5—both of which would leave Iran with a diminished 11 percent share of the Caspian—there is clear reason to suspect that Iran would still prefer joint ownership of the Caspian paired with a condominium approach to resource development (positions 1 or 2) insofar as this

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would maximize Iran’s ability to participate in lucrative exploration and production activities (Ghafouri, 2008, p. 89). Table 3.4 displays the coding scheme for the recognized distance intervals between delimitation positions and thereby establishes the annual level of CCSD on a seven-point ordinal scale. Between 1940 and 1996 Russia and Iran shared the same approach to delimitation (position number 1) with a distance interval between positions of 0 (where 1 − 1 = 0), thereby indicating a Moderate level of CCSD (level 6). Between 1996 and 1997 both nations moved simultaneously to adopt delimitation position 2 with a distance interval of 0 (where 2 − 2 = 0), gaining additional support for the new delimitation position from Turkmenistan, thereby indicating a strong level of cooperation (level 7). By 1998, however, the Russian Federation had dramatically altered its policy stance, adopting position 5 in tandem with Kazakhstan and later Azerbaijan. Moscow’s move subsequently forced Iran to return to a preference for position 1, which calls for adherence to the delimitation regime outlined in the 1921 and 1940 Soviet–Iranian treaties until such time as all nations can unanimously agree on a new regime (Ghafouri, 2008, p. 89). While Iran repeatedly advocates for position 3, I have chosen to code Iran as operating under position 1 since 1998 because leaders since that time have constantly insisted that position 1 is the legally accepted current schema in the absence of contemporary legal consensus (position 1 is supported by the 1940 Soviet–Iranian Treaty). The distance interval suggested by this change is therefore set at 4 (5 − 1 = 4), indicating the greatest possible Table 3.4 Coding scheme for cooperation in Caspian Sea delimitation (based upon scaled position differences presented in Table 3.3) Scaled level of cooperation 7 Strong cooperation 6 Moderate cooperation 5 Basic cooperation 4 Neither cooperation nor non-Cooperation 3 Basic non-cooperation 2 Moderate non-cooperation 1 Strong non-cooperation

Conditions Position difference = 0 Agreement over delimitation and dyad is capable of persuading other states to join delimitation regime Position difference = 0 Agreement over delimitation Position difference = 1 General agreement over delimitation Position difference = 2 Differing positions, but dyad demonstrates room for accommodation Position difference = 3 General disagreement over delimitation, marginal likelihood of accommodation Position difference = 4 Disagreement over delimitation, low likelihood of accommodation Position difference = 4 Disagreement over delimitation—one member of dyad has joined alternative delimitation regime with other state actors

7 CCSD 6 5 4 3 2 2012

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Measuring bilateral relations: GPA 57

Figure 3.3 Annual Cooperation in Caspian Sea Delimitation, 1966–2013. CCSD scores are represented on a seven-point scale. Complete CCSD data may be found in Appendix Table A.11 (source: Scaled annual cooperation data are author’s interpretation of discussion presented in Ghafouri, 2008).

level of distance between established delimitation positions. The fact that Russia has persuaded two other nations to adopt this rival position further indicates an increasing degree of polarization in policy positions within the Caspian, a condition which suggests a level of Strong non-cooperation (level 1) since 1998. The indicator of annual CCSD scores (Figure 3.3) quite clearly represents the narrative of Caspian cooperation discussed throughout the preceding chapter and further demonstrates the importance of taking a multidimensional approach to measuring political affinity. Although cooperation in the trade of conventional weapons and nuclear development continued roughly until 2006, it is clear that bilateral relations were already subject to a significant level of strain as early as 1998, when Russia began to adopt an increasingly adversarial position in matters of Caspian delimitation. Thus, while it is fair to say that the late 1990s and early 2000s may have represented an unprecedented level of defense and development cooperation between Russia and Iran, it is clearly also the case that overall affinity was simultaneously being moderated by changes in Caspian geo-politics. Such cases remind us that political relations between two nations are not without their fair share of contradictions, and that the quality of relations in any given year is best represented by a summary of all important political developments. We can consequently be increasingly assured that a multidimensional measurement of political affinity—as presented in the following section—represents our best effort at approximating the complex reality of Russian–Iranian relations.

Russian–Iranian General Political Association: revealing a dependent variable Figure 3.4 represents the annual level of GPA between Russia and Iran for the years 1966–2013. Annual scores represent the sum of all three underlying variables (Trade in Conventional Weapons; Nuclear Development; and Caspian Sea

Measuring bilateral relations: GPA Three-year moving average GPA

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GPA period averages from Chapter 2 above 1987–91: 13.4 1997–01: 13.475 2007–11: 8.76 1992–6: 16.025 2002–6: 10.19 2012–13: 8.8

Figure 3.4 Russian–Iranian General Political Association, 1966–2013. GPA scores are represented on a 21-point scale. Complete GPA data may be found in Appendix Table A.11 (source: Composite score based upon event data for TCW; ACND; CCSD. GPA composite score is calculated based upon the sum of annual scores for underlying sub-components; see sub-component figures 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3 for complete references).

Delimitation) and are expressed in terms of a 21-point scale of cooperation. Score tables for all years from 1966 to 2013 are located in the Appendix (see Table A.11) and provide annual data points for each sub-component of GPA. It will be noted that the summed indicator of GPA presented in Figure 3.4 closely corresponds to the historical discussion presented in Chapter 2. The measurement of GPA presented here not only confirms that bilateral relations between the two nations reached their highest point during the early to mid1990s, but it also clearly demonstrates how such cooperation began to diminish progressively starting in 1997 and how relations would continue to decline throughout the first decade of the twenty-first century. This close degree of correspondence to the preceding discussion should serve to increase efficacy in both GPA sub-components and also in their performance as a joint metric expressing bilateral political affinity. In terms of this model’s advantages, GPA’s 21-point scale not only enables researchers to differentiate between three broad categories of cooperation (high, moderate, and low), but more specifically, it can be used to illustrate minor fluctuations operating within each category or period of time. Thus, while the depiction of GPA here clearly mirrors the broad changes in cooperation highlighted in the preceding discussion, it also recreates the turbulence that has defined Russian–Iranian cooperation on a year-by-year basis. In this capacity, GPA proves itself an essential tool for representing the variable level of cooperation

Measuring bilateral relations: GPA 59 that has come to define bilateral relations in the post-Soviet era. In more generic terms, Figure 3.4 reminds us that while moderate levels of cooperation between Moscow and Tehran may tend to predominate, the potential to broaden cooperation is also invariably inherent. If periods of moderate cooperation serve to remind us of an abiding mixed utility for ongoing relations, periods of strong cooperation (as evident during the 1990s) also suggest that this unique political dyad maintains the ability to overcome its mutual apprehensions, and to deepen political collusion when necessary. Establishing the conditions which are responsible for the changing scale of cooperation is the object of the remainder of this study. As discussed in Chapter 1, there has been a great deal of speculation regarding those factors which are thought, specifically, to drive changes in cooperation or affinity across time. While many informal hypotheses have been made, there has been little (if any) effort to critically evaluate the influence of these disparate factors on political affinity across time. Establishing a dependent variable of GPA has been the first step in resolving this question empirically. In subsequent chapters, I attempt to evaluate those various factors and forces which are thought to be responsible for qualitative shifts in Russian–Iranian relations. By testing factors emphasizing national security considerations as well as the influence of domestic political conditions in both nations, I hope not only to develop useful knowledge about the fundamentals of Russian–Iranian relations, but wish also to add to the broad theoretical debate concerning the determinants of state behavior in the international system. Evaluating the utility of General Political Association While the indicator of GPA is well grounded in the tradition of literature detailing Russian–Iranian relations, there are simple steps that can still be taken in order to improve overall efficacy in its performance, and to dispel uncertainties about its viability as an indicator of bilateral political affinity. In this section I focus specifically upon resolving two key issues with GPA. In the first instance, I evaluate whether or not GPA should reasonably be comprised solely of political sub-components or whether it should also include some component of economic data. Testing the data, I determine that an additional economic sub-component would not greatly improve the explanatory power of GPA and so determine to preserve the composite indicator as it has been presented in this chapter. In the second instance, I evaluate whether or not GPA does, in fact, measure what it specifically purports to, i.e., the bilateral political affinity of Moscow and Tehran. Testing GPA for both discriminant and convergent validity, I determine that GPA is in fact a strong predictor of bilateral political affinity between the two nations.

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Test 1: Evaluating the utility of adding an economic sub-component In this section I seek to evaluate whether or not GPA could be greatly improved by adding an economic sub-component to its underlying set of politically oriented variables. While principal component analysis may be used to determine those underlying factors which should reasonably be included in a composite variable, the low number of observations precludes any robust statistical analysis, and encourages me to evaluate the utility of its sub-components using an alternative methodology. By correlating GPA with an overtly economic variable, it is possible to determine whether or not bilateral relations are substantively premised upon economic concerns. In the event that GPA correlates highly with the economic data, it would be natural to assume that economic considerations are a principal part of the dyad’s ongoing interactions with one another, and that any measure of GPA should therefore include some attention to economic data. In the event that GPA does not strongly correlate with the economic variable, it would be safe to conclude that bilateral relations are predominantly grounded in overtly political considerations, and that the sub-components of GPA—as presented in this chapter—should remain unchanged. In order to measure the changing utility of the dyad’s economic partnership to both Russia and Iran, I express the value of each nation’s exports to the other as a percentage of all of its global exports during a given year. The utility of the economic partnership for each nation is therefore represented as: RUS_EU or IRN_EU = [(Ex_nation ⁄ Ex_world) × 100] where EU = economic utility of partnership to a given nation; Ex_nation = the total value of exports (in goods) to the partner nation during a given year; and Ex_world = the total value of all national exports (in goods) during a given year. Data for these variables are derived from the International Monetary Fund’s Direction of Trade Statistics (July 2013) database, and are based upon annual export data (referred to among IMF data series as TXG) for both nations for the years 1981–2012. Data between 1981 and 1991 correspond to exports between the USSR and Iran, while data between 1992 and 2012 correspond to exports between the Russian Federation and Iran. Annual data for the variable expressing each nation’s economic utility for partnership (RUS_EU or IRN_EU) can be found in the Appendix in Tables A.3 and A.4. In order to determine whether or not there is any meaningful level of association between GPA and both Russia’s and Iran’s economic utility for partnership (RUS_EU and IRN_EU), I utilize the Spearman’s Rank Correlation method. I have chosen to employ the Spearman’s test, rather than the more commonly used Pearson’s method, because all three of the variables in this round of testing lack normal distribution—a fundamental condition for utilizing the Pearson’s method in bivariate analysis. The determination that all three variables lack normality is made on the basis of three Shapiro–Wilk tests conducted

Measuring bilateral relations: GPA 61 in SPSS, where significance values for all three tests were found to be less than 0.05, thereby indicating a lack of normal distribution. Insofar as GPA itself is non-normally distributed, all subsequent tests of correlation involving GPA (in this and forthcoming chapters) will be performed using the Spearman’s approach. In terms of conducting the Spearman’s Rank Correlation test, for the purposes of this study I choose to define an association between the two variables as significant whenever the rho correlation coefficient is greater than + 0.4 or − 0.4, and where the corresponding p-value is significant at less than 0.05. Where rho coefficients are found to be less than + 0.4 or – 0.4, I determine the strength of association to be weak and therefore indicative of a lack of reliable or substantive association. Results presented in Table 3.5 indicate that GPA is not significantly associated with either nation’s economic utility for partnership. In the case of Russia’s economic utility for partnership, RUS_EU and GPA not only fail to correlate above the predetermined threshold of 0.4, but also demonstrate a lack of statistical significance where p > 0.05. In the case of Iran’s economic utility for partnership (IRN_EU), a positive correlation coefficient of 0.383 is found to be statistically significant at p < 0.05. While this finding expresses a low level of correlation between variables, the strength of the association fails to exceed the predetermined rho coefficient threshold of 0.4, causing me to reject the association between variables as weak or insignificant. Based upon these findings, I can reasonably estimate that political relations between Moscow and Tehran (as depicted in GPA) are not likely to be a function of either nation’s expected utility for economic partnership. This finding provides significant empirical support for the decision to exclude economic sub-components from the formulation of GPA. Thus, I conclude that GPA would not be significantly enhanced by the addition of economic data, and so continue to accept my original proposition that Russian–Iranian relations can best be evaluated as a function of a distinct set of inherently political matters surveyed in both this and the preceding chapter.

Table 3.5 Correlation matrix for analysis of GPA and Economic Utility for Partnership Variable

N

rho coefficient

2-tailed p-value

Significance

RUS_EU IRN_EU

32 32

0.050 0.383

0.784 0.030

p > 0.05 p < 0.05

Source: Economic utility data are derived from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)¸ Direction of Trade Statistics database. IMF variable identifier is TXG (goods, value of exports), reported in current US dollars. Notes Calculations performed in SPSS. Economic utility for Russia and Iran (RUS_EU and IRN_EU) is represented as the percentage of Russian or Iranian global exports that are derived from trade with the partner nation. RUS_EU = Russian economic utility for partnership. IRN_EU = Iranian economic utility for partnership.

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Test 2: Testing for discriminant and convergent validity of GPA In this section I seek to evaluate whether or not GPA can reasonably be found to measure the concept of bilateral political affinity between Moscow and Tehran, as it purports to do. While this study does not employ the Multitrait Multimethod Matrix approach to testing construct validity, which has been popularized by Campbell and Fiske (1959), I do seek to evaluate the overall efficacy of GPA by subjecting it to simple tests of convergent and discriminant validity—concepts in validity testing which are introduced by Campbell and Fiske (1959). Successfully testing for both discriminant and convergent validity enables this study to reasonably claim: (1) that GPA is not measuring some concept other than bilateral political affinity; and (2) that GPA is an accurate yet unique measurement of bilateral relations. Taken together, this round of tests should function to substantially increase overall efficacy in GPA’s ability to meaningfully depict bilateral political affinity between Moscow and Tehran. Test of discriminant validity In order to determine whether or not GPA may be measuring some concept other than bilateral political affinity, I have formulated an alternative concept which GPA could reasonably be claimed to represent. With the Islamic Republic of Iran listed by the IMF as an emerging and developing economy, it is possible to assume that GPA does not merely reflect bilateral political relations, but rather represents the broadly changing quality of USSR/Russian relations to all countries of this same socio-political and economic class—what might be referred to as the Global South. In this manner, periods of intense cooperation represented by GPA could be taken to indicate a growing policy convergence between Moscow and the world’s developing countries. Alternately, periods of diminished cooperation may represent a move away from the Global South toward a state of heightened relations with the world’s developed economies, i.e., the Global North. In order to determine whether or not this may, in fact, be the case, I attempt to correlate GPA with an indicator representing Russia’s relations to the Global South (RUS_GS). To operationalize this concept, I simply calculate the annual percentage of the USSR/Russian Federation’s total global exports which are derived specifically from trade with nations representing the Global South—or what the IMF Direction of Trade Statistics database refers to as emerging and developing countries. Russia’s relations to this bloc of developing nations may, therefore, be represented as: RUS_GS = [(Ex_GS ⁄ Ex_world) × 100] where RUS_GS = Russian relations to the Global South; Ex_GS = Value of Russian exports to the Global South and Ex_world = the total value of all Russian global exports during a given year.

Measuring bilateral relations: GPA 63 Data for this indicator are derived from the International Monetary Fund’s Direction of Trade Statistics July 2013 database, which provides uninterrupted export data between the USSR/Russia and all countries classified as emerging and developing countries for the years 1981–2012. As in the previous round of testing, data prior to 1992 are culled from USSR export statistics and data post1992 are taken from Russian Federation figures. Data for RUS_GS may be found in Appendix, Table A.5. The methodology used in this test mirrors the approach established in the previous section, relying upon the Spearman’s method of determining correlation among non-normally distributed variables. This test was conducted using SPSS software. As Table 3.6 demonstrates, a weak correlation coefficient of 0.068, along with a p-value greater than 0.05, indicates, clearly, the lack of association between variables. Interpreting these results, I can conclude that the indicator of GPA is therefore unlikely to represent, generically, Russian relations to nations of the Global South. In light of its finding, this test provides direct empirical support for the claim that GPA functions as a discrete measurement of Russian–Iranian bilateral relations. Test of convergent validity Any test for discriminant validity must, however, be supplemented by a simultaneous effort to demonstrate that GPA does in fact generally function as a solid indicator of bilateral political affinity in a direct manner. In a test for convergent validity, the researcher is tasked with locating an alternate variable that could also be claimed to directly represent the concept being measured, in this case bilateral political affinity. In those instances where a strong positive correlation between the two variables can be obtained, it can be assumed that the target variable is, in fact, accurately representing the concept in question. If, however, correlation is found to be insignificant, then it may conversely be assumed that the target indicator is unlikely to be a good predictor of the concept in question; thus both tests of discriminant and convergent validity work together to demonstrate the likelihood that the target indicator models what it purports to. In this section I attempt to determine whether there is any meaningful correlation between GPA and the similarity of Russian–Iranian security alliance

Table 3.6 Correlation matrix for test of discriminant validity Variable

N

rho coefficient

2-tailed p-value

Significance

RUS_GS

32

0.068

0.710

p > 0.05

Source: Export data are derived from International Monetary Fund (IMF)¸ Direction of Trade Statistics database. IMF variable identifier is TXG (goods, value of exports), reported in current US dollars. Notes Calculations performed in SPSS. RUS_GS represents USSR/Russian exports to emerging and developing countries expressed as a percentage of total world exports (1981–2012).

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portfolios. The usage of security alliance portfolios to measure the affinity of governments dates back to Bruce Bueno de Mesquita’s (1975) introduction of the Tau-b measurement of alliance portfolio similarity. This indicator was later employed by Organski and Kugler (1980), Kim (1991), and Tammen et al. (2000) in power transition research as a means for evaluating the likely affinity between individual governments and the state leader of the international system. In 1999 Signorino and Ritter presented what they have described as an improved method for evaluating the similarity of alliance portfolios (Signorino & Ritter 1999). Known widely as the S-calculation of alliance portfolio data, this measurement has become the sine qua non for measuring this relationship, and has been made popularly available by Bennett and Stam’s Expected Utility and Data Management Program otherwise referred to as EUGene (version 3.204) (Bennett & Stam, 2000, 2007). EUGene alliance portfolio data are derived from the Correlates of War (COW) version 3.0 Formal Alliance dataset (Bennett & Stam, 2007, p. 88; Correlates of War, 2003; Gibler, 2009; Singer and Small, 1966; Small and Singer, 1969; Gibler and Sarkees, 2002). As in previous sections, I correlate GPA with S utilizing the Spearman’s method, relying upon the same criteria previously established for determining significance. Data for S have been culled from EUGene for the years 1966 to 2000; EUGene does not provide alliance portfolio data for years after 2000. The specific calculation of alliance portfolio data utilized in this series of tests represents regional weighted data—wherein state alliance portfolios are limited to states within the region and where S scores are further weighted by taking into account state capabilities data obtained from the Correlates of War National Material Capabilities dataset (Bennett & Stam, 2007, pp. 38, 88; Correlates of War, 2005; Singer, 1987; Singer, Bremer & Stuckey, 1972). Data for S may be found in Appendix Table A.6. Table 3.7 demonstrates that the correlation between GPA and S is significant and in the expected direction. With a rho correlation coefficient just above the minimum threshold of 0.4 and p < 0.05, we can reasonably assume that GPA does, in fact, operate as a measurement of bilateral political affinity. Equally important, however, is the finding that correspondence between the two variables Table 3.7 Correlation matrix for test of convergent validity Variable

N

rho coefficient

2-tailed p-value

Significance

S

35

0.408

0.015

p < 0.05

Sources: Calculations performed in SPSS. Variable S = similarity of Russian–Iranian security alliance portfolios (1966–2000) as calculated by EUGene software version 3.204 (Bennett & Stam, 2000, 2007). EUGene’s methodology for calculating S is attributed to Signorino & Ritter (1999) and is compiled on the basis of weighted regional data deriving from the following Correlates of War datasets: Formal Alliances (Bennett & Stam, 2007, p. 88; Correlates of War, 2003; Gibler, 2009; Singer & Small, 1966; Small & Singer, 1969; Gibler & Sarkees, 2002); and “National Material Capabilities” (Correlates of War, 2005; Bennett & Stam, 2007, p. 88; Singer, 1987; Singer, Bremmer, & Stuckey, 1972) datasets. EUGene software is available online at www.eugenesoftware.org/.

Measuring bilateral relations: GPA 65 is not overly robust. In the event that both variables had correlated strongly with one another, we would be required to accept the premise that S—as an existing measure of political affinity—was equally well tasked for evaluating the relation of governments, thereby calling into question the necessity of an alternative methodology as has been presented by GPA. In contrast, the lower—yet still significant—level of correspondence at 0.408 should help to provide reassurance that GPA is measuring bilateral political affinity, and that it also stands as a unique, alternative means of measuring relations between Moscow and Tehran. Given this indicator’s strong foundation in literary traditions detailing Russian– Iranian relations as presented in Chapter 2, there is every reason to suspect that GPA likely outperforms the more generic indicator of S in accurately modeling Russian–Iranian relations.

Conclusion In consideration of the above testing regime, I find that GPA can reasonably be understood to represent Russian–Iranian bilateral political relations. In the first instance, it is apparent that the three distinctly political sub-components should not be further augmented by the addition of an economic variable. As demonstrated, political cooperation is not significantly associated with either nation’s estimation of the value of economic partnership; in other words, partnership of these two nations does not depend upon perceptions of overall economic utility. In the second instance, validity testing indicates that GPA is not reflective of some concept other than bilateral political affinity, and that it can reasonably serve as an unprecedented model of the status of political relations between Russia and Iran. In light of these findings, this study offers GPA as an innovative and accurate means for monitoring changes in Russian–Iranian political relations across time.

4

Evaluating the impact of national security calculations upon General Political Association A macro-level analysis

Introduction Having successfully established a dependent variable of political affinity, this study seeks to empirically evaluate the claims of analysts and scholars alike concerning those specific factors deemed pertinent to fluctuations in bilateral relations throughout the post-Soviet era. As indicated in Chapter 1, the broad range of independent factors linked to changes in affinity—and the complexity of their underlying arguments—makes it both efficient and critical to align such arguments within larger conceptual groups. In the remainder of this study I evaluate the status of Russian–Iranian relations as a function of both macro-level national security calculations (Chapter 4) and micro-level changes in the domestic politics of each nation (Chapters 5—7). Because the study of Russian–Iranian relations has been largely defined by its overall lack of a systematic or structured investigation, clarity in argument may be greatly enhanced by taking care to evaluate—separately—those factors representative of a macro or micro level of analysis. While the decision to isolate arguments according to macro or micro levels of inquiry may have certain theoretical advantages within the field of international relations, such efforts—more importantly—will greatly enhance the analyst’s ability to make generalizations about this unique relationship, thereby highlighting the most profitable areas of inquiry for future research. Although the authors of these various arguments have infrequently, if ever, couched their discussions in overtly theoretical terms, each of the arguments to be presented here lends distinct merit to a particular level of inquiry, thereby inviting classification and association. Insofar as this chapter focuses, specifically, upon the influence of changing security conditions to bilateral relations, the arguments presented in Chapter 4 may also be viewed in largely neo-realist terms and are therefore consistent with a Waltzian mode of analysis (Waltz, 1979). In contrast, subsequent chapters focusing upon the relevance of changing trends in domestic politics to bilateral affairs may be viewed as arguments representing a more decidedly liberal interpretation of interstate relations as is found in the tradition of scholarship initiated by Andrew Moravcsik (1997). While this study will not engage in a direct discussion of international relations (IR) theory, it is nevertheless important to note

National security calculations and GPA 67 that this project has been structured in a manner which may also prove useful to those interested in analyzing the relative utility of specific IR models in international affairs research. In the following pages of Chapter 4, I utilize a macro-level framework to reveal the security-related pressures that were operating on both Russia and Iran during the 1990s—hypothesizing that such pressures substantially contributed to the high level of bilateral cooperation that defined dyadic relations during the last decade of the twentieth century. Subsequently, I will argue that as those same security conditions which tended to favor affinity began to decline, so also did Russian–Iranian cooperation. I conclude that while cooperation may have served the needs of both Iran and Russia during the 1990s, thereby fostering a strong mutual commitment to conventional arms sales, nuclear development, and agreement on Caspian Sea delimitation, it no longer served the needs of the political dyad during the 2000s—a contingency which contributed to the declining state of cooperation which defines the first decade of the twenty-first century. In later sections of this chapter I formalize, test, and evaluate these claims before proceeding on to mirco-analytic arguments that are grounded in domestic political developments which are presented and evaluated in subsequent chapters.

The state security imperative: macro-level explanations for changes in General Political Association in the post-Soviet era In the literature surveyed for this study, three primary arguments emphasizing the centrality of extant security concerns to political cooperation between Moscow and Tehran have predominated. In the first instance, scholars have argued that aggressive NATO expansion, as well as both nations’ relatively diminished military and economic power, in the early post-Cold War era induced Moscow and Tehran to deepen bilateral cooperation as part of a power–balancing strategy (Freedman 1997, 2001; Parker, 2009, pp. 85, 91; Trenin et al., 2004, pp. 186–90). In the second instance scholars have argued that cooperation between Moscow and Tehran throughout the 1990s was a natural outcome at a time when both nations faced significant security pressures emanating from the process of state failure in Afghanistan which brought the Taliban to power (Parker, 2009, Chapter 8; Trenin et al., 2004, pp. 186–90; Human Rights Watch, 2001). Lastly, scholars have variously argued that bilateral cooperation between Moscow and Tehran has been (or will increasingly be) sensitive to both nations’ competitive efforts to serve downstream natural gas markets in Europe and elsewhere (Freedman, 1997, pp. 106–7, 2001, p. 68; Goldman, 2008, pp. 46–7, 186; Kemp, 2000, pp. 150–1; Olcott, 2004, pp. 11–13; Parker, 2009, p. 154). While the Russian Federation presently maintains a near monopoly over gas supply routes to European markets, Iran’s enormous natural gas reserves and geo-strategic location will make the Islamic Republic a formidable competitor to Russian energy hegemony both if and when it frees itself of international sanctions and becomes a favorable destination for international investment.

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Argument 1: The impact of NATO on bilateral relations Among the literature surveyed for this study, scholars have indicated that the quality of Russian–Iranian relations in the post-Cold War era may have been conditioned, in some part, by the general expansion of NATO into the nations of Central and Eastern Europe (Freedman, 1997, pp. 102–3, 2001, p. 68; Parker, 2009, pp. 85, 91; Trenin et al., 2004, pp. 186–90). In this line of reasoning the argument can be made that following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Iran–Iraq War, the two nations shared the feature of greatly diminished national military and economic power. In the face of successive NATO expansions during 1995 and 1999 we might argue that the increasing power of NATO relative to both Russia and Iran encouraged both capitals to deepen their partnership as part of a power-balancing effort. Parker (2009) writes: Russia had its own reasons for pursuing closer cooperation with Iran. In spring 1993 the first prospects of NATO expansion had prompted anti-U.S. feelings and subsequently greater interest in some Moscow quarters in cooperation with Iran in general and in Tajikistan and Afghanistan specifically. (p. 85) Robert O. Freedman (1997) similarly notes that between 1995 and 1996 Russian–Iranian relations were becoming increasingly cooperative, indicating that a growing desire for solidarity was declared mutual in 1996, when Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati expressed his nation’s support for Russian opposition to NATO expansion during a visit to Moscow (p. 103). By Freedman’s (1997) account this sentiment was echoed shortly thereafter in a public announcement made by Russia’s then Deputy Foreign Minister Albert Chernyshev (p. 103). Yet if NATO expansion had fueled cooperation during the 1990s, why then would subsequent periods of expansion during the 2000s not have led to a similar bilateral response? With the controversial expansion of NATO into former Soviet and Warsaw Pact countries in 2004 and 2009 occurring alongside steadily diminishing levels of affinity, there is substantial reason to reject the proposition that NATO expansion has been instrumental to bilateral cooperation across time. Still, we may suspect that the impact of NATO expansion may be less about the question of an expanding membership base, and more about the implications expansion has for each nation’s perceived relative level of power vis-à-vis NATO. According to this line of reasoning, we may suspect that heightened levels of cooperation during the 1990s may have been brought about by perceived low levels of Russian and Iranian relative power which would have been consistent with the experience of both nations in the immediate wake of both the Iran–Iraq War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Subsequently, we may infer that the general collapse of cooperation occurring during the 2000s was due to a rising disutility for cooperation as a result of increasing levels of

National security calculations and GPA 69 Russian and Iranian national power relative to NATO—a situation which would have diminished each nation’s overall perception of threat associated with NATO expansion. But the relative power of NATO has not been the only security-oriented factor thought to be important to fluctuations in Russian– Iranian relations across time—regional geo-politics have frequently been cited as having a strong influence on the political dyad, and it is to that which we now turn. Argument 2: The impact of state failure on bilateral relations Though it is not specifically mentioned as a generic determinant of qualitative changes in Russian–Iranian relations, scholars have frequently made indirect arguments concerning the importance of state failure to bilateral outcomes. High levels of bilateral cooperation throughout the 1990s are frequently associated with such instances of state failure in Central Asia, particularly with reference to the political destabilization and subsequent civil wars in both Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Conversely, the restoration of or increase in state power has also been associated with a general downturn in bilateral cooperation, implying that interstate cooperation functions as a temporary measure with which to combat a shared security concern. Unlike the direct or potential threat posed by other state powers or inter-governmental security complexes such as NATO, the threat posed by state failure differs insofar as it presents an indirect challenge to state security which arises when a nearby or neighboring government has lost the effective capacity to control or regulate trans-border flows of goods, persons, and even ideologies, which may be harmful to the well-being of the government or the political status quo. As mentioned above, state failure in Afghanistan and the rise to power of the Taliban have been repeatedly cited as having had a significant and positive impact upon bilateral cooperation throughout the 1990s. Specifically, analysts have suggested that the robust levels of bilateral cooperation which were evident throughout the 1990s were, in part, a response to the condition of state failure in Afghanistan that accompanied the rise of the Taliban, a scenario which effectively amplified a series of extant domestic threats to state security in both Russia and Iran. While both nations maintained vastly different motives for aiding both the Afghan central government and Northern Alliance forces in their fight against the Taliban, the clear threat of state failure in Afghanistan may have been the rallying call to both nations which pushed bilateral affinity to its high point between 1996 and 1997—what Parker has referred to as the “peak” of their cooperation (Parker, 2009, p. x). Parker (2009) has also insisted that following the defeat of the Taliban by NATO forces in 2001, and the restoration of a central governing authority in Afghanistan, high levels of cooperation between Moscow and Tehran were no longer essential (pp. 185–6). In this manner, the case of Afghan state failure followed by reempowerment of the state has been used to explain high levels of cooperation during the 1990s and the much diminished state of cooperation during the 2000s. I hypothesize that this particular

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scenario may in fact be indicative of a much larger trend, wherein General Political Association between Moscow and Tehran remains sensitive to instances of state failure which occur in geographical areas that are proximate to both nations. In the case of the Russian Federation, scholars have indicated that the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan had led to destabilizing flows of radical political Islam into the predominantly Muslim republics of Russia’s North Caucasus— particularly Chechnya—during a period in which the Russian Federation appeared extremely vulnerable to the threat of secession (Freedman, 1997, pp. 103–4; Parker, 2009, Chapter 8, specifically pp. 169–70, 101; Trenin et al., 2004, pp. 186–90; for more information on Afghan influences on the Chechen resistance movement see Hughes, 2007, pp. 97–103, and Trenin et al., 2004, pp. 189, 192). While the Chechen independence movement had begun in 1992 as a distinctly political dispute based upon questions pertaining to the perceived legal rights of an autonomous republic to form an independent nation, between 1994 and 1997 the nature of this dispute is said to have changed markedly in response to the impact of foreign Islamist ideology (Hughes, 2007, pp. 16, 102). Throughout the course of the first and second Chechen wars, the resistance movement is argued to have become saturated by Islamist ideology and rhetoric which sought increasingly (and deliberately) to link the political struggle for independence to the Wahhabist goals of establishing a pan-national Islamist state within the Caucasus and Central Asia (Hughes, 2007, Chapter 4, see specifically pp. 97–8, 102–3). Framed by a new quest to achieve an independent Muslim nation, Chechnya’s once isolated independence movement became (by the late 1990s) increasingly associated with calls for the independence of all Muslim republics of the North Caucasus, thereby presenting a significant challenge to the sovereignty of the newly independent Russian Federation. While the Chechen resistance movement would become increasingly tied to a diverse array of foreign sources of Islamist support throughout the 1990s, scholars have cited the Taliban as being, perhaps, one of the most important early influences on the redirection of the political movement. Citing reports from the United States Defense Intelligence Agency, author James Hughes indicates that already by 1994 the Taliban had provided direct logistical support to Chechnya’s resistance movement when it first hosted a series of training missions between Chechen fighters and Al-Qaeda militants in Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan (as cited by Hughes, 2007, p. 101). According to Hughes’ (2007) account, the growing network of affiliations between Chechen rebels and AlQaeda operatives in this Taliban-supported framework would become a direct conduit not only for the flow of foreign fighters and funding to the front, but also for the simultaneous export of Wahhabist ideology into the North Caucasus (p. 102). The increasing closeness of the Taliban and the Chechen liberation movements was further demonstrated when on January 16, 2000 the Taliban leadership chose publicly to recognize the independence of Chechnya from the Russian Federation (Grant, 2000, p. 869). According to Thomas D. Grant (2000), just one week after this announcement Chechen authorities declared their

National security calculations and GPA 71 intention to open an embassy in the Afghan capital of Kabul (p. 870). Although not formally recognized as a legitimate government by the world community (Grant, 2000, pp. 872–80), the Taliban’s near total control over the territory of Afghanistan during this period likely functioned to more closely align the Chechen resistance movement to the pan-national Islamist struggle, thereby increasing foreign sources of logistical and financial support to the independence movement (Hughes, 2007, p. 102). By working directly with the Islamic Republic to support anti-Taliban forces between 1996 and 2001, Russian leaders were thus simply responding to the radicalization of independence movements in the North Caucasus which had taken place as a result of progressive state failure in Afghanistan. By working directly with regional governments such as Iran, Moscow sought to mitigate the threat posed to its own security by non-state actors. Along this line of reasoning, I argue that the high levels of political affinity evident during this period were, in part, the product of Russian efforts designed to court the support of the Islamic Republic in Moscow’s ongoing war against Islamist campaigns in the North Caucasus. The case for Iranian cooperation against the Taliban is wholly different but, again, is clearly motivated by the desire of Tehran to mitigate the dangers associated with state failure in neighboring Afghanistan. In the case of Iran, analysts have argued that the growing influence of the Pakistani-backed, Sunni Taliban during the mid- to late 1990s presented an increasing threat to both Iran’s local Shia clients as well as to its overall level of political influence in Afghanistan, thereby encouraging Iran to work cooperatively with Moscow to arm and support anti-Taliban forces beginning in 1996 (Parker, 2009, pp. 170, 179; Human Rights Watch, 2001). More importantly, perhaps, Parker (2009) has indicated that as the Taliban gained control over significant portions of Afghan territory, its “chaotic economic policies and wide-scale repression . . . sent resurgent streams of Afghans across the border into Iran,” thereby imposing a significant humanitarian and economic cost upon the Islamic Republic (p. 170). While levels of Afghan refugees living in Iran during the Taliban period had actually declined from prior levels during the Soviet occupation of the 1980s (from approximately 2.8 million persons down to roughly 2 million by 1994), it is clear that ongoing political instability (i.e., conditions of state failure) in Afghanistan due to the Taliban’s war with the central government had, in fact, functioned to discourage or slow the overall return of Afghan refugees to their homeland (Marshall, 2008; Wiznitzer, 1987). According to the Center for Systemic Peace’s dataset on forcibly displaced populations, it was not until 2004— just three years after the Taliban’s defeat by NATO forces and the empowerment of the Karzai government in December 2001—that Iran’s refugee population diminished to its present level of approximately 1 million persons (Marshall, 2008). According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (hereafter referred to as UNHCR) the Islamic Republic today remains home to “one of the largest and most long-staying refugee populations in the world,” comprised predominantly of Afghans, some of whom have been in Iran since the 1980s (UNHCR, n.d.). According to Iran’s Bureau for Aliens and

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Foreign Immigrants’ Affairs, of the 882,659 registered refugees living in Iran as of October 2011, 95 percent or 840,158 persons were from Afghanistan with the remainder originating from neighboring Iraq (as cited by UNHCR, n.d.). Impossible though it may be to quantify the tremendous political, economic, and social impact a refugee population of this magnitude and longevity has had on the Islamic Republic’s well-being, there can be little question that these conditions were critical in motivating Iran to work with Russia in direct support of forces opposed to the Taliban between 1996 and 2001. Along these same lines, Parker has also indicated that drug trafficking associated with the rise of the Taliban has become a significant problem for both Iran and Russia insofar as it greatly swelled illegal flows into both nations (Parker, 2009, p. 170). I estimate that the substantial increase in General Political Association which was evident throughout the 1990s may, therefore, be explained as the result of shared security costs which had accrued to both Moscow and Tehran following the advent of state failure in Afghanistan. Conversely, analysts have explained some of the lag in bilateral cooperation that occurred following 2001 as the product of the Taliban’s defeat by NATO forces and the subsequent reempowerment of the Afghan central government (Parker, 2009, pp. 185–6); such arguments tend to suggest that the growing and shared disutility of cooperation had begun to emerge in response to the restabilization of Afghanistan. Such a breakdown in cooperation following the demise of a mutual security concern is anticipated, theoretically, by neo-realist models of international relations, which traditionally have reasoned that in the absence of a common threat, cooperation between nations will begin to fracture as each partner begins to worry over the set of relative advantages which may otherwise accrue to the other as a result of a sustained level of cooperation (Waltz, 1979, p. 105). Thus, while the mutual benefits of cooperation may have been useful incentives that had once endeared Moscow and Tehran to one another in the face of political destabilization and rising Taliban influence, sustained cooperation— in the absence of such threats—could have been interpreted as providing potentially harmful relative gains to both parties over the long term, thereby leading to a diminishing sense of security and a growing disutility for cooperation. In both cases, the restabilization of Afghanistan appears to have been associated with the resolution of those extant security concerns in Iran and Russia which had been the impetus for cooperation. In Iran, the severe reduction of the Afghan refugee population between 2003 and 2004 not only stands as a testament to the improved conditions inside Afghanistan compared to those of the 1990s, but more importantly represents a significant reduction of domestic socioeconomic pressure on Iran’s central government. In the case of the Russian Federation, NATO occupation and the reestablishment of central government authority over Afghanistan likely served to mitigate the impact of, or to disrupt, significant financial and logistical networks supporting Wahhabist independence movements in the North Caucasus. This situation was further complemented by Moscow’s installment of the Kadyrov regime in Chechnya, a regime that has been empowered by the Kremlin to prosecute what has been a largely successful

National security calculations and GPA 73 (though highly destructive) counter-insurgency campaign. Although Russia continues to suffer the kind of brutal terrorist attacks that became the hallmark of Chechen revolutionaries in the late 1990s, the real threat of secession in the North Caucasus, it would seem, has been mitigated for the time being (for information on the success of Russia’s proxy regime in Chechnya on the issue of separatism see: Hughes, 2007, pp. 118–27; Nichol, 2010, p. 9; Slider, 2005, pp. 176–7). Where the destabilization of Afghanistan in the 1990s had previously inflamed extant domestic threats to the state security of both nations, by 2003 it was clear that external and internal threats were largely on the decline. In the face of restabilization, cooperation is here argued to have become increasingly unnecessary. Argument 3: The importance of energy competition to bilateral cooperation The third argument explored in this chapter is that Russian–Iranian bilateral relations remain sensitive to latent competition over opportunities to control downstream natural gas markets in Europe and elsewhere (Freedman, 1997, pp. 106–7, 2001, p. 68; Goldman, 2008, pp. 46–7, 186; Kemp, 2000, pp. 150–1; Olcott, 2004, pp. 11–13; Parker, 2009, p. 154). With the Russian Federation largely controlling gas supply to Central and Eastern European markets while also holding substantial stakes in gas supply to Western European nations, Iran is positioned to become one of Moscow’s chief competitors—potentially driving down market prices and reducing Moscow’s political leverage. The impact of this potential competition on Kremlin policy should not be underestimated. According to analysts, this latent competition can be dated back to 1993, when Kremlin elites began to endorse Azerbaijan’s right to begin formal exploration and production opportunities in its self-proclaimed national sector prior to any multilateral renegotiation of the existing Caspian Sea delimitation regime. Threatening to reduce Iran’s scale of participation in Caspian resource development, the Kremlin’s support of Azerbaijan led to a series of events that would ultimately tarnish the two nations’ otherwise cooperative relationship during the 1990s. In 1994 and 1995 Tehran responded to this assault on its Caspian prospects by opening formal discussions with leaders in Turkey and Turkmenistan on the possibility of constructing an alternative gas corridor that would bypass Russia’s existing supply system—thereby threatening Russian hegemony over European gas imports (Kemp, 2000, p. 153; Olcott, 2004, pp. 11–13; Parker, 2009, p. 154). In light of these events, it is reasonable to conclude that Moscow’s subsequent decision in 1996 to adopt an alternative Caspian delimitation regime (that would favor the immediate resource development of North Caspian nations) was both a reprisal for Iran’s energy aspirations in Europe and an overt effort to control westward flows of Central Asian resources. The adoption of this regime not only indicated that the Russian Federation would function as a reliable partner to Caspian nations in upcoming energy development and export projects, but

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simultaneously (as described in chapters 2 and 3) served to restrict Iran’s ability to access maritime energy resources in the resource-rich waters of the northern Caspian Sea. By providing Central Asian nations with quick access to its own existing pipeline system and curtailing Iran’s ability to expand its participation in emerging energy opportunities in the Caspian, Russia effectively preserved its downstream market share in Europe and therefore was, no doubt, able to diminish the overall utility of an alternative Iranian energy corridor. Conflictive relations over Iran’s European aspirations would continue into the next decade when the Tabriz–Ankara line was officially opened in December 2001. Just one month after the pipeline became operational, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia (via Gazprom) would spearhead the creation of a new gas alliance among Central Asian producers (Parker, 2009, p. 149). While this new alliance aimed to provide Russia with control over all regional exports to European markets, Parker indicates that it simultaneously sought to further undermine Iran’s efforts to capture or develop its own downstream European market (Parker, 2009, p. 149). Whereas Moscow and Tehran had shown themselves to be collaborative partners in matters of defense and nuclear development throughout this period, when it came to the issue of market development for their energy products it was clear that the two capitals were quite frequently bitter rivals. Much of this competition, it would seem, may be attributed to ongoing developments within the Russian Federation specifically. While individuals within the Kremlin leadership had maintained close ties to the energy industry since the earliest days of post-communism, in the period since 1998 the state has become increasingly dependent upon the energy sector for its ability to serve as a tool of both power and legitimacy. Analyst Anita Orban (2008) has argued that the reduction of Russia’s hard power capacity in the early postSoviet era had encouraged political elites in 1997 to reevaluate the utility of the nation’s vast energy reserves and its supply architecture to serve as a means for projecting political influence in the face of anticipated NATO and European Union expansion in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) (p. 49). With control over the gas supply to CEE markets, as well as through its more recent appetite for gaining controlling stakes in newly privatized energy assets throughout the CEE, Moscow has become remarkably effective at securing sizeable leverage over public policy throughout the region (see Bugajski, 2008; Kupchinsky, 2009). Nowhere has Moscow’s leverage been more instrumental than in the case of Ukraine, where successive gas supply interruptions and higher pricing tactics have been instrumental not only in thwarting Ukraine’s western geo-political ambitions, but also more recently in securing the return of a Kremlin-friendly government, in addition to extended lease terms for its Black Sea fleet which is stationed in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula (Harding, 2010; Kramer, 2008). But Moscow’s control over CEE energy markets affords it more than simple political leverage abroad. Since the dramatic rise in global energy prices in 1998, the state has become increasingly dependent upon energy receipts through the collection of tax revenue. While energy receipts accounted for just 25 percent of all federal revenue in 1998, by 2008 such receipts were found to account for 50

National security calculations and GPA 75 percent of the government’s federal budget (Foglizzo, 2008; Kwon, 2006, p. 2). Not only do these receipts fill state coffers but, perhaps more importantly, they serve to empower Kremlin elites domestically, in the face of ongoing public debates over questions of political legitimacy. With the bulk of tax revenue supplied not by Russian citizenry, the Kremlin has effectively engineered a scenario where it remains largely independent of the demands of society, giving it the freedom to pursue its own unique policy agenda. According to Celeste Wallander (2007), these rather generous energy receipts have been used to underwrite an extensive network of patron–client relationships which are thought to be essential to maintaining the domestic political status quo. In light of the increasing importance of foreign energy markets in the projection of Russian state power and domestic political legitimacy, there can be little doubt that the development of Iran’s energy export capacity to Eurasian nations (particularly in the natural gas sector) would have a highly negative impact upon bilateral relations. While sanctions presently restrict Iran’s ability to become a meaningful competitor within existing Russian markets, scholars have argued that competition would be greatly fueled in the event that such sanctions were rescinded and if Iranian leaders were to prove themselves willing to undertake the necessary reforms to attract greater levels of international investment. Based upon the arguments developed in this chapter, I formulate the following set of hypotheses: Hypothesis 1: Changes in Russian–Iranian bilateral cooperation are negatively associated with Russia’s changing perceptions of its own national power relative to the power of NATO.

Hypothesis 2: Changes in Russian–Iranian bilateral cooperation are negatively associated with Iran’s changing perceptions of its own national power relative to the power of NATO.

Hypothesis 3: Changes in Russian–Iranian cooperation are positively associated with changing conditions of state failure occurring within mutually proximate regions.

Hypothesis 4: Changes in Russian–Iranian cooperation are negatively associated with changes in Iran’s relative export capacity of natural gas to downstream markets abroad.

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Testing design While the short time frame and number of observations for the period in question (1991–2013) does preclude robust statistical analysis, we should not be discouraged about our ability to accurately evaluate the hypotheses developed above. To help ensure the quality and reliability of testing results, I utilize a highly routine yet simple process of evaluation. In the first instance, this process seeks to determine whether or not there is any meaningful level of association between the independent variables described above and the dependent variable of General Political Association. To establish this fact I first determine the level of correlation between variables utilizing the Spearman’s method as it was presented in Chapter 3—recognizing the Spearman’s approach to be the correct method in light of the non-normal distribution which characterizes the measurement of GPA. The Spearman’s method proves useful here because unlike the more traditional Pearson’s method, it does not require both variables to be normally distributed. Correlation testing is used here largely as a gate-keeping function in order to winnow out any highly insignificant relationships. As in Chapter 3, I define an association between variables as significant whenever the rho correlation coefficient is greater than + 0.4 or − 0.4, and where the corresponding p-value is less than 0.05. In those cases where observations are determined to be statistically significant (p < 0.05), but the strength of association falls below the minimum threshold of + 0.4 or − 0.4, I reject the relationship as weak and therefore indicative of a lack of reliable or substantive association. Cases determined to be significant are then subjected to further graphical analysis in order to demonstrate their functional relevance to the study at hand. By representing both variables along a scatter-plot, I determine whether or not significant increases or decreases in the independent variable are, in fact, meaningfully associated with patterns of generic cooperation or non-cooperation which are present in bilateral relations. Specifically, scatter-plots seek to identify discrete values in the independent variable that can be reasonably associated with periods of high, moderate, or low levels of cooperation. By developing threshold values for the various levels of cooperation, this study will not only enhance our ability to make empirically verifiable predictions concerning bilateral relations, but also invest the ongoing dialogue among analysts with a degree of structure that has—up to this point—been largely lacking. In an effort to more closely examine the nature, strength, and reliability of association between variables, significant cases are then submitted to a third round of time-series analysis. By transforming both independent and dependent variable strings into standard z-scores, I graphically depict the nature of association between the two variables on a year-by-year basis to determine if changes in the relationship generally accord with the historical argument developed throughout the relevant chapter. Simultaneously, time-series analysis enables one to determine whether or not the nature of association depicted by correlation testing has been relatively consistent throughout the entire period of the study or whether there have been specific time periods in which changes in GPA have

National security calculations and GPA 77 appeared largely unrelated to changes in the independent variable. Where weaker periods of association are evident, we may reason that other factors had become increasingly important to GPA, thereby reconfirming the need for a complex independent variable based upon multiple factors rather than a single proxy. In order to compare data strings temporally, I convert all observations into standard z-scores which are defined as: z = (x − μ) ⁄ σ where x represents the raw unit score, μ the population mean, and σ the standard deviation of the population. I anticipate that while testing will reveal significant levels of association between independent and dependent variables, third-round testing will reveal consistent periods of weak association, thereby indicating that some other set of intervening factors will be required to predict changes in GPA more accurately over time. As discussed in the Introduction above, I anticipate that arguments favoring security maximization will provide us with only a partial explanation for changes in bilateral cooperation; in order to improve upon these results I contend we must also account for the impact of domestically oriented factors— factors which will be both discussed and evaluated in subsequent chapters. Operationalization of hypotheses In this section I proceed to redefine operationally the four hypotheses presented above so as to convert their propositions into empirically falsifiable statements. In all instances, cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran is here redefined as the annual level of General Political Association—the scaled, composite variable constructed in chapters 2 and 3. Hypothesis 1: Changes in Russian–Iranian bilateral cooperation are negatively associated with Russia’s changing perceptions of its own national power relative to the power of NATO.

Hypothesis 2: Changes in Russian–Iranian bilateral cooperation are negatively associated with Iran’s changing perceptions of its own national power relative to the power of NATO. In order to evaluate whether or not Russian and Iranian cooperation is responsive to the changing relative power of NATO (and therefore indicative of a generic balancing strategy), I expect that both nations’ need to employ a balancing strategy is fundamentally a product of their own perceived level of national

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power relative to that of NATO’s combined member power during any given year. In this instance I define national power as each nation’s annual gross domestic product or GDP—where Russian and Iranian national power are referred to as RUS_PWR and IRN_PWR, respectively. To derive NATO’s combined member power (NATO_PWR), I sum the GDP data for all member nations for each year between 1991 and 2013—accounting for rounds of membership expansion which occurred during 1999, 2004, and 2009. The usage of GDP as a proxy for state power is a commonly accepted tradition within scholarship insofar as it represents not only the economic vitality of nations but, more importantly, the potential tax and resource base of governments across time— goods which can be used in the service of power. While this study does not utilize the specific metric employed by either Organski and Kugler (1980) or Tammen et al. (2000) to determine the quality of national power, both accounts serve to establish support for the conceptual importance of GDP-related data to developing an estimation of state power or capabilities. In contrast to the metric utilized in this study, both Organski and Kugler (1980) and Tammen et al. (2000) indicate that state power is a complex function of: state performance; total population; and political capacity (Organski & Kugler, 1980, pp. 33–4, 66–71; Tammen et al., 2000, pp. 15–20). GDP data utilized in this study are derived from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators dataset, and is expressed in constant 2005 U.S. dollars. While the World Development Indicators dataset provides continuous GDP data for Russia between 1991 and 2013, annual data for Iran do not presently exist for years following 2009. Tests conducted for each nation are limited to the years in which available data exist starting in 1991. In order to measure Russia’s and Iran’s annual perceptions of NATO’s changing relative power (RUS_PERC and IRN_PERC), I divide each nation’s annual GDP by NATO’s combined GDP member data, thereby expressing Russian and Iranian power as a percentage of NATO’s member power. This operation is performed separately for both Russia and Iran in accordance with hypotheses 1 and 2. By expressing Russian and Iranian GDP as a percentage of GDP data for all NATO members during a given year, I am able to estimate both Moscow’s and Tehran’s changing perceptions regarding the nature of their own national power—relative to the security organization as a whole on an annual basis. The formula for determing each nation’s perception of NATO’s relative power can be presented as follows: RUS_PERC = [(RUS_PWR)/(NATO_PWR)] × 100 IRN_PERC = [(IRN_PWR)/(NATO_PWR)] × 100 Thus, I anticipate that whenever Russia or Iran perceives its level of national power to have diminished relative to NATO, each nation will be increasingly incentivized to promote bilateral cooperation as a means for balancing against the growing power disparity. Conversely, I expect that whenever Russia or Iran

National security calculations and GPA 79 Table 4.1 Russian and Iranian annual perceptions of national power relative to NATO member power, 1991–2012

1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

Russian GDP relative to combined NATO member GDP (RUS_PERC)

Iranian GDP relative to combined NATO member GDP (IRN_PERC)

4.427728819 3.699076219 3.329831198 2.816009018 2.63049042 2.467235238 2.412380426 2.205560896 2.218567055 2.344942236 2.427878529 2.503026621 2.633847828 2.711898518 2.810353117 2.950465146 3.122332775 3.284630494 3.135404045 3.201673718 3.279420685 3.358966245

0.632265108 0.644293511 0.625020462 0.602447575 0.602657856 0.628000623 0.62605729 0.620982542 0.598424793 0.604585209 0.617496437 0.653456465 0.686448449 0.692995081 0.706320876 0.726043139 0.763307637 0.780492823 0.822794067 – – –

Source: GDP data are derived from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators dataset and are expressed in constant 2005 US dollars. World Bank data accessed online at http://databank.worldbank.org/data/views/variableselection/selectvariables.aspx?source=world-developmentindicators#s_g. Notes Figures represent Russian and Iranian national power expressed as a percentage of combined NATO member power annually. National power is based upon country GDP data for Russia, Iran, and all NATO member countries. Calculations performed by author

perceives its level of national power to have increased relative to NATO, each nation will recognize fewer incentives to increase bilateral cooperation, thereby resulting in a downward or negative pressure on GPA. To express this in more basic terms, I anticipate that Russian and Iranian perceptions of national power relative to NATO’s combined member power are negatively associated with changes in GPA. Table 4.1 presents the resulting data expressing Russian and Iranian annual perceptions of NATO’s relative power. Hypothesis 3: Changes in Russian–Iranian cooperation are positively associated with changing conditions of state failure occurring in mutually proximate regions.

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In Hypothesis 3, I operationalize the level of state failure occurring in mutually proximate regions as the average magnitude of state failure occurring within all geographical sub-regions that share at least one terrestrial or maritime border with both Russia and Iran. Thus, I anticipate that as the aggregate condition of state failure in all relevant sub-regions increases, Russian–Iranian GPA will also increase in order to balance against security threats associated with, or stemming from, state failure. Conversely, I expect that as the aggregate condition of state failure in all relevant sub-regions decreases, Russian–Iranian GPA will diminish, thereby reflecting the retirement of a balancing tactic. To estimate the Regional Magnitude of State Failure (RMSF) in a given year, I rely upon data obtained from the Center for Systemic Peace’s “Political Instability Task Force (PITF) State failure Problem Set” (Marshall, Gurr, & Harff, 2013). The State Failure Problem Set records and codes annual event data for individual nations that are determined to be evidence of state failure through 2012. While the dataset provides a diverse array of event data on both revolutionary and ethnic wars as well adverse regime changes and genocides/politicides, I have decided only to utilize data pertaining to revolutionary and ethnic wars as these conditions approximate, most closely, to those conditions experienced by Afghanistan during the 1990s. Insofar as the Afghan case, more than any other, has been used to describe the impact of state failure on Russian–Iranian relations, I have chosen to use the particular indicators of Afghan state failure as a coding model for other nations within all relevant geographical sub-regions. In order to identify those geographical regions which share a terrestrial or maritime border with both nations, I simply determine which countries within a particular sub-region share a border with both Russia and Iran. It should be further clarified that Russia and Iran are here each required to share a land or maritime border with a single member of a sub-region, but that they are not required to border the same sub-region member. In order to identify particular sub-regions, I rely upon the coding series of state actors that has been developed in the Correlates of War (n.d.) database of country codes, which is organized both numerically and geographically. Based upon these parameters, I have identified three geographical sub-regions that are mutually proximate to both nations: the Trans-Caucasus; West Asia; and Central Asia (see Table 4.2). While Iran is listed as a member of the West Asian sub-region, I choose to exclude event data for the IRI in order to evaluate the impact of destabilizing conditions in thirdparty regional members on the Russian–Iranian political dyad. Regarding the construction of annual RMSF scores, I rely upon PITF event data pertaining to both “revolutionary” and “ethnic” wars—variables which are represented by a scaled, categorical indicator that measures the “summary annual magnitude” of the event (AVEMAG) and is calculated as the mean of three subfactors: the annual magnitude of the rebels or combatants engaged in fighting (MAGFIGHT); the magnitude of annual fatalities (MAGFATAL); and the annual magnitude of the country’s affected area (MAGAREA) (Marshall et al., 2013, pp. 3–4). In all cases, PITF “summary annual magnitude” scores (AVEMAG) for revolutionary and ethnic wars are represented on a five-point

National security calculations and GPA 81 Table 4.2 Index of mutually proximate regions to Russia and Iran Geographical sub-region

Countries

COW abbreviations

COW sub-region code

Trans-Caucasus

Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan

ARM, GRG, AZE

371–373

IRN, TUR, IRQ, EGY, SYR, LEB, JOR, ISR AFG, TKM, TAJ, KYR, UZB, KZK

179–188

West Asia Central Asia

700–705

Source: Sub-regions of nations are based upon the Correlates of War (COW) state classification system as utilized in the COW Country Codes dataset which is available at www.correlatesofwar. org/datasets.htm.

scale ranging from 0 to 4, including a score of 9 for those instances where there is “no basis for judging” the scale of the event (Marshall et al., 2013, pp. 8–9). Because a score of 0 on each of the indicator’s three sub-components (MAGFIGHT, MAGFATAL, and MAGAREA) does not indicate the absence of an event—but only rather low levels of combatants, fatalities, or affected area—I have determined to increase all sub-component values for revolutionary and ethnic wars by a value of 1, so that countries experiencing no conditions related to revolutionary or ethnic wars during a given year may also be accounted for. MAGFIGHT, MAGFATAL, and MAGAREA sub-component scores are thus transitioned from a five-point scale ranging from 0 to 4 to a new six-point scale, now ranging from 0 to 5. Thus, a value of 0 for each of the three sub-components will denote a lack of an event, while values ranging from 1 to 5 will indicate increasing levels of combatants, fatalities, and percentages of a country’s affected area as depicted by the PITF coding scheme (for PITF event scaling procedures and coding scheme see Marshall et al., 2013, pp. 8–9). No values of 9 were recorded in the specific event data extracted from the original PITF dataset, thus no other data manipulations were required to successfully transition all scores to the new six-point scale described above. In order to reflect these adjustments, I rename each of the three sub-components for revolutionary and ethnic wars accordingly. The new adjusted variables are renamed: AD_MAGFIGHT, AD_MAGFATAL, and AD_MAGAREA. Adjusted summary annual magnitude scores (AD_AVEMAG) for both revolutionary and ethnic wars are subsequently calculated using the same procedures employed by PITF to determine traditional AVEMAG data (Marshall et al., 2013, p. 9). Thus, AD_AVEMAG (adjusted summary annual magnitude) for either revolutionary or ethnic wars represents the sum of annual data for AD_ MAGFIGHT, AD_MAGFATAL, and AD_MAGAREA. In order to maintain uniformity with PITF procedures, I similarly replace all AD_AVEMAG scores

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which include a decimal, with a standard decimal value of 0.5 (Marshall et al., 2013, p. 9). Thus a score of 2.6 or 2.3 will be replaced with 2.5. Individual country scores during a given year are determined by calculating the sum of AD_AVEMAG data for both revolutionary and ethnic wars during that year. This metric subsequently portrays each country’s exposure to state failure conditions upon an 11-point scale which ranges from values of 0 (for no recorded events) to 10 (representing the greatest magnitude of state failure conditions). The final variable denoting the RMSF is subsequently calculated by taking the mean of all country scores for those nations included in each of the three mutually proximate sub-regions (excluding Iran) which are defined in Table 4.2. Because no PITF event data are yet available for 2013, I choose to account for missing 2013 data by averaging RMSF scores for 2011 and 2012. All RMSF annual scores are presented in Appendix Table A.7. Hypothesis 4: Changes in Russian–Iranian cooperation are negatively associated with changes in Iran’s relative export capacity of natural gas to downstream markets abroad. Although international sanctions present strict challenges to the further development of Iran’s natural gas export capacity in terms of pipeline development and international partnership opportunities, we are not wholly restricted from testing the veracity of Hypothesis 4. One way of measuring the impact of Iran’s relative gas export capacity on bilateral relations is to focus exclusively upon the changing disparity which exists between Russian natural gas production and Iranian natural gas production, what I refer to as the Russian–Iranian natural gas production gap. While Russia far outperforms Iran in terms of annual gas production levels, the production gap between the two nations steadily diminished between 1992 and 2012, thereby raising the prospect of energy competition. Despite the fact that the Russian Federation has increased its hegemony over European gas markets during the time period of this study, an analysis of Russian gas production data reveal that Russia’s annual production capacity increased by only 1.6 percent between 1992 and 2012 (British Petroleum [BP], 2013). While Russia’s production numbers, in absolute terms, far exceed the production levels of the Islamic Republic, Iran experienced a net increase in production capacity of 545.8 percent between the years 1992 and 2012 (BP, 2013). Clearly Iran’s ability to export gas products has been hampered both by international sanctions and by increasing annual rates of domestic gas consumption (which largely parallel production numbers), yet the steady increase in Iranian production capacity does present a clear potential challenge to Russian gas exports in some future scenarios. The lifting of international sanctions, reduction in domestic gas consumption, and the regime’s improvement of FDI conditions in the nation’s energy industry would all clearly function to improve production capacity well beyond its present levels, thereby threatening Russia’s gas export industry.

National security calculations and GPA 83 To measure the changing natural gas production gap between Russia and Iran, I have simply expressed Iran’s annual natural gas production levels as a percentage of Russian levels during the same time period, relying upon historical statistics from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy (2013). I refer to this variable as Iranian relative production of natural gas (IRP_NG), where IRP_NG = Iranian annual natural gas production/Russian annual natural gas production. Thus, I anticipate that as IRP_NG increases (indicating a decrease in the production gap) Russia will increasingly view the Islamic Republic as a potential energy competitor, resulting in negative pressure on GPA. Conversely, I anticipate that an increase in the production gap due to diminished IRP_NG will function to assuage Russian concerns of potential energy competition, thereby freeing up the bilateral relationship from negative pressures associated with competition. In this event I expect an expanding production gap to have a decidedly positive impact upon GPA. BP natural gas production data for both nations as well as the resulting annual IRP_NG score are presented in Table 4.3. Table 4.3 Russian and Iranian natural gas production, 1992–2013

1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

Russian natural gas production (bcf )

Iranian natural gas production (bcf )

Iran’s relative production of natural gas (%) (IRP_NG)

56.23381719 54.13762067 53.17447361 51.52836773 52.4441469 49.84723831 51.53712361 51.83482361 50.99464168 50.91545596 52.13252361 54.33025009 55.31696148 56.12520597 57.58262259 57.28098244 58.05879666 51.05187261 56.97379107 58.7295994 57.14744208 –

2.412203721 2.619090173 3.076729497 3.415363247 3.763037804 4.547367496 4.837624996 5.452970895 5.812446085 6.385664995 7.256437494 7.885328743 8.191843835 10.01388374 10.50732149 10.82660474 11.22157171 12.69005789 14.14037786 14.68702949 15.48634789 –

4.289596263 4.837837607 5.786102406 6.628122329 7.175324658 9.122606688 9.386680235 10.51989862 11.39815066 12.54170246 13.91921394 14.51369859 14.80891867 17.84204364 18.24738266 18.90087125 19.327944 24.85718396 24.81909242 25.00788297 27.09893448 26.05340873

Source: Natural gas production data obtained from British Petroleum, Statistical Review of World Energy (2013). Gas production data are presented in billions of cubic feet (bcf). Notes IRP_NG represents Iran’s annual natural gas production levels as a percentage of Russian production levels during a given year. Data for 2013 are not presently available. IRP_NG data for 2013 are presented as the average of 2011 and 2012 figures. Calculations performed by author.

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Correlation testing as presented in Table 4.4 provides preliminary evidence to support two of out of the four proposed hypotheses (hypotheses 2 and 4), but fails to demonstrate support for hypotheses 1 and 3. In the case of Hypothesis 1, which evaluates the level of association between RUS_PERC and GPA, testing demonstrates a weak level of negative association (− 0.288), where p > 0.05. Although the relationship occurs in the anticipated negative direction, a low level of association which fails to meet the established correlation coefficient threshold of + 0.4 or − 0.4, and a lack of statistical significance, do not provide sufficient grounds for rejecting the null hypothesis that Russian perceptions of its own national power relative to NATO are not negatively associated with GPA. Based upon these findings, I am unable to establish support for the argument which is presented in Hypothesis 1. Conceptually, this finding fails to establish empirical support for the argument presented on pp. 68–9 above that proposes Russian–Iranian cooperation to be a function of Russia’s changing perceptions of national power relative to NATO. Testing does, however, demonstrate strong support for the hypothesis that GPA is negatively associated with Iran’s estimations of its own national power relative to NATO. As anticipated by Hypothesis 2, IRN_PERC and GPA correlate in the expected direction at a level of − 0.720, a value which is significant at p < 0.01. These results enable me to reject the null hypothesis that there is no negative level of association between Iran’s changing perceptions of its own national power relative to NATO and GPA. Subsequently, these results provide preliminary empirical support for Hypothesis 2 which indicates that Iran’s estimations of its own national power relative to NATO are negatively associated with changes in GPA during the post-Soviet era. In the case of Hypothesis 3, testing reveals a lack of empirical support for the argument that Russian–Iranian relations are positively associated with the changing conditions of state failure occurring within mutually proximate regions. A correlation coefficient expressing association at 0.381, with p > 0.05 suggests a weak and statistically non-significant level of bivariate association. Based upon these preliminary findings, I am unable to reject the null hypothesis as required, and so cannot establish empirical support for Hypothesis 3. By contrast, results Table 4.4 Correlation matrix for macro-level analysis Hypothesis

Variable

N

rho coefficient

2-tailed p-value

Significance

1 2 3 4

RUS_PERC IRN_PERC RMSF IRP_NG

22 19 22 22

−0.288 −0.720 0.381 −0.852

0.194 0.001 0.081 0.000

p > 0.05 p < 0.01 p > 0.05 p < 0.01

Notes Calculations performed in SPSS. All variables correlated with GPA. RUS_PERC = Russian perceptions of national power relative to NATO. IRN_PERC = Iran’s perceptions of national power relative to NATO. RMSF = Regional Magnitude of State Failure. IRP_NG = Iran’s annual production of natural gas relative to Russian production levels.

National security calculations and GPA 85

General Political Association

in Hypothesis 4 testing demonstrate a robust negative correlation coefficient of − 0.852 that occurs in the expected direction and is significant at the level of p < 0.01. These findings enable me confidently to reject the null hypothesis of no negative correspondence between variables, thereby providing preliminary support for the argument presented in Hypothesis 4 which states that Iran’s production of natural gas, relative to production levels of the Russian Federation, is negatively associated with the quality of bilateral political relations. Because the Spearman’s method of determining correlation depends principally upon translating raw data strings into a ranked order of observations (i.e., recoding data), it is important to evaluate the raw data in graphical format so as to ensure that associational findings are of functional significance. By using scatter-plots in the second round of testing to record the intersection of raw data points, I hope not only to further confirm hypotheses 2 and 4, but intend also to develop more specific information concerning the nature of bivariate association in each instance. Following scatter-plot analyses I subject each set of significant variables to a third round of analysis, focusing upon the presentation of the data in the context of a graphical time-series. As stated previously, the transformation of both independent and dependent variable strings into standard z-scores, enables me to graphically depict the nature of association on a year-by-year basis and is used to determine whether or not observable trends in the data can generally be said to accord with the historical argument developed throughout the chapter. As expected, Figure 4.1 demonstrates a clear negative linear relationship between Iranian perceptions of national power relative to NATO and GPA. While correlation data and graphical analysis cannot be used to establish a definitive case

21 19 High cooperation 17 15 1991–2001 13 2002–9 11 Moderate 9 cooperation 7 5 Low 3 cooperation 1 0.55 0.57 0.59 0.61 0.63 0.65 0.67 0.69 0.71 0.73 0.75 0.77 0.79 0.81 0.83 0.85 Iran’s national power expressed as a percentage of combined NATO member power (IRN_PERC)

Figure 4.1 Iran’s national power relative to NATO’s aggregate member power (IRN_ PERC) and General Political Association. Observations represent all years between 1991 and 2009. IRN_PERC is calculated utilizing country GDP data as a proxy for Iranian national power and NATO’s aggregate member power. Complete IRN_PERC data may be found in Table 4.1 (source: GDP data are derived from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators dataset, and are expressed in terms of constant 2005 US dollars).

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2.5

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2 1.5 1 0.5 0 –0.5 –1

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for causality, such tests taken together provide substantive empirical support for the argument developed earlier in this chapter that Iran’s sensitivity to NATO’s relative power has had an enduring impact upon bilateral relations. By imposing a linear trendline upon the data, Figure 4.1 also can be used to make generic observations about the nature of bivariate association. These can be used not only to enhance our overall predictive capacity but also to aid future empirical efforts. Specifically, Figure 4.1 demonstrates that high levels of bilateral cooperation between Tehran and Moscow (GPA score 14.0 and higher) may generally be expected whenever Iran’s national power represents less than 0.63 percent of NATO’s combined member power. Moderate levels of bilateral cooperation (GPA range 7.0–13.99) may also generally be expected to occur whenever Iran’s national power exists within a range between 0.63 percent and 0.81 percent of NATO’s combined member power. Using the linear trendline as a guide, it would also be reasonable to anticipate that low levels of bilateral cooperation (GPA range 1.0–6.99) will be more likely to occur whenever Iran’s national power rises above a threshold value of 0.81 percent of NATO’s combined member power. In Figure 4.2, indicators of both GPA and Iran’s national power relative to NATO (IRN_PERC) are transformed into standard z-scores and examined in the context of a time-series—a process which provides for a comparison of the

Figure 4.2 Iran’s national power relative to NATO member power (IRN_PERC) and General Political Association—time series data, 1991–2009. All variables are expressed in terms of standard z-scores. IRN_PERC is calculated utilizing country GDP data as a proxy for Iranian national power and NATO’s aggregate member power. Complete IRN_PERC data (prior to transformation into standard z-scores) may be found in Table 4.1 (source: GDP data are derived from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators dataset, and are expressed in terms of constant 2005 US dollars. Historical price data for crude oil are reported in BP, 2013. Statistical Review of World Energy, 2013: expressed in constant 2011 US dollars. Data accessed online a: www.bp.com/ en/global/corporate/about-bp/statistical-review-of-world-energy-2013.html).

National security calculations and GPA 87 relative magnitude of annual scores for both indicators by evaluating individual data points in terms of their overall deviation from the population mean. The graph provides clear support for the argument that Tehran’s sensitivity to NATO’s relative power has been a critical motivating factor in terms of its relations with Moscow. As the figure demonstrates, low magnitude scores representing Iran’s national power relative to NATO (IRN_PERC) throughout the 1990s are accompanied by high magnitude GPA scores throughout the same period. As anticipated, Figure 4.2 also clearly demonstrates that increasingly high IRN_ PERC levels experienced during the 2000s were accompanied by a series of lower magnitude GPA scores throughout the same period. When taken together, results in figures 4.1 and 4.2 demonstrate empirical support for the traditional argument developed in this chapter which suggests that a diminishing sense of Iranian national power relative to NATO will be accompanied by an increase in political relations as Tehran attempts to enact a power-balancing strategy in order to defray the costs associated with low relative power. These results also provide empirical support for the converse argument which has suggested that as Iranian national power improves in relative terms against NATO member power, Tehran will be increasingly incentivized to abandon its power-balancing strategy, emboldened by its relative gains. While it may be tempting to argue that NATO expansion, specifically throughout the late 1990s and 2000s (1999, 2004, and 2009), encouraged increasing bilateral cooperation, a review of Figure 4.2 clearly demonstrates that Iranian national power relative to NATO increased—despite the successive rounds of NATO expansion—and that it was accompanied by falling levels of GPA. In light of these findings there is no compelling reason to suggest that Iranian ties to the Russian Federation have been motivated by successive rounds of NATO expansion. A more expedient explanation for the potential relationship between Iranian perceptions of national power relative to NATO and GPA may be found in the close association that exists between such power perceptions and Iran’s oil income which is closely tied to oil price fluctuations. Given the importance of oil exports to both Iranian GDP and government revenue (Mohamedi, n.d.), we may speculate that as rising crude prices between 1998 and 2008 pushed Iranian GDP ever higher, the boost in economic vitality functioned to reduce the power differential between Tehran and NATO which had characterized the 1990s and which had coincided with a heightened state of bilateral political relations. Relying upon historical prices for crude oil reported in BP (2013), Figure 4.2 indicates robust support for this proposition by demonstrating not only a consistently negative association between crude oil prices and GPA (with a rho coefficient of – 0.702 which is significant at p < 0.01), but also a very close degree of correspondence between oil prices and Iranian perceptions of national power relative to NATO (rho coefficient of 0.854, which is significant at p < 0.01). Thus while collaboration may have been a necessary balancing strategy during the 1990s—when low energy prices and international sanctions restricted Iran’s GDP growth and thereby inflated the power differential with NATO—by 2000 it was clear that security concerns over NATO’s

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General Political Association

relative power were easing in the face of rising energy prices. In the context of an increasingly robust sense of national power vis-à-vis NATO, it may reasonably be argued that Tehran began to devalue the utility of its power-balancing behavior and thus cooperation with Moscow—a scenario which is supported by declining levels of GPA throughout the following period. In the case of second and third round analysis of Hypothesis 4, Figure 4.3 demonstrates, as expected, a robust level of negative association between variables, thereby providing additional empirical support for the argument that changes in Russian–Iranian political cooperation may be associated with changes in Iran’s relative export capacity of natural gas. The imposition of a linear trendline over scatter-plot data is once again used here to generate reasonably specific data regarding the nature of the relationship. Interpreting data in relation to the established trendline, Figure 4.3 demonstrates how high levels of bilateral cooperation (where GPA is greater than 14.0) can be expected whenever Iran’s annual natural gas production output equals less than 9 percent of corresponding Russian production figures. As Iran’s production levels increase to a range approximating 9–28 percent of Russian annual production figures, Figure 4.3 indicates that GPA will progressively diminish from moderate-high levels of cooperation to moderate-low levels (GPA range between 13.99 and 7.0). According to this trend, low levels of bilateral political cooperation may similarly be anticipated whenever Iranian production represents more than 28 percent of Russian levels during a given year. Findings in Figure 4.3 provide strong support for the argument described in this chapter which suggests that the narrowing of the natural gas production gap will negatively impact levels of bilateral political cooperation.

21 19 17 15 13 11 9 7 5 3 1

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8

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Iranian natural gas production as a percentage of Russian gas production (IRP_NG)

Figure 4.3 Iranian natural gas production relative to production levels in the Russian Federation (IRP_NG) and General Political Association. Observations represent all years between 1992 and 2013. Complete IRP_NG data may be found in Table 4.3 (source: IRP_NG is based upon natural gas production data derived from British Petroleum Statistical Review of World Energy, 2013: Historical Data Workbook.

National security calculations and GPA 89

2.5

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2 1.5 1 0.5 0 –0.5 –1

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When examined as a time-series, Figure 4.4 clearly demonstrates the inverse relationship between GPA and Iran’s relative gas production capacity which has defined the post-Soviet era. As expected, high-magnitude z-scores for GPA throuhgout the 1990s are shown to be associated with low magnitude scores of Iranian relative gas production (IRP_NG), while diminished affinity scores after 2000 have been accompanied by a sustained increase in Iran’s natural gas production relative to Russia’s (similar results can be observed in Figure 4.3). We would be remiss in our investigation, however, if we did not take note of the fact that significant fluctuations in GPA trending appear largely unreflected in the otherwise steady ascent of IRP_NG. Despite the large-scale trend of significant negative association demonstrated in correlation testing and the related scatterplot diagram, time-series analysis presented in Figure 4.4 does suggest a demonstrable level of independence between variables throughout the post-Soviet era when examined on a year-by-year basis. Of particular note is the fact that rising GPA levels between 1992 and 1996 are matched by rising levels of IRP_NG rather than by declining levels, as would be otherwise anticipated. One way of accounting for this discrepancy in testing may be to argue that energy competition between Moscow and Tehran did not really begin until the mid-1990s. While the argument presented in this study suggests that a diminishing natural gas production gap (as represented by increasing IRP_NG) should function to increase energy competition and so negatively impact GPA, we should remember that competition between Moscow and Tehran over energy-related matters did not become pronounced until Tehran first announced its intentions to cooperate with both Turkey and Turkmenistan in the development of a non-Russian-backed gas export pipeline during 1994 (Tabriz–Ankara). As previously indicated, these

Figure 4.4 Iranian natural gas production relative to production levels in the Russian Federation (IRP_NG) and General Political Association—time series data, 1992–2013. Complete IRP_NG data (prior to transformation into standard z-scores) may be found in Table 4.3 (source: IRP_NG is based upon natural gas production data derived from BP, 2013).

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negotiations were soon followed by Moscow’s 1996 decision to adopt an alternative Caspian delimitation regime that would favor the resource development of North Caspian waters—thus marking the beginning of prolonged competition in the Caspian (see above section entitled “Argument 3: The importance of energy competition to bilateral cooperation”). While this may be the most intuitive argument for explaining the significant discrepancy found in the direction of bivariate association that is revealed between 1992 and 1996, other such discrepancies in association (2004–6 and 2009–11) may reveal the obvious explanation that other factors and forces may also be argued to be salient to cooperation. While this chapter has evaluated macro-level factors and forces emphasizing the importance of national security considerations and geo-politics to bilateral cooperation, chapters 5–7 present a detailed analysis of micro-level domestic factors which are thought also to be pertinent to relations across time. Despite the observed independence of association between IRP_NG and GPA which has been observed occasionally on a year-by-year basis in Figure 4.4, the strong degree of generic negative association demonstrated across all three rounds of testing does provide clear empirical support for the argument developed in this study which describes bilateral relations as sensitive to a latent energy competition. This is clearly represented in Hypothesis 4.

Conclusion This chapter has presented and tested a series of arguments which most closely approximate a macro-analytic explanation for changes in Russian–Iranian political relations based upon a set of factors emphasizing changes in international, national, and regional security conditions. By focusing upon such factors as perceived national power relative to NATO, the changing condition of state failure throughout the region, and the perceived level of energy competition between Moscow and Tehran, this study has attempted to account for the general importance of national security considerations to overall changes in political association. Although testing has revealed that conditions of state failure in neighboring regions may be only marginally relevant to bilateral outcomes it has, however, generated significant support for those arguments suggesting that the perceived national power of Iran relative to NATO and the level of perceived energy competition by the Russian Federation are, in fact, highly salient issues. While there are important qualifications that must be made to any interpretation that bilateral relations are a reflection of various national security concerns on the part of both nations, in general this chapter finds that the quality of relations at any given moment is significantly influenced by cost-benefit security-based calculations which describe cooperation in highly utilitarian terms. In the case of Iran, this study has found that perceptions of NATO’s relative power have been closely associated with changes in political affinity over time, thereby suggesting that Tehran’s motivation to cooperate with Moscow is, in part, guided by a generic power-balancing strategy. Specifically, this chapter has

National security calculations and GPA 91 found that cooperation between Tehran and Moscow is negatively associated with the changing power differential between Iran and NATO member countries examined as an aggregate. As Iranian national power relative to NATO diminishes, this study anticipates periods of expanded cooperation; conversely, as the national power relative to the security conglomerate increases, this study predicts periods of diminishing cooperation. Thus, this chapter has found empirical support for the argument it expresses which suggests that Iranian leaders will maintain a greater utility for cooperation with Moscow whenever the Islamic Republic perceives itself to be relatively weaker than NATO: this perception motivates leaders in Tehran to increase collaboration across all sub-components of GPA. In this manner, a state of perceived weakness is argued to motivate Iran to increase cooperation with Moscow in matters of defense, development, and territorial agreement. Lower utility estimations for cooperation are predicted to accompany periods of Iran’s increasing relative power, thereby limiting the Islamic Republic’s need for collaboration in each of these three same areas. In concrete terms, this study anticipates that high levels of cooperation (such as occurred between 1993 and 1997) may generally be anticipated whenever Iran’s national power represents less than 0.63 percent of NATO’s combined member power. Moderate levels of bilateral cooperation (GPA range 7.0–13.99) may also generally be expected to occur whenever Iran’s national power exists within a range between 0.63 percent and 0.81 percent of NATO’s combined member power. Basing projections upon a linear trendline, it is subsequently reasonable to anticipate that low levels of bilateral cooperation (GPA range 1.0–6.99) will be more likely to occur whenever Iran’s national power rises above a threshold value of 0.81 percent of NATO’s combined member power. In the case of Russia, although Moscow’s perceptions of NATO’s relative power were not found to be significantly associated with changing patterns in bilateral cooperation, findings do demonstrate clear empirical support for the argument that Russia’s willingness to cooperate with Iran remains sensitive to its own perceptions of Iran’s energy production capacity. With energy receipts playing a pivotal role in the Russian economy and federal budget, this study has found support for existing arguments which suggest that Moscow remains highly sensitive to those factors which may potentially undercut its hegemony over downstream markets. Although Russia’s control over downstream natural gas markets in Europe is presently assured, the findings of this chapter further suggest that political affinity with Iran is closely and negatively related to changes in the natural gas production gap existing between the two nations. The results of this study suggest support for the argument that a widening production gap may lead to decreasing levels of perceived energy competition which, in turn, incentivizes leaders in Moscow to engage Iran in matters of defense, development, and territorial agreement. Conversely, as the production gap narrows (owing to increasing Iranian production or decreasing Russian production), this study conversely supports the argument that a heightened level of perceived competition will function to restrict the Kremlin’s willingness or ability to cooperate with Iran in the three core areas that comprise GPA. In

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concrete terms, high levels of bilateral cooperation (where GPA is greater than 14.0) can be expected whenever Iran’s annual natural gas production output equals less than 9 percent of corresponding Russian production figures. As Iran’s production levels increase to a range approximating 9 percent–28 percent of Russian annual production figures, this chapter (in Figure 4.3) indicates that GPA will progressively diminish from moderate-high levels of cooperation to moderate-low levels (GPA range between 13.99 and 7.0). According to this trend, low levels of bilateral political cooperation may similarly be anticipated whenever Iranian production represents more than 28 percent of Russian levels during a given year. These findings, once again, demonstrate robust support for the argument described in this chapter which suggests that the narrowing of the natural gas production gap carries negative implications for bilateral cooperation. Although present-day Iranian production levels, in absolute terms, are still well below Russia’s (see Table 4.3), there are a variety of scenarios under which Iran might reasonably be expected to increase its relative gas producing capacity—thereby introducing greater levels of competition into the relationship. The relaxing of international sanctions, diminished Iranian domestic consumption, and the reform of laws governing FDI in Iran may all function to boost Iranian production levels, thereby enhancing the perception in both nations of growing energy competition. Interestingly, scholars have argued that despite the Kremlin’s public rhetoric, which frequently is geared toward opposing the regime of sanctions against Iran, Russian leaders have benefited significantly from the status quo of relations between the Islamic Republic and western nations (Kemp, 2000, p. 150). By restricting Iranian production capacity, the sanctions regime has not only functioned to protect Moscow’s downstream markets from Iranian competition, but moreover has done so in a manner which comes at little or no direct political cost to the Kremlin. By simply maintaining or increasing the regime of sanctions against Iran’s energy industry, western leaders may therefore be unintentionally suppressing the natural tendency toward energy competition which this study finds endemic to bilateral relations between Moscow and Tehran since at least 1996. Before concluding this section it would be prudent to make a few closing remarks about this study’s inability to demonstrate support for the hypothesis that mounting conditions of state failure occurring within a mutually proximate region will likely be associated with increasing levels of political association. While there has been a signficant amount of public discussion concerning the impact of state failure on bilateral political relations in the historical context of Afghanistan and Tajikistan—and more recently in regard to deteriorating conditions in Syria—these findings may serve to remind us that episodes of tactical cooperation in the interests of restoring political stability may, themselves, be the product of a healthy or increasingly healthy political foundation, rather than simply the force which drives that cooperation. In this manner, we may reason that other factors and forces remain more central to the subject of cooperation. But this is not the only way of perceiving the results of the analysis.

National security calculations and GPA 93 An alternative explanation for the demonstrated lack of association between conditions of state failure and political interrelations may quite reasonably pertain to the type of analysis conducted here—in particular, how this hypothesis was operationalized. Approaching the question from this angle, it may simply be the case that the RMSF indicator produced here dilutes the potency of conditions of state failure occuring in any single country through its more broad-based focus upon state failure at the regional level. Numerous qualitative arguments in favor of this variable’s import—as presented in this chapter—should caution one from making the premature determination that the two variables are mutually exclusive. Rejecting an argument entirely, and finding no support for its proposition, are two entirely different outcomes. In finding a lack of support for this specific argument, this study does not dismiss the question itself, but rather invites us to take a look at it all the more carefully, encouraging us to reexamine both the logic behind the question and the methods that are required to answer it. Still, if the results of this study are to be taken at their face value, then we may assume that state failure has had much less of an impact upon bilateral cooperation than is frequently assumed within the popular media. If, in fact, this is true, current cooperative trends between the two capitals in response to developments stemming from the Arab Spring may be taken as indications of the general state of underlying cooperation. In this manner, it would seem as though the diminishing trend of political association which has characterized nearly a decade of bilateral affairs is now at its end. In conclusion, this chapter has advocated for and found broad support for the argument that macro-analytic factors such as national security calculations have been critical to bilateral cooperation. While Iran may be, at times, motivated to cooperate with Russia in the face of NATO’s rising relative power, we must also be reminded that pressures of energy competition, endemic to the relationship, may function to restrict overall levels of collaboration. In both instances, however, it is essential to recognize the importance of macro-level factors to bilateral cooperation. Not only can we anticipate that changes in NATO’s relative power will likely have a corresponding impact upon bilateral relations, but we must also recognize that present international sanctions against Iran’s energy industry are also inadvertently influencing the level of bilateral cooperation between Moscow and Tehran. By artifically suppressing Iran’s production capacity, these sanctions clearly operate to widen the Russian–Iranian gas production gap, thereby diminishing the level of perceived competition and so lowering the cost to Russia of continued cooperation with Iran. The impact of this regime upon Iran’s economy surely also functions to enhance the relative power differential between this country and NATO, encouraging leaders in Tehran to cooperate with Moscow as a means of balancing NATO’s perceived power. A reduction in sanctions would therefore not only enhance Iran’s national power vis-à-vis NATO—thereby diminishing Tehran’s tendency toward power-balancing behavior—but it would also likely lead to expanded energy competition with Moscow, thereby reducing overall levels of interstate collaboration.

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This chapter has thus demonstrated empirically that Russian–Iranian relations remain highly sensitive to macro-level security factors and to greater questions of global geo-politics. Yet, as testing has also revealed, even the most robust cases demonstrate consistent periods of time in which changes in GPA appear largely unrelated to changes in the independent variable. Such findings suggest the clear importance of other, as yet unnamed, causal factors. In the following chapters this study will attempt to determine whether or not attention to microlevel factors expressing changes in domestic politics may help us to improve our ability to accurately explain and predict fluctuations in GPA across time.

5

Domestic politics and bilateral relations A micro-level analysis of the Russian Federation

Introduction This and subsequent chapters will explore an alternative hypothesis to the one pursued in Chapter 4, one which suggests that relations between Moscow and Tehran may have been sensitive to ongoing micro-analytic changes in the domestic political affairs of each nation. Specifically, Chapters 5 and 6 will take steps to clearly articulate how changing factional balances of power in Russia and Iran may have operated both to enhance political affinity throughout the 1990s and to dampen it in more recent years. In succession, these chapters examine how institutional conditions (and associated reforms) in both nations functioned to privilege specific sets of political interests which, in turn, subsequently caused Russian and Iranian leaders to alter their overall cost-benefit calculations regarding partnership and cooperation. Arguments raised in Chapters 5 and 6 are expressed in a set of formal hypotheses to be found at the conclusion of each chapter. In Chapter 7, I proceed to operationalize and test these arguments in order to determine whether or not specific attention to domestic political factors is, in fact, useful to predicting changes in bilateral relations across time. Observing the success of domestic indicators in predicting changes in GPA, I conclude that efforts to explain and predict developments in Russian–Iranian relations will be substantially bolstered by attention to a specific set of micro-analytic factors that are relevant to each nation.

The case of the Russian Federation Important to nearly all sources investigated for this study has been the argument that the influence of mounting levels of opposition to the Kremlin during the 1990s had a profoundly positive impact on Russian foreign policy in general and on bilateral relations with Iran in particular. Proponents such as John W. Parker (2009), Robert O. Freedman (1997, 2001), Michael McFaul (1997), Roger E. Kanet and Susanne M. Birgerson (1998), and Thomas F. Remington (2005) have all argued in varying manner that early post-Communist reforms under President Boris Yeltsin fueled the rise of an anti-reform movement which, coincidentally,

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maintained a decisive ideological and economic policy orientation toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. These analysts argue that the rising power of a proIranian anti-reform movement therefore encouraged the Yeltsin administration to make significant foreign policy concessions as a means of maintaining political power in the turbulent early post-Soviet era. As a result of these concessions, scholars have argued that Russian policy during the 1990s became more overtly oriented toward non-western states—and Iran in particular—as a result of various ideological, political, and economic interests held between Kremlin opposition figures in the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF ), the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), and the nation’s militaryindustrial complex (Freedman, 1997, 2001, pp. 58, 67; Kanet & Birgerson, 1998, p. 340; McFaul, 1997, p. 26; Parker, 2009, p. 104). In these cases, scholars have argued that Yeltsin’s concessionary tactics involved the appointment of a variety of opposition-friendly figures to high positions of political power, focusing functionally and symbolically upon the longstanding tenure of Yevgeny Primakov, who between 1992 and 1998 served variously as head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Services (SVR), Foreign Minister, and also as Prime Minister—a political figure who has been described as an “advocate of robust relations with Iran” (Parker, 2009, p. 118; see also Freedman, 1997, p. 93, 2001, pp. 60, 68–9; Kanet & Birgerson, 1998, p. 340; McFaul, 1997, p. 26). That the tenure of Primakov (and other concessionary foreign policy figures) generally shadows the growth in power of key opposition parties to the Kremlin during the 1990s further confirms that Russia’s proIranian orientation during the 1990s may, in fact, have been the result of concessionary domestic politics. Although scholars have been less outspoken about the domestic political developments during the 2000s which may have contributed to the overall decline in bilateral relations, it is clearly the case that Yeltsin’s concessionary strategy was abandoned under the Putin administration at a time when opposition influence was also in a state of decline. With the deliberate centralization of power under the pro-Kremlin political party United Russia (UR) in the 2000s, the influence of the CPRF and LDPR waned significantly. Although there is no clear reason to suggest that the presidential administrations of Vladimir Putin or Dmitri Medvedev maintained outspoken resistance to further promoting ties with Iran, this study will argue that the centralization of power under a pro-Kremlin party obviated the need to continue the course of concessionary tactics employed by the Yeltsin administration which had long been responsible for strengthening ties with Iran. This chapter argues further that Russian–Iranian relations have been generally dependent upon institutional reforms which have precipitated changing levels of elite representation in Russian domestic politics. In subsequent sections I will explore the underlying mechanics of how changes to Russian policy-making institutions variously impacted levels of elite representation within the Russian Federation and so became a decisive factor in bilateral relations with Tehran across time.

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Russia 97 PART I: ERA OF HIGH COOPERATION, 1989–2000

Precursors to cooperation: the opening of policy space in the Soviet Union and Russian Federation While the Soviet Union had long been under the control of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), Mikhail Gorbachev’s rise to power as a decisive reformer—and his subsequent policies of perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness)—would come to have highly unanticipated consequences not only for the integrity of the Soviet Union itself, but also for the quality of political institutions operating within the Soviet republics. Although Gorbachev’s aim had been simply to reform the existing political and economic structures of the Soviet Union, his initiatives unintentionally led to the dissolution of the Union as well as to far-reaching liberal reforms (Sakwa, 2005, pp. 3, 5). By the late 1980s Gorbachev’s efforts had both cleared space within the CPSU for the existence of formal political factions while also introducing competitive, multi-candidate (though not multiparty) elections (Sakwa, 2005, p. 3). Richard Sakwa (2005) indicates that the creation of a new bi-cameral parliament in late 1988 broadly functioned to empower a form of political dialogue which would drastically diminish the CPSU’s unilateral control over formal power (p. 4). The liberalizing influence of this new dialogue, however, could not reasonably be confined to the federal level, but instead rapidly diffused outward among the domestic political systems of the Union’s constituent republics. According to John P. Willerton (2005), these qualitatively more democratic institutions were quickly adopted by individual republics—a situation which, in turn, functioned to create more political space for distinctly nationalist/non-unionist preferences which, subsequently, would come to spearhead the eventual dissolution of the USSR (p. 21). In the case of the Russian Federative Soviet Republic, similar institutional reforms are argued to have been largely responsible for the rise to power of the strongly pro-democratic, anti-unionist/pro-nationalist Boris Yeltsin (Willerton, 2005, p. 21). Through his successful contestation of direct elections to the parliament in 1989, and to the newly created office of a popularly elected president in June 1989, Yeltsin’s liberal, pro-western political and economic policies quickly gained the forceful distinction of a popular political mandate—despite substantial levels of domestic opposition—thereby legitimizing his political campaign against pro-union forces, the CPSU, and the Soviet-era legislature which had for so long enforced the political status quo (Willerton, 2005, p. 21; Remington, 2005, p. 43). Thus, by 1991 not only was the Soviet Union already on the verge of collapse owing to a proliferation of anti-union preferences, but the Russian Republic was also undergoing a simultaneous revision of its own existing policy status quo with the concomitant rise of non-Communist Party ideologues, represented in the personage of Boris Yeltsin. The disruption of Communist Party rule in the Russian Republic through significant institutional reform and innovation is here understood to form the basis for the subsequent

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introduction of a multiplicity of interest actors into Russia’s policy bureaucracy—interests which would come to shape the workings of Yeltsin’s presidency throughout the 1990s.

Foundations of cooperation in the Russian Federation: the Yeltsin years Following the work of numerous scholars, this chapter argues that the expansion of bilateral cooperation between Moscow and Tehran during the 1990s may have been predicated upon the increasing influence of a pro-Iranian, anti-Kremlin bloc in Russian policy-making. Rather than analyzing expanded cooperation as simply a product of interest group pressure, this chapter insists that institutional reforms of the 1990s were likely responsible for engendering and fostering opposition interests capable of significantly influencing policy formation. As such, this chapter contends that increasing levels of elite representation in Russian policy-making during the Yeltsin years was absolutely critical to the high level of bilateral cooperation that defined the 1990s. While the presidential administration of Boris Yeltsin often pursued pro-western policies that were clearly detrimental to relations with Tehran, it simultaneously pursued sets of policies that were designed to bring the two capitals closer together. Rather than identifying Russian foreign policy during the 1990s as highly inconsistent, irrational, or multi-polar, this study takes its cues from existing scholarship and argues that such divergent policy outcomes were, in fact, supported by the Yeltsin administration as part of a concessionary political strategy designed to balance the complexities of policy-making in a more highly representative political environment. Specifically, this chapter argues that Yeltsin’s domestic political and economic reforms (designed to dislodge the Communist Party from power and to develop the foundations of a liberal market economy) created a significant backlash and resurgence among Communist and nationalist party supporters that carried increasing political weight throughout the decade. In an effort to preserve the stability of his regime and his early reform agenda, this chapter indicates that Yeltsin’s administration was forced to offer high-profile political concessions to a series of powerful groups that had been negatively impacted by post-Soviet reforms and conditions (Communists, nationalists, and a class of militaryindustrial elites dependent upon the supply of conventional weaponry and nuclear technology). The political and economic importance of improving ties to Iran for these particular opposition groups thus ensured that Russia’s relations with Tehran would increasingly flourish, despite the administration’s marked desire to improve ties with western nations—nations that were otherwise hostile to Tehran. In the following section I explore the controversial nature of Yeltsin’s reforms which both destabilized the status quo and were critical to engendering a powerful pro-Iranian political opposition.

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Russia 99

Reform under Yeltsin: disrupting the status quo and engendering opposition Yeltsin’s tenure as Russian president may best be defined as an ongoing struggle between the federal executive and the legislature for controlling power over Russian domestic and foreign policy (McFaul, 2005, pp. 64–6; Remington, 2005, pp. 42–4). Indeed, executive–legislative conflict had been at the heart of the struggle with the former Communist Party, which had utilized its control of the USSR’s multiple layers of legislative soviets (councils/advisory groups) to protect its dominance over policy-making at the federal, regional, and local levels. While Yeltsin and Gorbachev had remained bitter adversaries in the late Soviet era over issues pertaining to the continuation of the USSR, they were aligned in their desire to free both federal and republican legislatures from the undue influence of Communist Party members (McFaul & Petrov, 2004, p. 98). As this chapter will demonstrate, Yeltsin’s battle with the Communists—and other anti-reformist factions in the Soviet and early post-Soviet eras—not only became a defining feature of his administration, but more importantly proved central to expanded cooperation with Tehran for the duration of the 1990s. Yeltsin had been popularly elected as Russian president in June 1991, just six months prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. A group of like-minded reformers had also been elected to positions in the Russian parliament the year before (McFaul, 2005, pp. 64–5). According to Michael McFaul (2005), Yelstin’s election—as well as an April 1993 referendum on his administration’s performance—provided the President and his supporters with the extraordinary confidence and backing of a popular political mandate that subsequently encouraged his administration to press ahead with a series of controversial economic and political reforms (pp. 64–5). And while Yeltsin may have maintained a great deal of popular support (in principle) for his reforms between 1991 and 1993, during this time his administration proved largely unable to initiate its agenda due to a struggle with counter-reformist factions of Communists and nationalists in the nation’s federal and regional legislatures. Unable to coopt counter-reformists in the federal legislature into supporting his proposed policies, Yeltsin—shortly after the national referendum—in September 1993 determined to utilize his power of Presidential decree both to dissolve the Russian parliament and to call for a new national constitution in the hope that clearing out the legislature would afford him the space he required for his policy redirection (McFaul, 2005, pp. 65–6). But the dissolution of parliament did not take place peacefully, leading instead to a violent and fierce contest for political power in which the Russian parliament unsuccessfully battled against Russian security forces loyal to the Yeltsin presidency on October 4, 1993. In the wake of the crisis Yeltsin took dramatic illiberal steps to diffuse the resurgent power of Communists and nationalists who could otherwise pose a challenge to his reform agenda (McFaul, 2005, p. 66). In the hours and days immediately following the crisis, Yeltsin banned the CPSU as well as a string of nationalist organizations and national newspapers

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that had long-supported an anti-reform agenda (Schmemann, 1993). His attacks on counter-reformists throughout the republic continued as he quickly extended his reforms to the sub-federal level as well—dissolving regional-level Soviet councils and dismissing three out of eight of the popularly elected regional executives (McFaul, 2005, p. 66). With significant legislative and regional opposition out of the way, Yeltsin immediately proposed a new draft constitution which was held up for popular referendum in December 1993; the successful adoption of the draft constitution that same month paved the way for immediate parliamentary elections to a newly redesigned federal legislature, thereby initiating a new era in post-Soviet Russian policy (McFaul, 2005, p. 66). While Yeltsin had ultimately succeeded in carving out the policy space necessary to begin his program of reform, the process itself—as well as the subsequent experience of reform measures—would engender a substantial degree of political opposition that would haunt Yeltsin’s presidency for the remainder of the 1990s.

The 1993 constitution of the Russian Federation: presidential hegemony Yeltsin’s 1993 constitution of the Russian Federation sought to avoid any further complications in power-sharing arrangements by investing the office of the president with considerable unilateral powers. While the constitution, by its very nature, should have guaranteed Yeltsin virtual monopoly power over policy formation, in reality the very process of reform came to engender such powerful political opposition that his presidency became characterized by its constant willingness to negotiate with opposition elites. In its design, the constitution of December 1993 had effectively created a semi-presidential system with power unequally split between a popularly elected president and a prime minister serving at the confidence of the executive (Willerton, 2005, pp. 24–5). Under the new constitution, the Russian president not only enjoyed the right to directly appoint the prime minister, but was also responsible for appointing the ministers of Defense, Internal Affairs, and Foreign Affairs (what are known as the power ministries); in so doing, the 1993 constitution gave the political executive broad powers over the direction of both domestic and foreign policy (Willerton, 2005, p. 28). While the prime minister under the state constitution may be removed by parliament with two successive no confidence votes, the president alone holds the right to dissolve the lower house of parliament (the State Duma) if it does not approve his subsequent appointment for prime minister (Willerton, 2005, p. 28). In matters of policy creation, the Russian president is constitutionally empowered both to initiate legislation and to utilize presidential decrees in order to push through his/her agenda (Willerton, 2005, p. 24). Although the parliament is invested with the constitutional right to veto presidentially proposed legislation and decrees, its actual ability to do so is largely circumscribed by a required twothirds consensus among members of both houses of parliament (Willerton, 2005, pp. 24–5). Consequently, the political executive remains largely insulated, institutionally from the need to negotiate with law-makers. The relative weakness of the

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Russia 101 legislative branch is further demonstrated by the constitution’s stipulation that impeachment proceedings against the president also require a two-thirds consensus among both houses (Willerton, 2005, p. 25). In terms of constraints upon the political executive, Willerton, writing in 2005, indicated that the single most effective limit on presidential power has been the constitutionally defined two-term limit (p. 25). Although a two-term limit is still presently in effect, it should be noted that this constitutional provision has not, in recent years, proven to be an effective constraint over presidential power. In 2008, then President Dmitri Medvedev utilized his office’s power to propose a constitutional amendment which would lengthen the presidential term from four to six years. While Medvedev himself has not taken advantage of this extension, the constitutional amendment has functioned to provide exPresident Vladimir Putin with the opportunity to run for a third and even fourth six-year term (Kramer, 2011). Vladimir Putin’s successful return to power in the March 2012 presidential election, thus stands as a powerful reminder of the nature of presidential authority under the 1993 constitution. The ease with which presidents can, and do, carry out constitutional reforms in their own office’s favor suggests that presidential authority in the Russian Federation remains largely unchallenged.

The 1993 constitution of the Russian Federation: party development and the rise of political opposition While Yeltsin’s original constitution had clearly established an extreme presidential system, it did not attempt to block the formation and participation of independent political parties and popularly elected regional representatives. By increasing the overall breadth of preferences embedded in the process of policy formation, the 1993 constitution simultaneously took steps to develop, rather than restrict, the capacity for competitive politics. Rather than attempting to exclude all manner of dialogue, the 1993 constitution sought to expand the number of preferences in policy-making, but did so in a way that enabled Yeltsin to maintain immense oversight capacity. Open to some level of debate, yet determined to protect policy from the further influence of Communist and nationalist sentiments, Yeltsin’s constitution was truly paternalistic in both spirit and design. Specifically, the 1993 constitution called for the creation of a popularly elected bi-cameral legislative assembly that would split seats in the lower house between majoritarian single-member electoral districts (SMD) and a list proportional representation system (PR). The use of a mixed-member system incorporating proportional representation electoral practices had been designed specifically to engineer a multiparty system (Remington, 2005, p. 45)—a tactic which had become a hallmark of many post-Communist constitutions throughout Central and Eastern Europe. By all accounts, the preference of post-Communist constitutions for electoral systems emphasizing proportional representation over a strict reliance on majoritarian SMD formulas had been rooted in the region’s

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fierce desire to mitigate the potential for a resurgence of Communist Party dominance (Birch, 2007, p. 165; Pittaway, 2007, p. 33). According to Sarah Birch’s (2007) analysis of post-Communist electoral systems in Central and Eastern Europe, reformers within the region generally had two initial aims: (1) to ensure that elections would be conducted on a multiparty basis; and (2) to guarantee that such elections would remain free of any further manipulation by Communist elites (p. 165). In this manner, Yeltsin’s conception of the federal legislature was not unlike that of many of his regional contemporaries. According to Birch (2007), post-Communist reformers believed that majoritarian systems would only encourage the potential for a Communist resurgence, insofar as they tended to focus elections on individual personalities rather than on political parties (pp. 164–5). Birch further indicates that post-Communist reformers generally believed that PR or mixed SMD/PR systems would reorient electoral politics away from individual personalities and toward the further development of complex party systems (Birch, 2007, p. 165). By allotting multiple district seats to a plurality of parties on the basis of proportional wins, reformers generally believed they could balance out any electoral gains of antireformist candidates and so preserve the stability of reform (Birch, 2007, p. 165). That the Russian Federation’s 1993 constitution was largely successful in its quest to broaden party participation in policy formation is clearly illustrated by the results of elections to the first and second Duma (1993–4 and 1996–9 respectively) (see Russia Votes, n.d.). Despite the fact that the constitution required parties to achieve a threshold of at least 5 percent of the votes within a PR district in order to be represented in parliament, elections to the first Duma enabled a highly diverse roster of parties to gain seats. According to Thomas Remington (2005), despite the 5 percent minimum threshold, the 1993 elections to the interim parliament’s lower house awarded seats to more than ten political parties, with no single party or coalition winning control of the house (though Remington does indicate that winning electoral coalitions during this period were, in fact, generally oppositional in nature, leaning slightly left of center) (pp. 46–7). While the Yeltsin-affiliated pro-reform party Russia’s Choice gained the largest share (16.1 percent) of house seats, staunch opposition parties did equally well in the 1993 elections— among them, the newly formed CPRF and Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s ultranationalist, right-wing LDPR, which won 10.3 percent and 14.3 percent of seats respectively (McFaul, 2005, pp. 68–9; Remington, 2005, p. 47). The trend of multiparty politics would continue—though stabilizing somewhat—in elections to the second Duma which took place during 1995, with 43 parties contesting the elections and only seven official parties gaining seats in the house (Remington, 2005, p. 47). Most notable of all, however, during the 1995 elections was the fact that reform-based parties which supported the Kremlin performed less well than did counter-reformist ones, thereby providing opposition deputies significant power over policy direction between 1996 and 1999 (Remington, 2005, p. 47). According to Michael McFaul (2005), during these elections, the Yeltsin-affiliated Russia’s Choice (later renamed Russia’s

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Russia 103 Democratic Choice), though able to clear the minimum voting threshold, was in fact only able to secure 2 percent of seats (p. 69). Similarly, McFaul notes that the pro-Kremlin bloc of then Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Our Home Is Russia (NDR), had been able to acquire only 12.2 percent of seats—even with generous financial and media assistance stemming from its cadre of Yeltsin supporters (McFaul, 2005, pp. 69–70). In stark contrast, the 1995 elections saw a substantial increase in the power of the CPRF which took nearly 33 percent of Duma seats (McFaul, 2005, pp. 69–70). While Zhirinovsky’s LDPR lost a substantial number of seats in the second Duma elections, it still managed to retain an 11.3 percent share, making it the third largest single party in the lower house (Russia Votes, n.d.). According to Remington, the success of major parties like the CPRF in the federal-wide PR district had been substantially bolstered by a significant number of “recycled” votes, i.e., votes that had been cast for parties that did not clear the 5 percent threshold (Remington, 2005, p. 48). And while vote transfers may have functioned to swell the number of parliamentary seats each party received, the substantial inequality in party representation evident between opposition and pro-reform parties appears to have been part of a far larger pattern that was emerging among post-Communist countries during the mid-1990s. According to Krzysztof Jasiewicz (2007), Communist Party resurgence in the secondary parliamentary elections during the mid-1990s was a common occurrence among all Central and Eastern European post-Communist nations—a contingency which he attributes to the widespread and severe social, political, and economic dislocations occurring in the context of transitions from socialist to liberal political and economic systems (p. 200). By his account, painful reform programs would function to become an expedient platform issue for recently disempowered Communist elites who were subsequently able to leverage the widespread sense of dissatisfaction with reformist policies into victories at the ballot box (Jasiewicz, 2007, p. 200). Thus while Yeltsin had succeeded in establishing a powerful federal executive which maintained the constitutional capacity to guide the direction of public policy both at home and abroad, in reality his administration could not afford to ignore the growing resistance to reform-based policies which had resulted in a renewed Communist and nationalist resurgence. Yeltsin’s administration was therefore forced to evaluate the costs and benefits of making broad political concessions to opposition figures in exchange for continued legitimacy and the security of his post-Soviet attempt at nation-building. While opposition elites varied dramatically in terms of ideology and interests, a common desire among them to improve ties with Tehran increased the likelihood that Yeltsin’s concessionary tactics would result in expanded relations with the Islamic Republic.

Engendering cooperation: the Iran factor in a growing Kremlin opposition In the wake of both the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Yeltsin’s administration had undertaken considerable efforts to improve ties between itself

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and the United States, and yet at the same time, Moscow’s ongoing cooperation with Tehran was becoming a substantial source of frustration for Washington. Despite the fact that the Yeltsin administration had itself made numerous diplomatic overtures to quell Washington’s worries over issues of conventional weapons sales and nuclear proliferation (through proposing and participating in the Gore–Chernomyrdin non-proliferation regime; making agreements to suspend conventional weapons sales following completion of existing contracts in 1999; initiating legislation designed to curb proliferation; and cracking down on violators), Moscow continued to increase the breadth and scale of its arms, nuclear, and dual-use technology cooperation with the Islamic Republic throughout the 1990s. Thus, at one and the same time Russia worked to improve its relations with both Washington and Tehran—pursuing a set of policies that appeared not only highly inconsistent but also short-sighted, insofar as Russia’s expanding cooperation with Tehran potentially stood to compromise its new-found affinity with the West. A macro-level analysis as proposed in Chapter 4 would suggest that although Yeltsin’s administration may have placed high priority on improving ties with the West, it simultaneously could not ignore the growing threat to its own national sovereignty that was brewing in the North Caucasus and Afghanistan, and so pursued expanding cooperation with Iran out of sheer necessity in matters of security (for more information on threats to Russian sovereignty in the North Caucasus see Nichol, 2010; Parker, 2009; Hughes, 2007; Sagramoso, 2007; and Trenin et al., 2004). There is a certain degree of elegance to this proposition insofar as fluctuations in Russian–Iranian cooperation largely tend to mirror changes in Russia’s own perception of its national security. And yet one should not quickly dismiss the notion that domestic institutional changes and reforms may also have functioned largely to expand the scope of actors who were not only capable of influencing foreign policy, but who also had significant motivations for fostering relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in spite of the Kremlin’s consistently pro-western direction. According to some arguments, Russia’s provision of conventional weapons as well as nuclear and dual-use technologies to Iran during the 1990s was, at its core, primarily a commercial venture of considerable importance to specific sectors of the national economy that had been hit hardest by the collapse of the USSR, the end of the Cold War, and Yeltsin’s early reforms (Parker, 2009, pp. 105–6; Aron, 1998, p. 29). John W. Parker (2009) has drawn attention to the fact that the disintegration of the USSR and the end of the Cold War had collapsed the domestic market for defense manufacturers, who were consequently forced to pursue customers in more competitive foreign markets in order to maintain their operational viability (pp. 105–6). But the end of the Cold War was not the only reason for the rapidly diminishing vitality of the nation’s defense industry. According to Leon Aron (1998), a fundamental reconceptualization of the concept of national security in the early to mid-1990s had led to a series of dramatic cuts in defense spending. Rather than equating national security with the ongoing need for a militarized internationalism, much as had been the case

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Russia 105 during the Soviet era, Aron (1998) indicates that Yeltsin’s administration had conceived of security in more strictly domestic terms—focusing more specifically upon the development of liberal political and economic systems (pp. 25–6). In economic terms, Aron reports that Yeltsin’s reconceptualization of national security resulted in a series of rigorous budgetary cuts throughout the decade that led to a more than 50 percent reduction in overall federal defense expenditures by 1997 (Aron, 1998, p. 43). Quite clearly, the end of the Soviet Union and Cold War, as well as a subsequent reprioritization of domestic development objectives over the USSR’s previous militarized internationalism, had had a significant impact upon the nation’s military-industrial complex. That such spending cuts would have helped to coalesce opposition to Yeltsin’s administrative reforms during an era otherwise characterized by increasingly small and more competitive defense markets, is both a credible and an intuitive argument. Writing in 1998, Aron described the Russian military and the military-industrial complex as “the most obvious of the institutional threats” to the post-Soviet foreign policy consensus of the Yeltsin administration (p. 43). With little or no room remaining in the domestic market, it was only natural that Russia’s defense contractors would seek external clients. Noting the fact that many western and NATO-friendly countries were averse to buying Russian arms for technological (and presumably security-related) reasons, Parker indicates that Russian defense manufacturers subsequently sought out non-western-aligned foreign markets such as the Islamic Republic of Iran (Parker, 2009, p. 106). Yet how were defense manufacturers able to secure contracts with the Iranian government at a time when the Kremlin was alternately pushing for increasing cooperation with the U.S., given Washington’s strong objection to defense relations between Moscow and Tehran? Specifically, Parker (2009) indicates that throughout the 1990s Russia’s military-industrial complex had forged a strong bond with opposition parties in the nation’s federal legislature which were sensitive to the negative impact of post-Soviet reforms and policy directions. He writes: [T]hose whose livelihoods depended most on [the military-industrial] sector were particularly prone to despise and resent those they viewed as guilty of bringing the Soviet structure down. The military-industrial complex was home to powerful industrial leaders more than glad to work with opposition parties and leaders to subvert Yeltsin and his Western-leaning “democrats.” (Parker, 2009, p. 107) As anticipated by Jasiewicz (2007), the experience of economic dislocation in the aftermath of the USSR’s collapse not only swelled support for opposition parties among portions of the general population but, more importantly, directly encouraged alignments between traditionally powerful sectors of the national economy and distinct political factions. While the political executive may have been largely responsible for determining the basic orientation of foreign policy, the federal legislature was not entirely without leverage in this area owing to

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constitutional provisions which had both enabled it to engage formally in the discussion of foreign policy and bestowed upon it the authority to ratify international treaties (Light, 2005, p. 223). There can be little doubt, under such circumstances, that the symbiotic relationship which had developed between opposition parties and the nation’s military-industrial complex not only served to protect access to controversial foreign markets from political adversaries in the Kremlin, but likely also married opposition parties to economic support derived indirectly from these same markets through their clients in the defense industry. Collaboration between opposition parties and defense manufacturers over technology sales to Iran were, according to Parker’s account, a natural development during the 1990s insofar as both groups were naturally predisposed toward cultivating ties with non-Western state powers. Of the CPRF and LDPR, Parker notes that both parties had actively “encouraged proliferators to deal with Iran as a way of demonstrating Russia’s ability to stand up to the United States” (Parker, 2009, p. 107). Stephen White’s (2007) assessment of the international policy positions of the CPRF and LDPR further establishes support for this central idea. According to White, in international matters the CPRF had sought to cultivate economic relations with peripheral nations such as Iran, as part of a larger plan to resolve inequalities inherent in the world capitalist economy (White, 2007, p. 83). In the case of the LDPR, he describes the party’s international perspective as inherently pro-nationalist in orientation, calling for the restoration of Russian prominence in global affairs, where emphasis is placed upon cultivating relations with non-western-aligned nations (White, 2007, p. 88). That Iran also actively pursued direct ties with leading Kremlin opposition parties is further confirmed by Parker (2009) who, citing Aleksey Malashenko, notes that the “Iranian embassy in Moscow [during this era] maintained a special reception room for entertaining CPRF and LDPR guests” (Parker, 2009, p. 139). Thus, while the Kremlin may have generally favored a strongly pro-western orientation, opposition parties, along with key sectors of the national economy, were both ideologically and economically predisposed toward cultivating relations with non-western powers like Iran. Yet the political influence of a proIranian faction in Russia’s policy-making bureaucracy throughout the 1990s was not simply limited to the oversight capacity associated with opposition parties in the federal legislature. Perhaps most important of all was the fact that Yeltsin made clear concessions to the growing political opposition and appointed decisively pro-Iranian officials to key positions in leading government ministries and institutions.

The impact of Yeltsin’s concessionary politics on defense and nuclear-based cooperation: the cases of Primakov, Mikhaylov, and Adamov As mentioned previously, the Russian president under the 1993 constitution enjoys broad institutional powers both to appoint key ministers in the nation’s

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Russia 107 so-called power ministries (Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Internal Affairs) and to control the general direction of foreign and domestic policy through his/her ability to initiate legislation and presidential decrees that are largely independent of the federal legislature. In constitutional terms, Yeltsin’s tenure as president should therefore have provided his administration with the institutional capacity to advance his own policy agenda in spite of his opponents. In reality, however, Yeltsin’s administration has been described as quite generous in terms of its ministerial appointments and in terms of its willingness to negotiate formally and legally with parliament over legislation. Whether this was part of Yeltsin’s larger rhetorical commitment to democracy in general, or whether such accommodations were simply required at the time as part of an effort to protect the nation’s very young constitution from extra-constitutional attacks is difficult to say. Thomas Remington (2005) seems to suggest that the latter is likely the reason for the administration’s policies, writing “Yeltsin and his advisers were shrewd enough to recognize that they needed to provide just enough political concessions to other powerful political interests in the country to keep them in the game” (p. 45). In order to manage the variety of competing interests favoring ties to both Washington and Tehran, John W. Parker (2009) indicates that Yeltsin’s administration pursued an essentially “two track policy,” which “was designed to protect its domestic political flanks against accusations of catering to Washington and its foreign flanks against charges of irresponsibility toward nonproliferation obligations” (p. 104). To the extent that powerful pro-Iranian sentiments were represented in the nation’s leading opposition parties and leading economic sectors such as the defense and nuclear industries, it is only reasonable to expect Yeltsin’s administration to make concessions that were overtly pro-Iranian in character. While Boris Yeltsin and then Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin generally represented the very pro-western side of Russian policy which was committed to curbing defense ties with non-western countries and the proliferation of restricted nuclear technologies, the long-standing tenure of Yevgeny Primakov—across a number of strategic political posts—represents both functionally and symbolically the Kremlin’s highly concessionary policy toward pro-Iranian opposition parties and interest groups that simultaneously destabilized Yeltsin’s commitment to non-proliferation and increased the overall level of perceived foreign policy disaggregation (Freedman, 1997, p. 102; McFaul, 1997, p. 26). Beginning his career as an academician and journalist specializing in Mid-East affairs (BBC, 1999), Yevgeny Primakov would come to occupy a number of presidentially appointed senior positions throughout the 1990s, thereby dramatically influencing Russian policy towards Iran for most of the decade. Serving as the director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) between 1993 and 1995, as Russian foreign minister between 1996 and 1998, and Russian premier between 1998 and 1999, Primakov consistently demonstrated a strongly proIranian orientation in Russian policy in both tactical and strategic terms. Tactically, Primakov saw Iran as an essential partner in maintaining regional security and as a valuable downstream market for the Russian defense and

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nuclear industry. His visits to Tehran in 1993 and 1995 as SVR director have been credited with helping to resolve the crisis in Russian–Iranian relations that had developed out of the Tajik civil war—specifically pressing for Iran’s cooperation with Russia in resolving the Tajik dispute—and restoring damaged political and economic ties between the two nations (Parker, 2009, pp. 96, 97, 118). Orlov and Vinnikov have written that during Primakov’s tenure as prime minister (1996–8), Russian policy was characterized, in part, by a “profound geopolitical as well as economic engagement” toward Iran (Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 52). In strategic terms, Primakov is known to have supported Iran diplomatically as part of a larger foreign policy goal of developing a multi-polar world order in defiance of American hegemony (see Torbakov, 2000, for discussion of the “Primakov Doctrine”); nowhere is this more evident than in his continuing diplomatic support for the development of Iran’s civilian nuclear program. Under Primakov’s direction, in both 1993 and 1995 Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) issued successive reports disputing western concerns that Iran’s civilian nuclear program was capable of becoming weaponized in the near term (Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 52; Parker, 2009, p. 115). Parker (2009) notes that these reports likely functioned to assuage fears among Russian officials over the potential threat a weaponized Iranian nuclear program could present to Russian interests in the region, thereby creating a political climate more favorably disposed toward a trade in controversial technologies (pp. 115–16). A series of articles written by Izvestiya journalist Konstantin Eggert similarly charged Primakov (while acting as Russian foreign minister) with complicity in protecting a non-transparent and illicit network of missile technology transfers from Russian firms to Iranian agents that was operative in the latter half of the 1990s. Parker (2009) recounts: Eggert reported Israeli complaints to him that Primakov, after a briefing no later than January 1997 on Iranian activity in Russia, had in effect told his own experts in the Foreign Ministry, “Do not hinder them!” In Israel in October 1997, Primakov had dismissied a military intelligence briefing on the same subject as “Rubbish!” (p. 126) While it may be uncertain whether Primakov supported trade with Iran in sensitive and even illicit technologies as part of a larger strategic imperative dedicated to balancing western hegemony and improving regional security, or whether such transfers were valued predominantly for their economic importance to Russia’s ailing defense and nuclear technology industries, what remains clear is that his policy orientation toward Iran was very closely aligned with the preferences of prominent groups opposed to the Kremlin. This fact provides clear reason to suspect that Primakov’s long-standing tenure—which was largely characterized by its aversion to Kremlin-supported pro-western policy positions—was likely a political concession made by the Yeltsin administration to opposition parties and

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Russia 109 interest groups, engineered in order to enhance the stability of both the executive regime and the 1993 state constitution. This point is further reinforced by the fact that Primakov’s decision to contest the 2000 presidential elections led to his almost immediate ostracism from positions of high political power. While the Kremlin may have felt itself required to make political concessions to opposing parties and interest groups in the form of high-profile political appointments as part of a larger, strategic plan of maintaining political power and preserving the state constitution and associated liberal reforms, it is clearly the case that Yeltsin’s team was not about to hand over control of the executive office to a decisively pro-opposition candidate who could jeopardize the status quo. In an effort to “build momentum” for his bid for the 2000 presidential election, Primakov joined the opposition party Fatherland—All Russia (OVR) just in time for the 1999 parliamentary elections (McFaul, 2005, p. 70). By McFaul’s account, Primakov’s position as the frontrunner in the 1999 presidential campaign motivated the Kremlin to utilize its overwhelming resources, influence, and contacts to deal a decisive blow against the OVR in the 1999 parliamentary elections in the hope that such a defeat would decisively influence the outcome of the presidential campaign the following year (McFaul, 2005, p. 70). According to McFaul (2005), the Kremlin channeled its economic resources and influence among media organizations into the creation and promotion of a pro-Kremlin political party entitled Unity, which won a decisive victory over the OVR in the 1999 parliamentary elections, causing Primakov to withdraw from the presidential contest (p. 72). While Russian–Iranian relations had been diminishing in quality since 1996—falling from moderate levels of high cooperation to high levels of moderate cooperation by 1999 (see Figure 3.4)—with Primakov’s defeat, the Islamic Republic would lose one of its leading proponents among Russian policy-makers. More importantly, Primakov’s failed bid for presidential power appears to have been closely followed by a decisive turning point in Russian politics whereby the political executive effectively ended its long-standing tradition of making political concessions to opposition parties and interest groups in the form of high-profile senior positions in the government—a policy change which this study suggests negatively impacted Russian–Iranian bilateral relations. As Figure 3.4 clearly demonstrates, in the wake of the 1999 elections bilateral relations between the two nations continued to fall, reaching a low point in GPA during 2004 that mirrored the status of relations experienced between 1979 and 1985. With only few exceptions, these low levels of moderate GPA would characterize bilateral relations up through contemporary times. In support of the claim that Yeltsin’s concessionary domestic political strategies had been largely responsible for high levels of defense and nuclear cooperation between Russia and Iran throughout the 1990s, it is also important to reflect upon the general policy orientation of the Ministry of Atomic Energy (MinAtom) during this same period. Although the Yeltsin (and early Putin) administration had pursued tough policies, both domestically and internationally, aimed at curbing the proliferation of restricted nuclear and missile-related technologies to Iran throughout the 1990s, it was also true that the Kremlin during

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this period had pursued a policy line that simultaneously seems to have jeopardized this same non-proliferation regime—a move which may serve as additional evidence of the Kremlin’s concessionary tactics. As discussed in Chapter 2, during the 1990s there was a great deal of controversy surrounding the appointment of two successive MinAtom general directors: Viktor Mikhaylov (1992–8) and Yevgeny Adamov (1998–2001). Although civilian-based nuclear cooperation had long been the norm between MinAtom (later RosAtom) and the IRI, there is clear reason to suspect that leading MinAtom officials sought to deepen this cooperation with the Iranian government throughout the 1990s by secretly negotiating bilateral deals over the sale of restricted nuclear technology—a policy distinctly at odds with the state’s otherwise official or rhetorical commitment to nuclear non-proliferation. As mentioned previously, in 1995 MinAtom General Director Viktor Mikhaylov had been directly implicated by Yeltsin’s Security Council in a series of deals with the Iranian government which sought to provide the IRI with 2000 tons of uranium as well as a gas centrifuge to be used for uranium enrichment (Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 52; Parker, 2009, pp. 116–17). Although Yeltsin’s administration would insist that it had been unaware of Mikhaylov’s secret dealings prior to the Security Council’s investigation (Parker, 2009, pp. 116–17), the fact that Mikhaylov would stay in office as general director of MinAtom for nearly three years after the investigation suggests that Yeltsin had been pursuing a concessionary policy designed to placate opposition parties and business elites with an avowed interest in cultivating further ties to Iran. The value of such transactions to members of Russia’s nuclear industry should not be underestimated. According to Orlov and Vinnikov, Mikhaylov’s Bushehr deal alone was then valued at $800–$1 billion. They write: “This hard currency was to feed an entire chain of Russian nuclear institutions, providing significant assistance to a nuclear industry shocked by the breakup of the Soviet Union and the ensuing economic chaos of the early 1990s in Russia” (Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 51). Director Mikhaylov had reportedly anticipated that side-deals arranged between MinAtom and the IRI on restricted technologies would ultimately function to broaden the scope of future nuclear collaboration between the two nations, thereby leading to a general increase in customers for Russia’s ailing nuclear industry (Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 51). While the Bushehr deal itself would be the only one formalized during this period, the potential for further nuclear collaboration had loomed large in 1995 owing to an expectation that Russia would ultimately supply Iran with three additional civilian nuclear reactors valued at $3 billion (Wehling, 1999, p. 135). By allowing Mikhaylov to remain as MinAtom director in the wake of allegations about his illicit dealings, the Yeltsin administration was clearly signaling to members of the nuclear industry (and their political clients within Kremlin opposition parties) its intention to broaden foreign nuclear development opportunities—even if such opportunities came at the expense of violating Yeltsin’s commitments to nuclear nonproliferation or the further expansion of ties to western nations.

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Russia 111 Attributing the ongoing tenure of Viktor Mikhaylov to a concessionary domestic political strategy is, perhaps, the best way to reconcile the Kremlin’s apparent commitment to non-proliferation with its frequent violation of that commitment by MinAtom and nuclear technology firms throughout the 1990s. Yeltsin’s appointment of Yevgeny Adamov to MinAtom’s general directorship in 1998 only further serves to support this claim, as soon thereafter Director Adamov would stand accused of having been involved in unilateral dealings in restricted nuclear technologies between his firm NIKIET and Iran from 1992 to 1998 (Parker, 2009, pp. 137–41). While it remains possible to suggest that the Kremlin had been somehow “unaware” of these illegal transactions at the time of Adamov’s appointment, the fact that he would stay in this office for another two years following such allegations suggests the likelihood that the Kremlin (now under newly inaugurated President Putin) was still operating to appease a substantial pro-Iranian opposition. In fact, it was not until March 2001 that Putin’s Kremlin would replace Director Adamov with Aleksandr Rumyantsev— a more robust advocate of non-proliferation. In contrast to the general directorships of Mikhaylov and Adamov, Director Rumyantsev’s tenure (2001–5) was defined by a decisively less cooperative orientation toward Tehran that was consistent with the Kremlin’s long-standing official commitment to non-proliferation. The decisive policy reorientation of MinAtom/RosAtom under the directorship of Rumyantsev—and later Kiriyenko (2005–present)—is confirmed by the fact that both directors would become increasingly leery of the IRI’s efforts to enrich uranium, and so consequently they pursued policies designed to curb such outcomes. In 2005 Director Rumyantsev would sign agreements with Iran pledging Russia both to deliver nuclear fuel supplies to Iran’s civilian Bushehr reactor and also to take possession of spent nuclear fuel that could otherwise be diverted for purposes of weapon development (BBC, 2005; Parker, 2009, p. 255). A move of shrewd diplomacy, these agreements not only demonstrated Moscow’s ongoing support for the development of an Iranian civilian nuclear program, but simultaneously reduced the likelihood of such a program becoming a platform for weaponization by making Iran dependent upon Russia for the development and management of nuclear fuel. The first fuel deliveries to Iran under these agreements would be conducted in December 2007 under the tenure of Rumyantsev’s successor, a former Yeltsin-appointed prime minister, Sergey Kiriyenko (BBC, 2007). By Parker’s (2009) account, Kiriyenko’s appointment to the directorship of RosAtom (formerly MinAtom) in 2005 would quickly be associated with a general slowdown of work at Bushehr that was intended to further deter Iran from continuing its development of a domestic nuclear fuel cycle (p. 120). Thus, while MinAtom officials during the 1990s can clearly be credited with efforts to aid Iran’s development of a domestic nuclear fuel cycle—a position highly at odds with the Yeltsin regime’s avowed commitment to curbing nuclear proliferation—by the early 2000s they (and later RosAtom officials) would begin to pursue a policy course that was in concert with the Kremlin and that sought to stifle Iran’s domestic uranium enrichment program. Again, it is the contention of

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this chapter that the policies of MinAtom have been grounded largely in domestic political realities. In the case of the Yeltsin administration, this chapter has depicted the argument which claims that the appointments of both Mikhaylov and Adamov were political concessions designed to placate opposition forces otherwise critical of the President—a contingency which functioned to increase political affinity between Russia and Iran. Similarly, this chapter has argued that as opposition power began to wane during the early 2000s, the Kremlin no longer felt it necessary to engage in the same form of concessionary politics and so began to support director-level appointments in the atomic energy ministry that would responsibly represent its own aspirations—a contingency which functioned, in turn, to depress political affinity between the two nations. As will be illustrated in a subsequent section, the rise to power of the proKremlin political party Unity (later merged with OVR to form United Russia) during the course of the 1999 parliamentary elections and 2000 presidential campaign would provide the Kremlin with a strong base of support within the federal legislature to dramatically offset the power and presence of opposition parties. Under the presidencies of Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev, the political executive and United Russia would work collaboratively to institute a series of reforms that would provide the federal executive with increasing stability, unhindered power over policy formation, and control over regional governments, thereby progressively insulating the Kremlin from the need to make political concessions to opposition parties and interests. I contend simply that during the course of such events, pro-Iranian parties and economic interests lost, decidedly, the leverage they had maintained over Russian foreign policy throughout the 1990s—a change which contributed to the general downturn in Russian–Iranian defense and nuclear relations that began to appear during the early 2000s.

The impact of Yeltsin’s concessionary politics on Caspian-based cooperation Although the tenure of Yevgeny Primakov throughout the 1990s has here been equated with improved ties with Tehran in matters of defense and nuclear development, the same may also be said of his importance to maintaining cooperation with Tehran in Caspian-related matters throughout the 1990s. Primakov’s nonwestern policy orientation as well as his overwhelming interest in collaborating with Iran to maintain regional security functioned as an important counterweight to policies of the Yeltsin administration on the Caspian which might otherwise have destabilized long-standing cooperation in favor of emerging natural resource development opportunities. I do not insist here that Primakov’s tenure necessarily improved cooperation over issues of Caspian delimitation, but rather suggest that his long-standing political influence likely prevented cooperation from diminishing early on under pressure from the oil and gas lobby and its direct influence on the presidential administration. Primakov’s non-western, proIranian disposition is here suspected to have offset the influence of Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin’s (1992–8) long-time affiliation with the

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Russia 113 oil and gas industry of both the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation which otherwise acted as an expedient channel for oil and gas industry lobbyists to influence the presidential administration’s policies in relation to Caspian resource development. Having served as deputy minister (1982–5) and minister (1985–91) of the Soviet Ministry of the Gas Industry, Viktor Chernomyrdin is credited with subsequently transforming the ministry into a 100 percent state-controlled corporation, Gazprom, in 1989 (Goldman, 2008, p. 60). Chernomyrdin’s successful restructuring campaign earned him a place in Yeltsin’s early cabinet where he quickly advanced from the position of deputy prime minister in May 1992 to prime minister in December of that same year (Goldman, 2008, p. 60). By Marshall Goldman’s (2008) account, Chernomyrdin’s influence over Gazprom dealings, following his return to government, was preserved through the successive appointment of his former Deputy Minister (during the Soviet era) Rem Vyakhirev to the position of Gazprom chairman and CEO (pp. 60, 101). Both Chernomyrdin and Vyakhirev would come to profit greatly from the distribution of shares which followed Gazprom’s 1993 transformation from a public into a private joint stock company (Goldman, 2008, p. 160; Parker, 2009, p. 150). Chernomyrdin’s close relationship to Gazprom would come to have a dramatic impact upon Russian policy in subsequent years as Gazprom reportedly began to use its financial influence to steer political outcomes. According to Parker (2009), during 1994 Gazprom provided an estimated $15,000 bribe to each Duma deputy as part of a plan designed to buy Chernomyrdin political support during an upcoming no confidence vote which threatened to oust him from the office of prime minister (Parker, 2009, p. 150). Similarly, under Rem Vyakhirev’s control, Gazprom is reported to have acted as one of the key financiers both to Chernomyrdin’s party NDR during the 1995 parliamentary elections and to Yeltsin’s 1996 reelection campaign (McFaul, 2005, pp. 70–1; Reddaway & Glinsky, 2001, p. 501). The growing dependency of both the presidential administration and premiership upon energy receipts for continued power would become a clear source of tension between Moscow and Tehran as the competitive development of hydrocarbon resources in the Caspian moved to the foreground in 1993. As described in Chapter 2, between 1993 and 1994 competing lobbies in Moscow had been engaged in a battle over emerging resource development opportunities in the Azeri portion of the Caspian Sea (Parker, 2009, p. 152). On one side, leading energy firms close to the Kremlin had been pressuring the state to endorse lucrative joint E&P opportunities in conjunction with western firms and Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR) (Parker, 2009, pp. 152–3). On the other side, Parker (2009) recounts that both Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Services (SVR), then under the direction of Yevgeny Primakov, and Foreign Ministry, under the leadership of Andrei Kozyrev, bitterly protested any new Caspian development projects which “had not been approved by Russia and all the other littoral countries” (p. 152). By Parker’s (2009) account, both Primakov and the generally western-leaning Kozyrev feared that Russian participation in E&P activities which did not have

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the full support of all littoral nations might jeopardize further Iranian cooperation in resolving the Tajik civil war and also complicate ongoing negotiations between MinAtom) and the IRI over the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant (Parker, 2009, p. 152). By engaging in offshore Azerbaijani E&P activities in advance of any new formal delimitation regime, Russia would thus provide de facto support for a national sector approach to Caspian delimitation that not only neutralized Iran’s ability to veto such proposals (as had been the custom under a condominium approach to resource utilization) but would also restrict Iran’s ownership of Caspian waters to a much smaller 13–14 percent share (Parker, 2009; pp. 151–3; see also Ghafouri, 2008). According to Parker (2009), both Primakov and Kozyrev had taken the lead in attempting to stop the Azeri project. By his account, in June 1994, the Foreign Ministry had notified the British embassy in Moscow that the Russian Federation did not consider the BP-backed project to be legal owing to the lack of formal consensus on delimitation issues (Parker, 2009, p. 152). Chernomyrdin reportedly dismissed these statements, thereby prompting both Primakov and Kozyrev to appeal directly to Yeltsin in a letter protesting Russian collaboration with westernsupported joint ventures in the Caspian (Parker, 2009, pp. 152–3). Although the energy lobby would ultimately prevail through receiving diplomatic support from both Yeltsin and Chernomyrdin which led directly to Russia’s participation in the new Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) during 1994, it is important to recall that Russia would not officially open any inter-governmental national sector negotiations (based upon the MML approach) with neighboring Caspian states until July 1998 (Parker, 2009, p. 157)—a year after the Tajik peace accords were signed in Moscow in the presence of both Yeltsin and Primakov and the Iranian Foreign Minister (Parker, 2009, p. 176). Given that Russia signed bilateral agreements with both Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan during 2002 that formally endorsed a national sector approach to resource development based upon the MML principle in the North Caspian, we might wonder why these negotiations did not follow soon after the events of 1994. While the need to maintain cooperation with Iran in matters of the Tajik civil war were no doubt important, it is also clearly the case that both Yeltsin and Chernomyrdin were becoming increasingly dependent upon the energy industry for their political longevity and so could reasonably be expected to pursue policies favoring regional energy development. As a prominent global energy provider, Iran clearly presented a challenge to Russian firms bankrolling the Kremlin both through its natural resource endowment and its geo-strategic location which could effectively be used to undercut Russian control over Caspian exports to European markets (Kemp, 2000, p. 150). While Yeltsin and Chernomyrdin had acted to ensure Russia’s de facto support for a national sector delimitation position that would enable North Caspian states to begin early production, in reality formal negotiations did not proceed for roughly four years. How are we to explain this delay in Russia’s decision to begin formal inter-governmental national sector negotiations? As I have stated throughout this chapter, Primakov’s political tenure—so much at odds with the goals of the Yeltsin administration—clearly represents a

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Russia 115 long-standing concession to the abundant levels of anti-Kremlin elites. While Yeltsin and Chernomyrdin should have had the constitutional authority to pursue highly unilateral policies in matters of Caspian delimitation (as well as nuclear and defense-based cooperation), pro-Iranian, Kremlin opposition groups represented by CPRF and LDPR members of the State Duma between 1994 and 1998 (see Appendix Table A.9) suggest that the Yeltsin administration was likely required to moderate its preferred position on Caspian policy (and elsewhere) as part of a concessionary political strategy. The decline of CPRF and LDPR representation in the Duma in the wake of the 1999 elections—just six months after the opening of national sector line negotiations with Kazakhstan―suggests that opposition influence was predictably weakening, freeing up the presidential administration to pursue its optimal Caspian policy—a policy which was eventually codified between Russia and both Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan in May and September 2002—just months prior to another significant decline in opposition power.

Section summary In this section I have suggested that high levels of Russian–Iranian cooperation in matters of defense, nuclear development and Caspian affairs (otherwise here referred to as GPA) during the 1990s were due largely to changes in the Russian Federation’s political and economic status quo following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The demise of the USSR along with post-Communist reforms of the Yeltsin administration alienated significant portions of the nation’s political and economic elites, thereby generating a strong level of opposition to the presidential administration’s liberal, pro-western policy agenda. At the same time, Yeltsin’s new state constitution of 1993 both encouraged party development and expanded representation in the nation’s federal legislature through the use of new electoral formulas relying, in part, upon a system of proportional representation. The new expanded level of representation thus provided disfranchised political and economic groups with increasing opportunities to influence public policy formation. Growing opposition influence in the nation’s legislature forced Yeltsin’s administration to offer high-profile political concessions in exchange for continued political legitimacy and the stability of the new national constitution. The fact that Communists, nationalists, and representatives of the nation’s ailing military-industrial complex all maintained certain ideological and economic predispositions for expanding cooperation with Iran encouraged Yeltsin’s administration to pursue concessionary tactics that would underwrite increasing political affinity with Tehran. Figures like Yevgeny Primakov, Viktor Mikhaylov, and Yevgeny Adamov utilized their presidentially appointed positions to facilitate bilateral cooperation with Iran in defense, nuclear technology, and Caspian affairs in a manner that was clearly at odds with the Kremlin’s wishes—but satisfied the aspirations and interests of opposition elites. Thus at the very time when the Kremlin had sought to expand relations with the United States and other western powers unfriendly to Iran, Russian relations with the Islamic Republic also increased, thereby creating the impression that Russian foreign policy in the post-Soviet era was rather unpredictable. By focusing upon

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changing domestic political conditions, this chapter has attempted to provide a rational explanation for Russia’s dualistic and seemingly contradictory policy orientation.

PART II: ERA OF DIMINISHED COOPERATION, 2001–13

Introduction In this section I again focus attention on changes in Russia’s domestic politics, this time suggesting that the consolidation of political power under Vladimir Putin and the United Russia (formerly Unity) party operated to marginalize competing political interests, thereby relieving the Kremlin of its prior need to pursue concessionary policies which supported deepening engagement with Tehran. Insofar as the most politically powerful opposition groups have generally been characterized by a decidedly pro-Iranian orientation, it is reasonable to anticipate that political marginalization would have had a largely negative impact upon cooperation with the Islamic Republic. As this study has demonstrated, GPA between the two nations exhibited markedly diminished levels between 2001 and 2013—a period which I will demonstrate was also marked by the Kremlin’s highly successful quest to regain control over policy formation. Thus I hope to show that arguments focusing upon domestic political explanations for changes in bilateral association are not only well suited for explaining heightened levels of GPA during the 1990s, but simultaneously offer competitive explanations for the diminishing level of cooperation that is evident during the first decade of the twenty-first century.

The consolidation of political power in Russia: the Putin–Medvedev years The first two successive presidential terms of Vladimir Putin (2000–8) (and later that of Dmitri Medvedev 2008–12) represent a fundamental reorientation of domestic politics in the Russian Federation away from the disaggregated policymaking of the Yeltsin years toward a more consolidated system of preferences (Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 54). Capitalizing upon the increasing presence of a pro-Kremlin political party through successive parliamentary elections during 1999 and 2003, these administrations proposed and initiated a series of political reforms which effectively reduced the number of competing preferences functioning in Russia’s policy bureaucracy. It is the contention of this chapter that a reduction in the political capacity of Kremlin opposition elites during the 2000s thus obviated the need for the Kremlin to pursue its concessionary line of politics which had been instrumental to cooperation with Tehran throughout the 1990s. According to John P. Willerton (2005), the success of the Kremlin-created Unity party (predecessor to United Russia) during the 1999 parliamentary elections, along with the subsequent election of its preferred candidate, Vladimir Putin, to the presidency in 2000 functioned to provide the federal executive with

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Russia 117 increasing leverage over competing preferences in the federal legislature. He writes, “the Presidential administration was better able to effectively manipulate rival Duma factions, secure influence with standing committees, and coopt the legislative leadership to reorient legislative action in a direction more compatible with Kremlin interests” (p. 31). In the 1999 parliamentary elections for the third Duma, Unity had decisively changed the balance of power within the federal legislature. Winning 16.9 percent of seats, the pro-Kremlin party not only outperformed rival parties such as Primakov’s OVR (9.4 percent) and the traditionally strong LDPR (3.5 percent), but more importantly its victory overturned the CPRF ’s control of nearly one-third of house seats during the second Duma, leaving it with a much reduced 18.6 percentage share (Remington, 2005, p. 47). According to Stephen White (2007), “[Unity] rejected left-wing and right-wing ideologies in favour of a ‘political centrism’ that could unite all sections of society and which was expressed in the policies of President Putin” (p. 85). Following the 1999 elections, the Kremlin wasted no time in introducing powerful political reforms which would ensure its insulation from competing preferences in the nation’s policy bureaucracy. Putin’s first round of reforms beginning in 2000 was aimed largely at increasing the vertical power of the federal government over Russia’s 89 regions, a clear reaction to the central government’s nearly decade-long battle with the government of the Chechen Republic over questions of state sovereignty. A law enacted in 1995 had provided popularly elected regional governors with increasing power over national policy by providing them—along with heads of regional legislatures—with automatic appointments to the federal legislature’s upper chamber (the Federation Council) (Remington, 2005, p. 52). In an effort to reduce both regional elected officials’ independence from the Kremlin and their overall ability to affect national policy, Putin’s administration proposed and successfully passed legislation that transferred popularly elected governors from the Federation Council to less potent positions in the presidential advisory body known as the State Council (Willerton, 2005, p. 32), replacing their positions in the upper house with appointees who had been selected by the regional legislatures themselves (Remington, 2005, p. 52). Serving in the capacity of presidential advisors, regional governors were thus made increasingly dependent upon the federal executive for assistance in pursuing their policy agenda, thereby reducing the power of regional interests to influence national policy and legislation (Willerton, 2005, p. 28). During 2002, then President Putin would go on to create the State Council of Legislatures, yet another presidential advisory group that would seek to incorporate the heads of regional legislatures who had similarly been displaced from their positions in the Federation Council (Willerton, 2005, p. 28). The removal of popularly elected governors and heads of regional legislatures from their automatic membership of the Federation Council and institution in presidential advisory bodies thus functioned to ensure a more compliant upper house through its transfer of regional elites into the hierarchy of executive power. While the federal executive under Yeltsin may have been required to make bold political concessions to opposition figures and interests, under Putin it

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clearly appears that the situation was being carefully and dramatically reversed. By transferring regional elites from the upper house of parliament into the hierarchy of executive power, the Kremlin gained the ability to force policy concessions from regional executives and legislatures. During Putin’s first term, the Kremlin went even further in its efforts to reduce the autonomy of regions and local interests by dividing the Federation into seven administrative districts in 2000 which were to be overseen by presidential appointees, thereby giving the Kremlin direct oversight of regional affairs (Hahn, 2005, pp. 156–7). Not only were regional governments becoming increasingly incorporated into the hierarchy of presidential power, but at the same time the Kremlin’s reforms also virtually ensured that the Federation Council would become highly compliant with the Kremlin’s policy priorities (Remington, 2005, p. 53). Not only was a more compliant upper chamber unlikely to invoke its legislative oversight powers—thereby easing the process of Kremlin-proposed legislation—but it was also more likely to endorse the Kremlin’s nominees to the nation’s high courts—a contingency which also could be made to further distort the balance of power between the Kremlin and the federal judiciary (for a discussion on Federation Council powers see Remington, 2005, pp. 52–3). While such reforms worked largely in the favor of the executive, it was not until the 2003 parliamentary elections to the fourth Duma that the presidential administration gained a virtual monopoly of power over the lower house, and so could effectively insulate the Kremlin from all opposition parties and interests in parliament—thereby reducing its need to employ the concessionary tactics of the Yeltsin administration that had effectively underwritten Russian relations with Iran throughout the 1990s. The pattern of Unity’s previous success was repeated on an even larger scale during the 2003 parliamentary elections following its merger with OVR. The newly renamed All-Russian Party of Unity and Fatherland, a.k.a. United Russia (UR) (White, 2005, p. 85), was one of only four official parties to gain seats within the legislature (Remington, 2005, p. 47). With its win of 68 percent of the lower house, UR was the first party ever to hold a solid majority of seats, a position which gave it substantial power to control the formation of parliamentary committees and thus the general quality of policy direction. According to Remington, UR engineered its control over policy formation in the lower house by abandoning the traditional practice that had assigned committee chairmanships— and seats on the Duma’s governing council—according to the principle of proportional representation (Remington, 2005, p. 51). Using a majoritarian strategy to assign high-ranking positions, UR gained near total control over all house committee positions, a contingency which would ultimately enable UR to provide assistance as well as superficial legitimacy to Kremlin-proposed legislation and initiatives (Remington, 2005, p. 51). UR’s substantial majority and control of parliamentary bodies in the lower house, along with the Federation Council’s high level of dependency upon the Kremlin, helped Putin’s administration to reengineer the nation’s electoral system in a manner that would largely preclude any opposition party or interests from further influencing public policy formation. In a further challenge to

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Russia 119 regional interests, the Kremlin passed legislation in 2004 which eliminated popular elections for regional executives, replacing them with presidential appointees who then simply required the “approval” or confirmation of local legislatures (Remington, 2005, p. 59). Soon thereafter, the administration proposed and passed legislation which not only increased the number of parliamentary seats in the lower house but, more importantly, eliminated all single-member district (SMD) seats—a move that would provide significant advantage to UR in forthcoming elections at the expense of the CPRF and other opposition parties (Remington, 2005, p. 59). While opposition parties had largely been defeated on the nation’s PR ballot, SMD voting had, traditionally, functioned to provide the CPRF with substantial gains in the lower house (see McFaul, 2005, p. 69, for historical electoral results). The subsequent 2007 parliamentary elections to the fifth Duma would clearly demonstrate the power of such reforms to engineer UR and the Kremlin decisive political victory. The 2007 elections revealed that UR would continue to maintain a decisive majority, this time winning 70 percent of the house, with the few remaining seats divided between the CPRF (12.7 percent), LDPR (8.9 percent), and Fair Russia (8.4 percent) (Russia Votes, n.d.). One of the most notable results of the elimination of SMD seats was the effective restriction on all independent deputies from seat holding. Traditionally, independents who were unable to clear the 5 percent threshold could still rely upon SMD ballots to acquire seats within the Duma; following the Kremlin’s 2004 reforms, no independent deputies were admitted to parliament—a significant change over preceding elections with disturbing anti-democratic implications (see Russia Votes, n.d.). Thus this section argues that although the Putin regime may have undertaken domestic political reforms as part of a larger effort to increase the executive’s leverage over competing interests in sub-federal regions and the nation’s federal legislature, these same reforms likely had unexpected outcomes on Russia’s foreign relations. With the political power of pro-Iranian opposition parties like the CPRF and LDPR radically diminished by institutional reforms, the Putin (and later Medvedev) regimes became largely insulated from the need to engage in the sort of concessionary politics that had underwritten Russian–Iranian relations during the Yeltsin era. As will be demonstrated in the following chapter, the rise to power of neo-conservative elites in the Islamic Republic during this same period would place new pressures on the cooperative relationship as Iran began increasingly to draw fire from the international community over the unclear nature of its expanding nuclear program. Feeling little pressure domestically to cooperate with Tehran, and greater pressure internationally to discontinue ties, the Russian Federation became increasingly dissatisfied with its partnership with Tehran and so made a utilitarian calculation to reduce its ongoing level of cooperation.

Conclusion In the case of the Russian Federation I have argued that Boris Yeltsin’s political and economic reforms of the early 1990s both engendered and empowered

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a large-scale wave of opposition that forced the Kremlin to pursue a highly concessionary political strategy, wherein the Kremlin traded policy authority for continued political legitimacy. In concrete terms, Yeltsin’s concessionary strategy was most evident in its appointment of opposition-friendly elites to high-ranking, cabinet-level positions which carried significant influence in Russian–Iranian relations (Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Atomic Energy, premiership, and Foreign Intelligence Services). The decisively pro-Iranian orientation of key political and economic opposition groups (represented by the CPRF, LDPR, and military-industrial complex) thus ensured that the Russian Federation would work to improve ties with Iran in matters of defense, nuclear development, and territorial agreement in the Caspian, in spite of the Kremlin’s overt commitment to building cooperative ties with western nations that were otherwise opposed to expanded cooperation between Moscow and Tehran. Following the parliamentary successes of the pro-Kremlin Unity/United Russia party in 1999 and 2003, as well as subsequent rounds of Kremlinsponsored institutional reforms in 2000 and 2004, the political executive enhanced its control over the political and economic status quo and so successfully marginalized all real political opposition. The Kremlin’s efforts to restrict political representation thus obviated the need for the Putin administration to continue the former program of concessionary tactics which had indirectly underwritten the high levels of Russian–Iranian cooperation which had defined the 1990s. While the Putin and Medvedev administrations have not been characterized as devoutly anti-Iranian, the loss of pro-Iranian influences in the policymaking process due to political infighting and diminished representation is here argued to have functioned to depress bilateral relations throughout the first decade of the twenty-first century. Based upon the arguments developed in this chapter, I formulate three hypotheses to be tested in Chapter 7: Hypothesis 1: Changes in Russian–Iranian bilateral cooperation are positively associated with the level of party representation in Russian domestic political institutions.

Hypothesis 2: Changes in Russian–Iranian bilateral cooperation are positively associated with the influence of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF ) in Russian domestic political institutions.

Hypothesis 3: Changes in Russian–Iranian bilateral cooperation are positively associated with the influence of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) in Russian domestic political institutions.

6

Domestic politics and bilateral relations A micro-level analysis of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Introduction In the case of Iran, this chapter argues that changes in the Islamic Republic’s domestic political field during the early 1990s and 2000s had important ramifications for the general level of political affinity between Tehran and Moscow. Following a tradition of scholarship, the argument can be made that the death of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, as well as a general dissatisfaction with the dire post-revolutionary conditions of the 1980s and a host of constitutional amendments in 1989, had led to the emergence and institutionalization of an increasingly factionalized one-party system which, during the 1990s, attempted to steer the Islamic Republic away from purely revolutionary principles of isolation and non-alignment in favor of a foreign policy strategy of integration and increasing international cooperation (Rakel, 2009, 2007). Although Moscow would not be the only beneficiary of this renewed interest in international reorientation, this study suggests that these developments have been important to bilateral cooperation insofar as pragmatists and reformists increased ties with Moscow as part of a larger strategic effort to boost both development and diplomacy. Yet by the late 1990s, the progressive policies of these reform-based factions were beginning to fuel the emergence of a counter-reform movement among the nation’s religious conservatives and revolutionary hardliners (a.k.a. neo-conservatives) which sought to stem the rising tide of liberal ideology in both domestic and foreign affairs. While Moscow had benefited throughout the 1990s from Iran’s increasing turn toward pragmatism in its foreign policy, this chapter suggests that the capture of the nation’s republican institutions by revolutionary hardliners and conservatives in the early 2000s would shake the foundations of intergovernmental cooperation, as Iran returned increasingly toward revolutionary principles and the unilateralism in foreign affairs that was characteristic of the 1980s. This study contends that the consolidation of power under neoconservatives and religious conservatives during the mid-2000s would come to have a decidedly negative impact upon relations with the Russian Federation, insofar as Iran’s increasingly radical policies (predominantly in the nuclear sector) entailed egregiously high political costs for Moscow’s continued political

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support. Unwilling to jeopardize its own political relationships with western nations, and no longer in need of pursuing a concessionary approach to proIranian factions among Russia’s policy elite (as described in the preceding chapter), I argue, Moscow increasingly chose to abandon its cooperation with Tehran in matters of defense and development. This study argues that in the case of both Russia and Iran, postrevolutionary conditions had precipitated a polarization of interest groups which became functionally embedded in the nation’s political machinery as a result of broad political reforms which, in turn, positively contributed to expanding cooperation between the two capitals. But while revolution had initially opened up the political playing field to a variety of actors, within a relatively short period of time the new plurality of interests precipitated an unhealthy competition in both nations for control over political power. The resolution of that struggle, in both cases, resulted in a substantial decrease in levels of elite representation, which in various ways functioned to delimit cooperation between Moscow and Tehran, reversing the general rapprochement of the 1990s. Thus, if it can be said that relations between Moscow and Tehran during the post-Soviet era have been determined largely by changing domestic political conditions, then it may also be claimed that the aftermath of revolution was the cause of almost cyclical cooperation and non-cooperation. Whether the post-revolutionary climate of nations can more generally be said to cause a predictable cycle of expansion and collapse in international cooperation is beyond the scope of this study. Still, both cases prove to be powerful examples of how the turbulence of domestic politics in fact shapes the quality of international affairs.

PART I: ERA OF HIGH COOPERATION, 1989–2000

Precursors to cooperation: the opening of policy space in the Islamic Republic Just as in the Russian Federation, the late 1980s in Iran were characterized by a challenge to the status quo of domestic authority. Although Iran’s religious clerics had maintained decisive political control over the country following the 1979 revolution with a state-wide constitutional referendum that supported the creation of a Shia Islamic theocracy, Eva Patricia Rakel (2009) has noted that there had always been—since the time of the revolution—a degree of latent factionalism among the ruling religious clerics (p. 105). According to Rakel and others, it was the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini himself who managed to reduce the level of factional infighting among his contemporaries (Rakel, 2009, p. 105; Rieffer-Flanagan, 2009, p. 15). In the wake of Khomeini’s death in June 1989, Rakel (2009) indicates that these latent ideological divisions within the regime both intensified and became increasingly manifest. She writes:

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Iran 123 His death created the space for more open conflict among those political elites with different views on domestic (economic and socio-cultural) and foreign policy. Since then, the different views have been aligned in political factions that compete with one another for power. (Rakel, 2009, p. 105) Despite the fact that the death of Khomeini may have opened up the political space for such groups to operate, Rakel (2009) indicates that the inherent growth of factionalization within the Republic was largely the product of the dire economic and socio-cultural conditions that existed throughout the 1980s (pp. 116–17). Specifically, she argues that the ten-year war with Iraq, as well as the harsh socio-cultural restrictions imposed upon the population by the regime, had a particularly debilitating effect upon support for revolutionary policies, and increasingly turned the population’s attention toward the severity of the nation’s economic conditions, leading to the growth of reformist factions (Rakel, 2009, p. 117). According to Rakel (2009), the generation of Iranians born in the 1970s and 1980s were particularly sensitive to the nation’s dire socio-economic conditions which, in turn, became a focus of their political interest as they moved into the political space left vacant by retiring and deceased revolutionary hardliners (p. 117). By this account, the growing impact of globalization during this same era also functioned to complement these conditions by popularizing issues of gender equality, democracy, and the importance of civil society formation (Rakel, 2009, p. 117). While this chapter will analyze the policy priorities of Iran’s competing factions in later sections, it is sufficient at this time to note that by the close of the 1980s within Iran there had been a significant disillusionment with the policy preferences of the nation’s revolutionary regime. Through the death of Khomeini and a subsequent series of constitutional amendments in 1989, political moderates would come to play an increasingly decisive role in policy formation, and would ultimately work together using their new-found institutional leverage to deny revolutionary radicals access to key policy-making institutions. Under a new state-directed development campaign which tied economic prosperity to international engagement, moderates would overturn Khomeini’s autarkic and non-aligned foreign policy that had isolated Iran for the better portion of the 1980s (Moshaver, 2003, p. 287; Parker, 2009, p. 6); in so doing Tehran would work decisively to improve diplomatic cooperation with Moscow in both the late days of communism and the early post-Soviet years. Thus, by 1991, both the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federative Soviet Republic had experienced a substantial decline in the overall unitary nature of their policy preferences through the inclusion of competing and critical interests into their respective policy bureaucracies. Again, it is the contention of this study that the political liberalization of the late 1980s and early 1990s would lead to the conduct of an increasingly disaggregated foreign policy on the part of both nations as newly empowered interest groups sought to achieve their economic and political aims through opportunities afforded them via interstate

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cooperation. On this basis I suggest that the heightened Russian–Iranian cooperation of the 1990s was largely a product of increasing domestic representation in both nations. In later sections, I will argue that, just as in Russia, by the turn of the century factional infighting and the abuse of constitutional authority would function to dramatically alter the domestic political landscape and so negatively impact GPA between Tehran and Moscow.

Foundations of cooperation in the Islamic Republic of Iran: the Rafsanjani–Khatami years While Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s concessionary policies clearly functioned to swell bilateral relations with Tehran throughout the 1990s, changing political conditions inside the Islamic Republic during the late 1980s and early 1990s also worked in favor of expanding bilateral relations. Specifically, this chapter argues that increasing party factionalization of Iran’s ruling regime in the late 1980s positively impacted bilateral relations by diminishing the revolutionary hardliners’ (a.k.a. radicals’) ability to control public policy formation. Following the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the constitutional amendments of 1989, factional pragmatists—long dismayed by the country’s socio-economic hardships—gained considerable institutional leverage from which to reorient policy direction away from harmful revolutionary principles of isolation and unilateralism, toward a renewed commitment to internationalism in the conduct of foreign affairs. While the Russian Federation would not be the sole beneficiary of this renewed commitment to a reignited internationalism, increasing levels of elite representation are here hypothesized to have played a substantive role in improving political relations between the two nations. In the following sections I explore the origins of expanded elite representation, the ideologies of the various competing factions, and those political reforms which gave pragmatists increasing control over public policy formation.

The decline of radicalism and the rise of policy moderation (1989–96): the alliance of pragmatists and religious conservatives Scholars have noted that Iran’s experience of severe economic dislocation following nearly a decade of war and isolation had effectively created a factional divide among the nation’s one-party ruling elite over foreign policy priorities (Moshaver, 2003, p. 289; Rakel, 2007, p. 168). Where the dominant postrevolutionary faction known as the radical left (dominant between 1979 and 1988) had traditionally pursued two fundamental foreign policy goals—isolationism and the export of revolution—a new factional group referred to generically as the pragmatists gradually evolved between 1984 and 1988, seeing a reorientation of the nation’s foreign policy priorities as essential to post-war economic reconstruction (Moshaver, 2003, pp. 287–90; Rakel, 2009, pp. 115–17). Although scholars have noted that Iranian foreign policy has always been first

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Iran 125 and foremost concerned with regime survival (Moshaver, 2003, p. 283; Rakel, 2007, p. 187; Reiffer-Flanagan, 2009, p. 29), Rakel (2007) indicates that it is simultaneously the case that discrepancies between the objectives of competing factions have qualitatively changed the direction of foreign policy over the years (pp. 160–1, 165); thus the history of changing foreign policy aspirations can largely be equated with the history of party factionalization. As previously noted, the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, had been largely responsible for managing the growing rivalry among competing factions in Iran’s policy bureaucracy, subsequently providing a degree of stability or predictability to policy-making throughout the 1980s—with Khomeini’s radical left faction typically pursuing “isolationism” in Iranian foreign affairs (Rakel, 2009, p. 117). According to Rakel, the death of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 had “created the space for more open conflict among those political elites with different views on domestic (economic and socio-cultural) and foreign policy” (Rakel, 2009, p. 105; see also Moshaver, 2003, p. 289). The selection of a cleric from the religious conservative faction—the Ayatollah Khamenei—as the nation’s new Supreme Leader, along with the election of the republic’s new President, Hashemi Rafsanjani, a known pragmatist, would therefore come to have a dramatic impact upon the reorientation of Iranian foreign policy as competing preferences became functionally embedded in the nation’s key policy-making institutions. According to Rakel (2009), the religious conservative faction (descended from the fragmentation of the Iranian Revolutionary Party into radical left and conservative factions) represented by Khamenei was largely dichotomous in nature and generally could be understood to represent both traditional and liberal approaches to economics (i.e., state intervention or market orientation) and foreign policy (i.e., isolationism or integration) (pp. 117, 118, 120). The wide range of ideological preferences among religious conservatives would prove critical time and again to changing factional alignments and the general policy orientation of Iran, insofar as its representatives dominated the nation’s clerical institutions—institutions which, by constitutional mandate, controlled access to all republican offices. In contrast, the pragmatists represented a decisively liberal approach to both economics and foreign policy—preferring market-oriented reforms and international dialogue (Rakel, 2009, pp. 116–17). In light of these changing conditions, by 1989 all three factions had gained substantial representation in the nation’s policy-making bureaucracy, with religious conservatives controlling the office of the Supreme Leader and pragmatists and the radical left controlling the executive and parliament respectively (for parliamentary election results, see Inter-Parliamentary Union [IPU] website). Although the death of Khomeini and the long experience of harsh social, economic, and political conditions may have resulted in increasingly disaggregated policy behavior, powerful institutional changes in 1989 also functioned to provide one particular office with increasing leverage over international affairs, thereby imposing a margin of stability and predictability upon Iranian foreign policy. Constitutional amendments of 1989 both eliminated the position of prime

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minister and incorporated the premier’s responsibilities into the office of the political executive—a move which functioned to give the new president increasing responsibility over the conduct of foreign policy—as the office gained the constitutional right to dismiss heads of government ministries (Moshaver, 2003, p. 289; Rakel, 2007, p. 164). While Rakel (2007) notes that the Supreme Leader still wielded ultimate veto power over all foreign policy decisions, she also indicates that in the wake of the 1989 amendments the office of the president functionally became Iran’s “main foreign policy organ,” empowered by its control over the government’s Foreign Ministry as well as the State Planning and Budget Office, Central Bank, and Supreme National Security Council (pp. 164–5). By Rakel’s (2009) account, constitutional redesign as well as increasingly close collaboration between Hashemi Rafsanjani (representing the pragmatist faction) and Supreme Leader Khamenei (representing traditional religious conservatives) in the wake of 1989 functioned to marginalize the radical left’s control of foreign policy while also ushering in a wave of liberal/pragmatic international objectives (p. 118). She writes, “Between 1989 and 1990 a number of supporters of the radical left faction lost their positions in government, changes manifested by the dominance of pragmatism in the IRI [Islamic Republic of Iran]” (Rakel, 2009, p. 118). Despite the fact that the radical left would continue to maintain its control of the nation’s parliament (the Majlis) through 1991, it is important to note that the Majlis’ institutional authority in matters of foreign policy had been severely weakened by the 1989 amendments. Although the parliament still possessed the right to discuss and publicly comment upon the nation’s foreign affairs under the amended constitution, the legislature was subsequently precluded from holding the political executive to account for matters of foreign policy (Rakel, 2007, p. 165). Thus while predominance of the radical left within the parliament would persist temporarily, constitutional reform would substantively alter the balance of power among republican institutions, and subsequently domestic political factions. Yet the relative weakness of the parliamentary institution in matters of foreign policy was not the only hurdle to the radical left’s influence in foreign affairs. Between 1992 and 1996 the hardliner faction’s importance to Iranian policy formation continued to wane, as pragmatists and conservatives united, politically, in an effort to further dislodge the revolutionary faction from its long-standing control over the legislature and so gain decisive control over both republican and clerical bodies. The first disruption to the radical left’s control of parliament followed from the 1992 elections to the fourth Majlis, when a coalition of moderates consisting of pragmatists and religious conservatives won approximately 75 percent of the uni-cameral assembly’s seats, leaving radicals with a substantively diminished 25 percent share (IPU website). The victory of more moderate forces over representatives of the radical left had hinged upon the joint force’s control of key gate-keeping institutions, in particular the Guardian Council and the Interior Ministry. Formally, both institutions function to vet candidates in publicly held parliamentary elections, with the Interior Ministry analyzing applicants in the pre-election phase and the Guardian Council screening would-be candidates

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Iran 127 during the electoral period. (The Guardian Council’s mandate has changed substantially since 2004 as the Assembly of Experts has expanded its role in the pre-election process, thereby empowering it to serve as a potential counterweight to the Interior Ministry.) With the interior minister serving at the confidence of the president, and the Guardian Council traditionally dominated by religious conservatives, the moderate coalition thus maintained the requisite institutional leverage required to effectively restrict members of the radical elite from holding public office. During the 1992 elections the Guardian Council alone rejected more than 1100 of the original 3150 candidates or 35.23 percent, including more than 40 incumbents (Parsons, 2010, pp. 6–7). Elections to the fifth Majlis in 1996 proved even more devastating for members of the radical left, however, as control over the assembly became equally divided between pragmatists and conservatives—with neither faction reaching an absolute majority (IPU website). In order to engineer this victory, the Guardian Council once again relied upon its extraordinary gate-keeping powers to suspend the participation of more than 2000 candidates, or 38.93 percent of all applicants including incumbent legislators (Parsons, 2010, pp. 6–7). Thus by 1996 the radical faction—and its policy orientation favoring revolutionary principles—had been largely restricted from all of the nation’s leading clerical and republican institutions, leaving conservatives and pragmatists free to pursue the national growth agenda supported by President Rafsanjani unencumbered. But how would the coalition’s triumph over radicals actually come to impact Iranian foreign policy in the coming years? Vested with new powers to dictate the course of foreign policy, the presidency of Hashemi Rafsanjani—the nation’s emblematic pragmatist—marked a transition away from the ideologically oriented policies of the 1980s. Unencumbered by the influence of the radical left, and empowered by a close working relationship with progressive members of the conservative faction, Rafsanjani effected a wholesale change in both domestic and foreign policy orientation that was arguably instrumental to the Islamic Republic’s increasing affinity with Moscow throughout the 1990s.

Iran’s new pragmatism in domestic and foreign policy (1989–96): the Rafsanjani years Rafsanjani’s tenure as president may best be described by its overwhelming commitment to the promotion of a state-sponsored development campaign that sought to reverse the economic disparity associated with nearly a decade of war and international isolation. Not only had Khomeini and the radical hardliners supported a prolonged war with Iraq that had led to a diminished level of cooperation between Iran and the USSR during the 1980s, but simultaneously the regime’s policies had further served to isolate the Islamic Republic from sources of international support by setting the nation at ideological odds with both eastern and western bloc states during the late Cold War period. As a pragmatist, Rafsanjani sought to curtail these policies, successfully urging Khomeini

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(as acting prime minister in 1988) to end the decade-long war with Iraq, and later recalibrating domestic and foreign policy as the Iranian president in a direction that favored the expansion of bilateral and multilateral relations based upon trade and development (Rakel, 2007, pp. 167, 169, 170–8; Rieffer-Flanagan, 2009, p. 16). It is the contention of this chapter that Rafsanjani’s economic development campaign—which required an overhaul of both domestic and foreign policy—had a decidedly positive impact upon Russian–Iranian relations insofar as it enabled Tehran to reconceptualize its relationship with Moscow— moving it from ideological competitor of the 1980s to development partner during the 1990s. Under Rafsanjani, the state would become an essential instrument for stimulating domestic economic development. Though not always successful, the state’s efforts are noteworthy nonetheless for illustrating the character of Rafsanjani’s regime as well as its commitment to ending revolutionary policies associated with the radical left. The development of a domestic market economy had been one of Rafsanjani’s principal aims, evidenced by his reopening of Iran’s stock market in 1989 and his administration’s simultaneous push for large-scale privatization of state-held assets (Arjomand, 2009, p. 57). While Rafsanjani’s administration had pushed hard for privatization, subsequent allegations of corruption—and strict national labor laws protecting workers’ rights in state-owned firms—largely restricted the success of this campaign (Arjomand, 2009, pp. 57–8). Awkwardly, Rafsanjani’s push for privatization was accompanied by a simultaneous drive to further advance the state’s direct participation in economic development through direct efforts to increase the military’s role in the national economy. According to Said Amir Arjomand, rather than simply disbanding revolutionary fighting units such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Basij Militia, Rafsanjani sought to integrate these units into the regular military—placing them under the auspices of the newly formed Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics—while also investing them with a new economic purpose that would make them cooperative partners in the new postrevolutionary development campaign (Arjomand, 2009, pp. 59–60). Although Supreme Leader Khamenei formally blocked their full integration into the regular military, Arjomand acknowledges that these units became powerful economic forces during the 1990s in areas of construction, transportation, oil and gas development, and satellite technology (Arjomand, 2009, pp. 59–60). As this study will show, the decision not to disband such revolutionary organizations but rather to entrench them further into the nation’s conventional military structure and political economy came to have an important impact upon the direction of foreign policy and, more specifically, bilateral relations with Moscow. While President Rafsanjani sought to transform these organizations into stakeholders in the state’s new developmental program, in reality they remained largely undiluted, becoming ever more powerful structures that were capable of sustaining and further projecting radical preferences into the nation’s policy-making apparatus. In the coming years, the IRGC’s increasing control over the nation’s

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Iran 129 nuclear policy would have a tangible and negative effect upon Iran’s relations with the West and subsequently upon its relations with Moscow. But Rafsanjani’s administration was not to limit its conception of development to purely economic reforms and pursuits (Arjomand, 2009, p. 56). Importantly, his administration sought to expand education while also working to stimulate the growth of civil society. In educational terms, Arjomand (2009) reports that student levels tripled between 1987 and 1992 and then doubled again by 1997—a phenomenon that is reported to be associated with Rafsanjani’s mass expansion of the Islamic Free University (pp. 63–4). In terms of civil society development, Arjomand (2009) highlighted Rafsanjani’s efforts to reduce state restrictions on free media, indicating that the number of periodicals in Iran more than tripled between 1988 and 1992 (p. 64). Rafsanjani’s administration also reportedly encouraged the creation of a number of women’s organizations designed specifically for the purpose of enhancing gendered participation in politics (Arjomand, 2009, p. 64). While decisions to further entrench the IRGC and Basij Militia into the state apparatus offered revolutionary ideologues a growing place within the national policy forum, Rafsanjani’s efforts to revitalize civil society and civic engagement simultaneously empowered a political class of reform-minded actors interested in the liberalization of domestic politics and the further development of a pragmatic, internationalist agenda. The balance of these two forces, one radical and one liberal, set the stage for the domestic factional war of the late 1990s and 2000s that ultimately functioned to destabilize cooperative ties with Moscow that had been underwritten by Rafsanjani himself. This argument will be explored in later portions of this chapter. In the meantime, however, Rafsanjani’s domestic changes were being complemented by a significant reform of the nation’s foreign policy priorities—these adjustments paved the way for renewed regional engagement and worked to bolster cooperative ties with Moscow. Specifically, Rafsanjani presided over the complete reversal of the nation’s ideologically driven foreign policy goals which had defined the state throughout the post-revolutionary period and which had set a great distance between the Islamic Republic and the Soviet Union as well as Arab nations of the Gulf region (Arjomand, 2009, pp. 137–8; Rakel, 2007, pp. 160, 166–73). Principally, Rafsanjani and Iranian pragmatists believed that economic reconstruction of the state could only be successfully underwritten by an increase in oil revenues, the stabilization of oil export routes, and the expansion of markets for Iranian goods among the region’s Arab nations (Rakel, 2007, p. 172). Thus under Rafsanjani’s tenure, Iran quickly transitioned from its position as a revolutionary/revisionist state power intent upon the export of Islamic revolution, to a stake-holder nation in the reigning political and economic status quo. As part of this newly envisioned foreign policy program, Iran not only sought to resolve ongoing conflicts in Tajikistan and Afghanistan, but also worked constructively toward the resolution of hostilities between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region (Rakel, 2007, p. 171). Although Russian and Iranian support for rival factions in the Tajik civil war briefly soured

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relations between the two capitals during 1992 (see Figure 3.4), John W. Parker (2009) indicates that by 1994 the two nations had generally put aside the differences between them and begun to work together in an effort to achieve a diplomatic solution to the pressing conflict (pp. 57, 71–4, 86). Tehran and Moscow’s success in brokering a diplomatic peace between Tajik factions in 1997 (Rakel, 2007, p. 176) not only speaks to the high level of interstate cooperation that defined the Rafsanjani (and later Khatami) years, but substantively demonstrates the triumph of Iranian pragmatists over the radical left in terms of policy formation and the abandonment of policies supporting the export of Islamic revolution. While the nature of Iran’s support for Russia’s campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan during the 1990s was complicated by a wide array of geopolitical and ideological policy goals (including inherent ideological divisions between Shia Iran and the Pakistani-backed Sunni Taliban as well as a high level of dissatisfaction with Afghanistan’s ruling regime which was itself prejudicial toward domestic Shia minorities), both nations did in fact work together to supply arms and logistical support to counter-revolutionaries operating out of bases in Tajikistan with the aim of suppressing the Taliban uprising (Human Rights Watch, 2001, p. 41; Parker, 2009, p. 171). The collaborative effort of the two regimes in Afghanistan during the 1990s represents a decisive reorientation away from the adversarial relations that had plagued their dealings in Afghanistan during the 1980s, demonstrating yet again the tangible victory of pragmatists and conservatives over the radical left’s unilateral control of policy formulation. A summary of Iranian activities in Afghanistan during the 1990s illustrates clearly that involvement was predicated upon highly pragmatic/realist concerns that were consistent with the Rafsanjani administration’s desire to increase regional stability in order to bolster Iranian economic and diplomatic opportunities in the region. Iran’s involvement in the Afghan civil war of the early 1990s had been precipitated by a string of Taliban military victories over the fragile Afghan central government of Burhanuddin Rabbani in 1994 (Human Rights Watch, 2001, p. 36). Although the Rabbani administration had worked decisively to restrict Iran’s influence in Afghan affairs by denying cabinet-level seats to Iranianbacked Shia minorities in Afghanistan, the growing influence of the Pakistanibacked Taliban (with its ties to western nations) was even more threatening to Iranian interests in the region. Following the Taliban’s takeover of the city of Herat in western Afghanistan along the Iranian border in 1995, leaders in Tehran became increasingly convinced of the need for Iran to return to a policy of direct engagement in Afghanistan (Human Rights Watch, 2001, p. 36; Parker, 2009, p. 170). According to Parker (2009), not only did the Taliban’s takeover of Herat directly threaten Iran’s Afghani Shia clients but, more importantly, this victory enabled the Taliban to provide a proximate sanctuary for Sunni ethnic minorities opposed to the IRI regime (p. 170). According to Human Rights Watch (2001), between 1995 and the fall of 1996 Iran provided both diplomatic and military support to United Front Mujahideen forces operating in conjunction with the

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General Political Association

Rabbani government, adding that “Iranian diplomacy proved critical in forging a rapprochement among the divided anti-Taliban forces” (p. 36). With the fall of Kabul to the Taliban in September 1996, both Iran and Russia found common cause to work together to support United Front forces, as Moscow had become increasingly worried about the Taliban’s potentially destabilizing impact upon governments in the North Caucasus and Central Asia through the export of radical political Islam (Parker, 2009, pp. 169–70, 174). Where both nations had been tactical adversaries less than a decade before, under Rafsanjani’s (and later Khatami’s) tenure Iran came full circle and now began to work collaboratively with Moscow in support of the regional status quo. Rakel and Arjomand specifically credit Rafsanjani’s pragmatism with being the motive force that underpinned Iranian efforts during this same era to restore cooperative relations with Arab nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and encouraged Iran to pursue peace and prosperity in developing relations with newly independent, former Soviet states which, according to Arjomand, were then viewed as a valuable “$8–10 billion market for Iranian exports” (Arjomand, 2009, p. 143; see also Rakel, 2007, pp. 170–7; Moshaver, 2003, p. 289). Although the value of trade between Iran and the Russian Federation enjoyed only modest increases during Rafsanjani’s tenure (see Figure 2.1), an analysis of changing levels of GPA suggests a very different conclusion in terms of diplomatic relations during this period; economic cooperation would thus be only one aspect of the two nations’ otherwise increasing coordination. As Figure 6.1 demonstrates, Iran and Russia’s GPA scores between 1987 and 2013 improved more during the Rafsanjani administration’s tenure than under any other subsequent presidential administration. Prior to Rafsanjani’s election as president in 1989, and the crucial constitutional amendments that invested the Iranian presidency with substantial power over foreign policy, the level of GPA defines both nations as existing in a state of low cooperation, here represented by

10 8

8

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1.1

2 0

0.05

0

2007–11

2012–13

–2 –4

–5

–6 1987–91

1992–6

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2002–6

Figure 6.1 Point change in General Political Association during successive periods, 1987–2013. Point change is determined within each year period, rather than in between periods. Periods expressed here correspond to periods covered in Chapter 2 between 1987 and 2013 (source: For annual GPA scores, refer to Appendix Table A.11).

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a ranking GPA score of 9 for the years 1987–8 (see Appendix Table A.11). By 1991, just two years into Rafsanjani’s first term, composite GPA scores improved by an impressive 8 points to a composite GPA score of 17—thereby indicating a high level of political cooperation (see Table A.11). In real terms, this represents the single largest positive increase in GPA between 1987 and 2013 (see Table A.11). Though to a lesser extent, Rafsanjani’s second term (1992–6) demonstrates a continued gain of 5.5 points in GPA between Moscow and Tehran, thereby making the Rafsanjani administration unique in its generally positive impact upon bilateral relations (see Figure 6.1). Clearly, one cannot discount or dismiss the importance of pragmatist and conservative victories over the radical left in terms of their contribution to increasingly positive relations with Moscow during the 1990s. While pragmatists and their increasing influence in key policy-making institutions were clearly important to restoring and retaining cooperation with the newly formed Russian Federation, we must also recognize the specific importance of general political liberalization within Iran to these broad outcomes. Although increasing interstate cooperation during the 1990s may have depended largely upon the ideological predisposition of the pragmatist faction and its interest in development and support of the regional status quo, without opportunities to gain institutional representation such ideologies would of course have been largely precluded from directly impacting foreign policy outcomes. While the pragmatist position had been evolving throughout the 1980s in response to increasingly dire socio-economic conditions (Rakel, 2009, pp. 116–17), its impact upon foreign policy in general and bilateral relations with Russia in particular was restrained until the death of Khomeini, Rafsanjani’s presidential victory, and the constitutional reforms of 1989. These developments not only opened up policy space for a new factional regime, but more importantly gave them increasing opportunity to promote their influence by reducing the absolute power of the radical left to control policy outcomes. And while the coalition of religious conservatives and policy pragmatists was clearly having a positive impact upon Russian–Iranian relations during the early 1990s, half-way through the decade the partnership was already in jeopardy over the emergence of anti-reformist sentiments within the religious conservative faction. Insofar as Russian–Iranian cooperation had been largely contingent upon the victory of policy moderates over revolutionary radicals, there can be little doubt that a fracture within the moderate coalition and a return to radical values would come to have a substantially negative impact upon bilateral cooperation. And yet, despite these growing tensions, bilateral relations continued to remain highly cooperative for the remainder of the decade.

Factional realignments and the preservation of cooperation (1997–2003): the Khatami years The increasing potency of the pragmatists during the early 1990s would come to have a significant impact upon the further development of factional politics

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Iran 133 inside the Islamic Republic. The non-ideological position of policy moderates and pragmatists quickly engendered a counter-reform movement which viewed Rafsanjani’s development campaign as a direct threat to revolutionary values (Arjomand, 2009, p. 66). Variously referred to as radical hardliners and neoconservatives, this new counter-reform faction is said to have evolved among religious conservatives within the context of the fifth Majlis which served between 1992 and 1996 and in which conservatives and pragmatists held a near equal share of seats which together was just shy of an absolute majority (Arjomand, 2009, pp. 65–6; IPU website). By Arjomand’s (2009) account, the new hardliner faction was oriented principally around its commitment to supporting revolutionary values, with the cornerstone of the emergent faction hinging upon its support for the continuation of the Absolute Mandate of the Supreme Jurist—the constitutional principle that invested the office of Supreme Leader with authority based upon religious merit rather than electoral privilege (pp. 66–7). According to Arjomand, hardliner/neoconservatives “formulated their ideas in direct opposition to Hashemi Rafsanjani’s pragmatism” and emphasized revolutionary values over freedom and development, the cohesion of religion and politics, and the utility of violence in ensuring the continuity of revolutionary traditions (Arjomand, 2009, pp. 66–7. While hardliners never ultimately curbed the pragmatism of the Rafsanjani years—or negatively impacted bilateral relations with the Russian Federation during this period—by 1996 the revolutionary faction had become an increasingly potent force, as was evidenced by the diminishing level of cooperation that was becoming apparent between pragmatists and conservatives as well as between President Rafsanjani and Supreme Leader Khamenei in particular. By 1996 a decisive rift between parliamentary pragmatists and conservatives had become apparent after hardliners within the conservative faction were largely successful in steering the Society of Militant Clergy (JRM)—a conservative political party dating back to the revolutionary period—toward a counterreform agenda (Arjomand, 2009, p. 70). While Rafsanjani had long been a member of the JRM, the Iranian President would soon break with the organization over its increasingly counter-reformist orientation just prior to the 1996 parliamentary elections in order to form a moderate electoral bloc—the Executives/Servants of the Construction of Iran (ACI)—specifically devoted to a pragmatic policy agenda (Arjomand, 2009, p. 70). At the same time the rift between Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Rafsanjani seemed only to widen, as was evidenced by Khamenei’s support for hardliner candidate Ali Akbar Nateq-Nuri’s (then Speaker of the Majlis) 1997 presidential bid (Arjomand, 2009, p. 65). Khamenei’s growing sympathy for the hardliners’ counter-reform agenda, and his disapproval of Rafsanjani’s pragmatism, were further demonstrated that same year when he vetoed a constitutional amendment that called for extending presidential term limits to three successive terms—a proposition which would have enabled Rafsanjani to run for one additional term (Arjomand, 2009, pp. 64–5). With the conservative faction

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leaning clearly toward the counter-reform position adopted by hardliner/neoconservatives, outgoing President Rafsanjani and the pragmatists would seek new political allies in the emerging reformist movement—a faction which had prioritized republican values over clericalism while also supporting political liberalization and economic development. This chapter argues that it was this newly formed alliance between pragmatists and reformists which would largely underwrite continued political affinity with the Russian Federation for another four years. Ironically, reformists of the mid-1990s were none other than an ideologically reconstituted outgrowth of the former radical left faction. According to Rakel (2009), the Guardian Council’s repeat decision to exclude candidates of the radical left from running for elections to the fourth and fifth Majlis (1992–6, 1997–2001) had had a profound impact upon its members and precipitated a “decrease in radicalism” which paved the way for ideological reform within the movement (Rakel, 2009, p. 119; see also Arjomand, 2009, p. 68). By Arjomand’s (2009) account, the Council’s first decision effectively deprived 141 incumbents of their seats in elections to the fourth Majlis in 1992 (p. 68), thereby providing the moderate coalition of religious conservatives and pragmatists with near 75 percent control of the assembly (IPU website). According to Arjomand (2009), the much diminished radical faction in parliament thus began to reorganize itself around a newly restructured political organization known as the Mujahideen of the Islamic Revolution which supported a reform-based agenda; as part of a clear reaction to these exclusionary tactics, this new reform-minded faction adopted an inherently adversarial position to religious conservatives—thereby taking an ideological position which would effectively challenge the authority of the clerical leadership (pp. 68–9). Most notably, reformists would argue that the nation’s clerical leadership—rather than being constitutionally guaranteed—should be held electorally accountable to the will of the people (Arjomand, 2009, p. 69). While the growth of reformism did not immediately catch the attention of the pragmatist faction, the growing disaffection between pragmatists and religious conservatives would pave the way for what Rakel has referred to as the pragmatists’ and reformists’ “shared interest in confronting the conservative faction” (Rakel, 2009, p. 119). Despite the fact that pragmatists were generally politically conservative, and thereby supportive of the principle of the Absolute Mandate of the Jurist, Rakel indicates that there was significant ideological room for further affinity between the two factions in relation to matters of economics, sociocultural issues, and foreign policy—where both groups supported liberal positions favoring a market approach to economics, varying levels of individual freedoms, and integration in international relations (Rakel, 2009, p. 120). The increasing affinity between pragmatists and reformists was concretely illustrated in 1996 when outgoing President Rafsanjani provided public support for the reformist presidential candidate Mohammad Khatami (Arjomand, 2009, p. 65). Khatami won the 1997 presidential election with a near 70 percent majority, demonstrating his massive appeal among the voting population (Arjomand, 2009, p. 92). Khatami’s presidency would subsequently be characterized by its overwhelming support for the development of civil society, the promotion of the rule

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Iran 135 of law, and a clear desire to increase transparency in government through support for free media and organized public dialogue (Arjomand, 2009, p. 93; Moshaver, 2003, p. 291; Rakel, 2009, pp. 120–1). In foreign policy, Khatami’s presidency aimed to continue and even extend Rafsanjani’s diplomatic push as a means of ending international isolation and improving Iranian economic well-being through what he called a “dialogue of civilizations” (Arjomand, 2009, p. 146; Moshaver, 2003, p. 295; Rakel, 2007, pp. 178–9; Rieffer-Flanagan, 2009, p. 16). Under this program, not only did the Khatami administration work to sustain the level of regional cooperation developed by Rafsanjani among both Arab and post-Soviet nations, but it also bolstered Iranian efforts to improve relations with the European Union and the United States (Arjomand, 2009, p. 146; Moshaver, 2003, pp. 295–7; Rakel, 2007, p. 178). In terms of its specific relations with Moscow, Khatami’s first term (1997–2001) was associated with expanding cooperation in matters of both defense and nuclear development, and took on new dimensions as the two nations began to work together in Afghanistan (see Appendix Table A.11). Following the election of Mohammad Khatami to the Iranian presidency in May 1997, and the signing of the Tajik peace accords the following month, Moscow and Tehran began a joint effort to stem the growing influence of the Taliban in Afghanistan (Parker, 2009, pp. 119, 176, 178). Over the next four years, the two nations worked together to solve the complex logistical problems associated with military assistance to anti-Taliban forces operating out of northern Afghanistan, providing weapons, ammunition, military training, and maintenance services to the United Front forces (Human Rights Watch, 2001, pp. 36–45). By John W. Parker’s (2009) account, only after U.S. forces and the United Front (a.k.a. the Northern Alliance) had successfully routed the Taliban’s control over Kabul and Khandahar in December 2001 did the tactical alliance which had grown between Tehran and Moscow finally begin to decay (pp. 185–6). And yet, while the tactical level of cooperation between the nations was impressive given the stark geo-political competition that defined relations during the 1980s, it would be a mistake to view tactical coordination as a sign of deepening political affinity during the late 1990s. As Figure 3.4 in Chapter 3 demonstrates, GPA between Moscow and Tehran was in a state of relative decline throughout this era. Although the Khatami administration carried forward the internationalist orientation of the Rafsanjani era which had previously helped to bolster ties to Moscow, relations between the capitals were already beginning to languish. Although cooperation with Moscow may quite realistically have been challenged by Khatami’s more progressive foreign policy, which pushed farther than his predecessor’, in terms of expanding relations with both the European Union and the United States (at a time when the EU and NATO were expanding into former Communist states along Russia’s periphery), explanations rooted in domestic political competition are also possible. Principally, this study suggests that the slowing of cooperation under the Khatami administration was due likely to the increasing influence of anti-reform sentiments within the religious conservative faction, which had begun to place real limitations upon the reformists’ domestic and international

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agenda. In Part II of this chapter, I evaluate what impact a rising counterreformist presence inside Iranian institutions may have had upon bilateral relations with the Russian Federation.

Section summary In the case of Iran, this chapter has argued that high levels of Russian–Iranian GPA during the 1990s were, in part, derived from the growth of reform-based preferences among Iranian elites which became foundational to policy-making through significant institutional reform and factional alliances. With the help of moderate religious conservatives in the nation’s clerical institutions, Hashemi Rafsanjani—a leading moderate—was able to secure the nation’s presidency and so wrest control from revolutionary hardliners/radicals who had dominated policy-making throughout the 1980s. With new constitutional powers providing the office of the president with expanded decision-making capacity and a de facto alliance with religious conservatives, Rafsanjani’s administration was effectively able to steer the nation’s foreign policy away from the revolutionary principles that had isolated the Islamic Republic for nearly a decade. By reinvigorating Iran’s political and economic ties with regional nations, Rafsanjani thus sought to employ a new internationalist orientation in foreign policy in efforts to underwrite Iran’s economic development. As part of this development agenda, Rafsanjani sought to improve ties with the newly formed Russian Federation in matters of defense and nuclear cooperation. His administration’s commitment to a renewed diplomacy would demonstrate the single greatest gains in GPA between Tehran and Moscow in the late Communist and post-Soviet era, making the early to mid-1990s an unprecedented period in terms of bilateral cooperation. But the alliance of pragmatists and religious conservatives which had ostracized revolutionary hardliners from power would quickly prove tenuous as certain elements within the conservative faction began to oppose Rafsanjani’s liberal policy agenda. While the fracture of the coalition amid calls for a return to revolutionary values of unilateralism and isolationism may have undermined bilateral cooperation, a new alliance between pragmatists and reformists in the late 1990s would function to protect the nation’s commitment to a growth agenda and so sustain the ongoing level of cooperation with Moscow. While the growth of counter-reformist sentiments would ultimately come to challenge bilateral relations in the future, between 1989 and 1997 institutional reforms and factional alliances would prove essential to improving GPA with Moscow.

PART II: ERA OF DIMINISHED COOPERATION, 2001–13

Introduction In this section I argue that the collapse in relations between Moscow and Tehran during the first decade of the twenty-first century can likely be traced, in part,

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Iran 137 back to factional political developments in the IRI which had reduced the real political influence of reform-minded elites and the pragmatic growth agenda of the 1990s. Specifically, I argue that the rise of neo-conservative elites into the IRI’s power bureaucracy—with support of traditional religious conservatives—led to a dramatic change in Iranian decision-making which reintroduced revolutionary ideological aims focused upon revolutionary values at the expense of the pragmatic approach of the 1990s which had been based upon internationalism and a development agenda. Thus this section suggests that the rise to power of revolutionary hardliners, and subsequent disenfranchisement of the reformist faction, paved the way for a return to a unilateralism in foreign affairs which would destabilize cooperation between Tehran and Moscow. Specifically, I argue that the IRI’s continued efforts to pursue nuclear enrichment under neo-conservative leadership—in spite of great protest from the world community—demonstrated a decisive shift away from previous policy priorities which had tied national development to a highly pragmatic internationalism. Following the lead of John W. Parker and also Vladimir A. Orlov and Alexander Vinnikov, this chapter proposes that the IRI’s much-diminished pragmatism (particularly in the field of nuclear development) during the Ahmadinejad presidency effectively raised diplomatic costs to Moscow for its ongoing cooperation with Tehran, and so contributed to a general decline in political affinity in the mid- to late 2000s (see Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 53; Parker, 2009, Chapter 13). With political reforms inside the Russian Federation leaving the Kremlin with little domestic incentive for broadening ties with Tehran, this chapter argues that Moscow became ever less inclined to favor or pursue levels of enhanced cooperation that had been apparent during the 1990s.

The changing factional balance of power: the rise of the conservative–neo-conservative alliance As I have argued previously, the rise of reformists and their alliance to Rafsanjani’s pragmatists in the late 1990s proved essential to maintaining the high level of cooperation with the Russian Federation and other nations within the region. Despite ideological differences pertaining to the role of clerical leadership, reformists and pragmatists held in common a belief that social and economic liberalization, and a commitment to pragmatic internationalism, were essential to restoring the general well-being of the Islamic Republic. Thus President Khatami continued the cooperative policies begun under Rafsanjani’s administration, working jointly with the Russian Federation to resolve regional conflicts in both Tajikistan and Afghanistan, while also presiding over increasing cooperation in the areas of defense and nuclear development. While pragmatists and reformists could effectively overcome their ideological differences pertaining to the role of clerical leadership in the Republic, this key distinction between reformists and religious conservatives (as well as neo-conservatives) would quickly become a source of contention between the left and right. According to Arjomand’s (2009) account, the reformist faction had evolved in concert with a popular discussion ongoing in Iran during the 1990s which

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subsequently raised questions about the rationality behind existing theocratic government (pp. 76–84). Grounded in the philosophical writings of MojtahedShabestari and Abdolkarim Sorush, the reformist faction largely embodied a new school of thought which directly questioned the nature and role of clerical authority through the movement’s insistence that varying interpretations of Islamic doctrine were possible in the face of ever-changing historical circumstances (Arjomand, 2009, pp. 80–2). Advocating a move away from objective, singular interpretations of Islamic doctrine, Arjomand (2009) reports that the works of Mojtahed-Shabestari and Sorush became the philosophical core of the reformist movement, subsequently placing reformists at direct ideological odds with the nation’s traditional religious elites (pp. 80–2). Nowhere was the difference between these two factions more pronounced than in their differing interpretations of the Absolute Mandate of the Supreme Jurist (Velayat-e Faqih), where reformists had traditionally subordinated the office’s political mandate to the will of the people (Arjomand, 2009, p. 68). With the reform faction dominating both the nation’s presidency and parliament in the late 1990s and early 2000s, this ideological difference quickly came to form the basis of a war between clerical and republican institutions for political power. Using their constitutional authority to vet candidates to public office and to control the nature of legislative dialogue between 2001 and 2005, religious conservatives operated both to neutralize the reformists’ domestic campaign of social and political liberalization and to further bar them from access to power. While reformist principles and ideology had effectively served to sustain cooperation with Moscow during the latter portion of the 1990s, the movement’s ongoing commitment to domestic political liberalization would render its position of power untenable while also gradually eroding its cooperative alliance with Rafsanjani’s pragmatist faction. Following the work of Said Amir Arjomand (2009), this study suggests that the reformists’ preference for domestic political liberalization came to form the basis for a factional war with religious conservatives that would ultimately lead to the ostracism of the reform movement from effective participation in policy formation. Seeking out a factional alliance with radical hardliners/neo-conservatives to suppress the reformist presence in republican institutions, religious conservatives’ efforts to protect clerical authority in the IRI would lead to the reradicalization of Iranian foreign policy— a contingency which this study argues would dramatically work to undermine a decade of cooperation with Moscow. There can be little doubt that the decline in GPA of the 2000s was precipitated, in some part, by the ongoing war among Iran’s domestic factions. While it may be tempting to attribute changes in bilateral relations solely to the impact of various elite ideologies, the ability of any number of factions to control the direction of policy is of course a product of constitutional politics and those structural factors influencing representation. As this section will demonstrate, in the case of Iran the constitutional division of government between clerical and republican institutions has had a profound impact upon relations with Moscow during the twenty-first century. Specifically, this section argues that ideological

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Iran 139 differences between reformists and religious conservatives would lead to an institutional battle which incentivized clerical councils to utilize their constitutional authority to scale back the representation of reformists and to end their legislative ability to alter the status quo of power relations. The growing alliance between neo-conservatives (i.e., radicals) and religious conservatives—that would ultimately destabilize cooperation with Moscow—was thus fundamentally premised upon the need to diminish institutional competition between clerical and republican offices. In this manner a difference in both preferences and institutional authority resulted in significant changes to elite representation which, in turn, is here argued to have dramatically altered Tehran’s relationship to Moscow.

Reformism in jeopardy Despite the Khatami administration’s ideological and rhetorical commitment to reformist principles associated with increasing political liberalization, Arjomand (2009) indicates that Khatami and the reformists of the early 2000s were unable to consolidate their control over policy formation (p. 207). Arjomand suggests that once-revolutionary radicals (now turned reformists) had generally been apprehensive about building ties with those forces that did not have roots in the revolutionary era—fearing that such associations would threaten their revolutionary credentials among the power elite (Arjomand, 2009, pp. 105, 107). Rather than aligning themselves with the emerging student movement of 1999 and other social groups that had grown increasingly frustrated with clerical rule, Arjomand (2009) argues that reformists continually caved in to conservatives and hardliners on questions of institutional power and so gradually lost control over the right to determine state policy (pp. 95, 105, 110–11). Although the reform faction—with the help of pragmatists—would maintain strict control over the nation’s republican institutions until parliamentary and presidential elections in 2004 and 2005 (IPU website), an ongoing institutional war waged by conservatives, and even moderates in control of the nation’s clerical institutions, would progressively weaken reformists’ overall authority. By Arjomand’s (2009) account, the reformists’ reluctance to use their institutional power against clerical injunctions and abuses of power during Khatami’s term not only increased the relative power of the nation’s clerical institutions but simultaneously compromised society’s faith in the reform movement, thereby paving the way for a parliament dominated by conservative forces in the 2004 elections and the election of the populist neo-conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the position of Tehran mayor in 2003 and president in 2005 (p. 110; see also Inter-Parliamentary Union for election data). I contend that this weakening power of the reform faction and the nation’s republican institutions during the early 2000s may have contributed to the declining levels of GPA that can be observed during the Khatami administration insofar as reformists were likely required to tailor their policy preference toward a conservative/neo-conservative agenda in order to mitigate factional infighting.

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The conservatives’ war against the growth of reformism began immediately after Khatami’s first presidential victory and continued unabated through electoral victories of right-wing candidates in the 2004 and 2005 elections. The factional/institutional battle appears to have begun in 1997 when Supreme Leader Khamenei immediately deprived the newly incoming President of the leading role in the Maslahat Council (a.k.a. the Expediency Council)—giving the esteemed position, instead to outgoing President Rafsanjani (Arjomand, 2009, p. 92). The Maslahat Council’s original mandate had been to act as arbitrator between the 12-member Guardian Council (largely controlled by religious conservatives) and the nation’s elected parliament (Arjomand, 2009, p. 34). Following the 1989 constitutional amendments, Arjomand (2009) indicates that the Maslahat Council’s role had been greatly expanded, functioning also as an advisory body to the Supreme Leader on matters of state policy (p. 38). During Rafsanjani’s presidency it had been traditional for the political executive to chair this committee, thereby investing the President with additional power in matters of state policy formation (Arjomand, 2009, p. 38). Khamenei’s decision to exclude Khatami from this position thus not only marks clearly the conservative faction’s desire to insulate policy formation from reformist influences, but more importantly functioned to diminish some of the President’s power in state policy formation (Arjomand, 2009, p. 92). By Arjomand’s (2009) account, the factional struggle had become greatly inflamed during 1999 when a reform-friendly newspaper sparked widespread student protests over its leak of information pertaining to a parliamentary debate over proposed legislation aimed at restricting media freedoms (pp. 95, 97–9). While Khatami’s administration had worked to improve press freedoms and to increase publications, following the leak the Special Court for Clerics initiated a successful campaign aimed at closing down reform-oriented periodicals—a crackdown which resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of journalists and editors alike (Arjomand, 2009, pp. 95, 97–9). Clearly the restriction of media organizations had been a substantial setback for the reform movement—yet the repressive policies of the nation’s clerical elite had engendered a substantial social backlash that would carry the reformist-pragmatist coalition to victory in the parliamentary elections of February 2000 (Arjomand, 2009, p. 96; IPU website; Parsons, 2010, p. 6). The decisive victory of reformists in the 2000 elections would simply not, however, be enough to guarantee the stability of reformists and their control over policy-making. Such a large-scale victory in the legislature by reformists, though won with significant public support, had increasingly threatened the authority of the nation’s clerical leadership. Although conservative elites would ultimately preside over the decapitation of the reform movement within just a few years, their ability to do so would be greatly enhanced by a growing fracture in the reform-oriented governing alliance that had been developing during the 2000 parliamentary electoral cycle. Just as internal factional struggles between pragmatists and conservatives had destabilized the once steady, moderate coalition during the mid-1990s, so too did such struggles now threaten to destroy the cooperative foundations of the

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Iran 141 reformist–pragmatist alliance. Although Tehran’s relations with Moscow did not drastically suffer from the factional infighting of the mid-1990s, I argue that upheavals between reformists and pragmatists would come to have a devastating impact upon bilateral cooperation with Russia insofar as conservatives and their neo-conservative counterparts would take advantage of the weakening liberal alliance and so reestablish control over policy formation. Arjomand (2009) indicates that a string of media attacks on Rafsanjani in the reformist press during the 2000 parliamentary elections had the deleterious effect of fracturing the important relationship between Rafsanjani and the reform movement—causing the former President to revisit his political relationship with Supreme Leader Khamenei and the conservative faction (p. 97). The growing disaffection between Rafsanjani and the reformists was clearly demonstrated when the former President, then acting as head of the Maslahat Council, reportedly used his institutional authority to block the Majlis from investigating the legality of the Special Court for Cleric’s repressive tactics which had been directed against the nation’s reformist media (Arjomand, 2009, p. 96). With the assistance of Rafsanjani, the conservatives had not only dealt a decisive blow to the reformists’ efforts to liberalize the nation’s media outlets, but simultaneously demonstrated that the increasing leverage of clerical institutions over their republican counterparts had been largely rooted in ever-changing factional realignments. The implication of these events could not be more clear. With cooperation between Rafsanjani and liberal elites compromised, the reformists had lost an effective political asset which could have halted, or at least slowed, the rising wave of conservative/clerical authority. Conservative attacks on the nation’s popularly elected institutions, at times aided by Rafsanjani himself, only increased over the following year. Between 2000 and 2001 the Guardian Council not only overturned a number of reformist victories from the first round of parliamentary elections but also— with the support of Rafsanjani and the Maslahat Council—successfully rejected the parliament’s proposed state budget (Arjomand, 2009, pp. 97, 101). During this same period clerical influence in the judiciary (the head of which serves at the confidence of the Supreme Leader) was also used to successfully summon, prosecute, and sentence reformist legislators for voicing their opinions in the Majlis: this was part of a clear effort to encourage self-censorship and moderation in the assembly (Arjomand, 2009, p. 102). President Khatami and reformists in the nation’s legislature attempted to fight against the rise of clerical power by proposing a series of bills in 2002 and 2003 which sought both to restrict the authority of the Guardian Council and to extend presidential powers (recognizing the president as the defender of the constitution); yet in both instances the clerical leaders of the Guardian Council used their office’s authority to dismiss the proposed pieces of legislation (Arjomand, 2009, pp. 102–3). Rather than weakening the Guardian Council’s authority, the factional war would, in fact, function to magnify its power, especially in regard to its role in vetting candidates for parliamentary elections; through the expansion of its operating powers, the Guardian Council would effectively preside over the political ostracism of the nation’s reform elites (Arjomand, 2009, p. 162).

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Prior to the 2004 parliamentary elections, the Guardian Council and Interior Ministry had shared the responsibility for vetting candidates to the legislature— with the Interior Ministry examining applicants at the provincial level in the preelection phase and the Guardian Council vetting candidates during the electoral period (Parsons, 2010, pp. 5–6). The mandate which provides for Guardian Council oversight of applicants for parliamentary elections stems from the Majlis Election Law of 1984, and empowers the council to evaluate each candidate on the criteria of religious belief, support for the status quo of clerical authority, educational level, health and also age (Parsons, 2010, p. 5). In the run-up to the 2004 parliamentary elections, tensions between the two institutions peaked as the clerical leadership became increasingly concerned at the destabilizing impact the Interior Ministry might have on candidate selection (Karam, 2012; Parsons, 2010, p. 5). With the interior minister serving at the confidence of the president, there was good reason to expect the ministry to substantially curb the representation of conservatives in favor of reform-oriented candidates (Karam, 2012; Parsons, 2010, p. 6). By 2004, as part of an effort to preempt such outcomes, the Maslahat Council (a.k.a. Expediency Council) had provided a grant to the Guardian Council which was subsequently used to extend the clerical elite’s ability to vet candidates in the provincial, or pre-election, phase through its network of supervisory offices (Parsons, 2010, p. 5). According to Raymond Karam (2012) of the East West Institute, budgetary increases for the Guardian Council thus enabled the body to transform its network of temporary offices into fully staffed permanent locations, thereby giving it a significant advantage over the Interior Ministry in the vetting process. Karam (2012) reports that the expansion of the Guardian Council’s supervisory offices in recent years has been underwritten by massive budgetary increases which raised its annual funding from $480,000 in 2000 to $25 million in 2011. The results of the 2004 parliamentary elections demonstrate just how effective this expansion of the Guardian Council’s gate-keeping powers had been. According to data compiled by Nigel Parsons (2010), the Guardian Council effectively rejected 2373 or 29.13 percent of the 8145 candidates registered for election to the seventh Majlis in 2004 (p. 7). The high percentage of rejections is not abnormal for the parliamentary electoral cycle, but in this particular case the Guardian Council’s discretionary powers had been clearly targeted at reformists in particular (Parsons, 2010, p. 7; see also Schirazi, 2002). By Parsons’ (2010) account, the Council’s oversight led to the effective exclusion of nearly 80 incumbents, among them some of the nation’s leading reformists, thereby leading him to conclude that elections in “202 [out of 290] constituencies may have been uncompetitive” (p. 6). The conservatives’ victory over reformists was already clear in the first round results which decided 226 out of the legislature’s 290 seats. According to IPU reports, conservatives gained a total of 156 seats (or 53.79 percent) in the first round alone, thereby ensuring majority control over the parliament (IPU website). While reformists had controlled over 75 percent of seats in the preceding sixth Majlis, first round results in 2004 left Khatami’s faction with a much diminished 39 seats (IPU website).

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Iran 143 Elections to the eighth Majlis in 2008 demonstrated, once again, conservatives’ institutional dominance over reform-based members. Although there are some discrepancies between reports, the Guardian Council is said to have rejected between 27 percent (Parsons) and 40 percent (IPU website) of the 7597 registered candidates—a number which once again included reformist incumbents (Inter-Parliamentary Union; Parsons, 2010, pp. 6–7). Final tallies awarded conservatives approximately 200 seats (68.9 percent), and reformists just 50 seats (17.24 percent) (IPU website). According to Parsons (2010), some of this success was dependent upon neo-conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s institutional authority to reorient the Interior Ministry around a conservative ideology, thereby reducing the inherent “friction” between clerical and non-clerical offices (pp. 6–7). The net result of such strict gate-keeping measures was the effective exclusion of reformists from contesting 65 percent of the nation’s 290 constituencies (Parsons, 2010, pp. 6–7). The Guardian Council has played a similarly important role in the vetting of candidates for the nation’s presidency. Between 1989 and 2009, the Council has been reported to have rejected between 97 percent and 99 percent of all registered candidates (Parsons, 2010, p. 4). Where the Council’s authority was used to produce a de facto victory for Hashemi Rafsanjani in 1989 by reducing the 79 registered candidates down to two, so also was the Council’s authority pertinent to successive victories of neo-conservative leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in both the 2005 and 2009 elections (Parsons, 2010, p. 4). In the nation’s 2005 elections, the Guardian Council dramatically altered potential outcomes by rejecting 1006 of 1014 (99.21 percent) of all registered candidates, and in 2009 it would reject 99.15 percent of the 475 registered candidates, leaving the election open to only four official candidates (Parsons, 2010, p. 4). While the 2005 election has been declared the nation’s “most competitive election to date”—with neo-conservative Tehran Mayor Ahmadinejad running against Rafsanjani—there can be little doubt that the Council has been instrumental in shaping presidential outcomes that support the role of clerical authority (Parsons, 2010, p. 4). The Council’s efforts to protect the nation’s theocratic status quo via its vetting function have been successfully continued in more recent years. During the 2013 presidential elections, which brought the pro-regime moderate Hassan Rouhani to power, the Guardian Council is reported to have rejected 678 out of 686 applicants (approximately 98.8 percent) (National Democratic Institute, n.d, para. 7). Similarly, during the 2012 parliamentary elections to the ninth Majlis, the Iranian Students’ News Agency reported that the Council approved 3444 official candidates from an original pool consisting of 5395, thereby rejecting 1951 candidacies or approximately 36.2 percent (as cited in Hafezi, George, & Heinrich, 2012). Functionally, these measures have assured the regime of the continued exclusion of reformists as well as the relative ostracism of neoconservative elites which in recent years have also begun to spar with religious conservatives over the legitimacy of clerical authority in the IRI (Choksy, 2012, pp. 18–19; National Democratic Institute, n.d, para. 7).

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Thus, relying upon the abundant institutional authority of the Guardian Council, the nation’s conservative elites had effectively ostracized Khatami’s reform movement from key policy-making positions by 2005. Not only had religious conservatives successfully fended off the reformist threat to clerical authority, but in so doing they had increasingly supported the opportunity for neo-conservatives to take hold of the nation’s republican institutions. In the following section I discuss the negative impact that neo-conservative gains during the 2000s likely had on Russian–Iranian relations during this period.

The impact of neo-conservative policy upon General Political Association Although the conservatives’ ability to manage policy-making increased throughout the Khatami administration—thereby edging the IRI slowly back toward revolutionary values of isolationism in foreign policy—the election of a conservative/neo-conservative Majlis in 2004 and the hardliner/neo-conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the nation’s presidency in 2005 presented a fundamental challenge to relations with Moscow, insofar as it supplanted the influence of reformists and reduced that of moderate conservatives and pragmatists. Nowhere was the impact of this factional realignment more prominent than in the construction of Iranian nuclear policy. While Moscow had long provided support for Iran’s development of nuclear power, analysts have argued that the ongoing refusal of hardliner/neo-conservatives to suspend uranium enrichment— or to sustain meaningful negotiations with the international community—effectively forced Moscow to diminish its level of cooperation with Tehran in order to maintain ties with the West (Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 53; Parker, 2009, pp. 247–50, 257). Following the conservative victory in the 2004 parliamentary elections and the election of neo-conservative/hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the presidency in 2005, reformist influences in foreign (and domestic) policy formation were largely marginalized, thereby pushing policy in a more decidedly conservative direction (Parker, 2009, p. 256). Although neo-conservatives and conservatives remained united against the anti-clerical ideology of the reform movement, discrepancies between the two factions could still be discerned; as I will demonstrate, there is clear evidence that such discrepancies were, in fact, crucial to changes in Tehran’s relations with Moscow. Although religious conservatives had frequently supported the progressive international policies of the Rafsanjani and Khatami eras, neo-conservatives with their foundations in revolutionary military organizations like the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Basij Militia would serve to dramatically alter Iran’s posture in international affairs—especially in relation to Iran’s evolving nuclear policy. Following the works of Parker and of Orlov and Vinnikov, I contend that increasing militancy in Iranian policy-making—especially in relation to nuclear policy— under neo-conservatives has led to declining political relations between Tehran and Moscow (Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 53; Parker, 2009, Chapter 13 and

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Iran 145 p. 264). It should be noted here that Parker uses a slightly different terminology to reflect distinct factions within Iranian politics, preferring “radical” or “realistic hardliner” to represent pro-revolutionary preferences. In contrast, I utilize Arjomand’s classificatory schema which refers to those figures disposed toward revolutionary-oriented ideals as belonging to the “neo-conservative” sub-faction. Although the vitality and longevity of the neo-conservative movement may ultimately prove to be dependent upon the quality of its relationship to religious conservatives, between 2005 and 2013 hardliners pursued a highly unilateral nuclear policy which was at odds with the traditional preferences of more moderate conservatives (as well as pragmatists and reformists alike). The ability of the neo-conservative elite to pursue a more independent policy is thought largely to be the product of its considerable political and economic support emanating from ties with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as well as with the Basij Militia—revolutionary military institutions that are firmly grounded in the nation’s economy and military industrial complex (Arjomand, 2009, pp. 149–55; Farhi, 2011; Rakel, 2009, pp. 123–4). By Arjomand’s (2009) account, the success of neo-conservative candidate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in both the 2003 Tehran mayoral race and the 2005 presidential race represented the successful transition of the IRGC into key policy-making positions (pp. 150–1). Having secured control over the political executive, neo-conservatives and the IRGC thus turned their attention to gaining control over the eighth Majlis in 2008 (Arjomand, 2009, p. 154). United with religious conservatives against the resurgence of reformist influence, neoconservatives are reported to have gained control of approximately one-third of the assembly seats in 2008 (Arjomand, 2009, p. 154); according to a Council on Foreign Relations report, IRGC veterans had already managed to obtain a 16 percent share of seats in the previous 2004 elections to the seventh Majlis (Bruno & Bajoria, 2011). The successful penetration of neo-conservatives into the nation’s republican institutions in the wake of a reformist vacuum was not only quickly followed by substantial increases in both the IRGC and the Basij Militia’s access to lucrative government contracts (the Basij Militia was placed under IRGC command in 2007), but more importantly has been associated with the adoption of an increasingly militant national nuclear policy (Arjomand, 2009, pp. 152–3; Bruno & Bajoria, 2011; Slackman, 2009). Thus, this chapter argues that Iran’s increasingly unilateral and opaque program of nuclear development— now operating under the growing influence of neo-conservatives and the IRGC/ Basij—significantly raised the diplomatic costs to Russia of continued cooperation with Tehran and so substantially contributed to the decline in General Political Association that has been apparent during the first decade of the twenty-first century. Although the IRGC did not achieve a substantial measure of political influence until after the 2004 and 2005 elections, the revolutionary military organization had been effectively working to influence the direction of Iran’s nuclear program since the late 1990s. During this period the IRGC is reported to have been part of an emerging movement that was then forming in Iran’s Atomic

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Energy Institute, and pushing for the development of a domestic uranium enrichment program (Arjomand, 2009, p. 198). By 1999, this group had successfully implemented a secret uranium enrichment program which went entirely unnoticed by the international community until its activities were made public in August 2002 (Arjomand, 2009, p. 198; see Chapter 2 above for details on events of August 2002). Perhaps even more disturbingly, Iran’s quest to pursue domestic uranium enrichment under the aegis of the IRGC may have been undertaken without support from the Khatami administration, thereby indicating a weakening of governmental authority and a growing schism in foreign policy creation (Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 53). According to Orlov and Vinnikov (2005), the IRGC military nuclear research program of the late 1990s and early 2000s may, in fact, have occurred “unbeknownst to the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and possibly even to President Muhammad Khatami” (p. 53). The increasing independent latitude of the IRGC to influence policy formation in the late 1990s and early 2000s is thus thought likely to have served the political purpose of counter-balancing the reform-oriented policies of the Khatami administration, and so provides concrete evidence of the growing political alliance between conservatives and revolutionary radicals (Bruno & Bajoria, 2011). Orlov and Vinnikov (2005) have indicated that by the late 1990s Moscow was already becoming increasingly concerned at the IRGC’s growing role in nuclear policy—a situation which was, in turn, causing the Kremlin to reevaluate the utility of continued cooperation in nuclear development (p. 53). If, in fact, this was true, decisive political gains made by the IRGC in subsequent years—and its growing influence over nuclear policy formation—might only have served to further weaken relations between Moscow and Tehran. With the Kremlin no longer needing to bear the domestic burden of supporting pro-Iranian parties and interests by the early 2000s—and feeling substantial international pressure to curb cooperation with Tehran—this chapter takes cues from existing scholarship which argues that the militarization of Iranian nuclear policy under increasing neo-conservative/IRGC authority during the 2000s heavily strained bilateral relations, resulting in a declining state of General Political Association (see Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 53; Parker, 2009, pp. 256–7). While there is broad support within Iran for the development of nuclear power, the nation’s different factions take decidedly different approaches to the question of whether or not weaponization of Iran’s nuclear program is indeed imperative. According to a 2011 report by the RAND Corporation entitled Iran’s nuclear future, neo-conservatives such as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (here referred to as “principalists”) and leading members of the IRGC “appear to be less concerned about the diplomatic and economic costs of the nuclear program” than do reformists, pragmatists, and moderate conservatives (Davis et al., 2011, p. 16; see also Parker, 2009, p. 264). Where pragmatists and reformists alike have staked the success of their regimes on economic development programs underwritten by positive diplomatic models (thus being more likely to pursue a moderate nuclear policy), neo-conservative elites and the IRGC have staked their political success upon resistance to external opposition and the

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Iran 147 expansion of Iran’s influence in the region (Davis et al., 2011, pp. 14–18). According to the authors of the RAND report, these goals—along with the IRGC’s control over military applications of the nuclear program—thus provide revolutionary hardliners with a vested interest in developing a weaponized program (Davis et al., 2011, p. 17). Although officials in the Khatami administration had worked diligently to curb the growing influence of neo-conservatives and the IRGC over nuclear policy, following the faction’s successive political gains beginning with the 2004 parliamentary elections, IRI policy changed decisively. Following the IAEA’s June 2003 report which had detailed Iranian violations of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty stemming from its secret enrichment program, then President Khatami and Supreme Leader Khamenei took immediate steps to avoid UNSC sanctions and to avoid any pretext for western invasion by assigning Dr. Hassan Rouhani, a former National Security Advisor and known pragmatist, as chief negotiator with both the IAEA and EU-3 (Arjomand, 2009, p. 198; Davis et al., 2011, p. 16). While Dr. Rouhani quickly came to agreement with the EU-3, thereby signaling that the IRI would immediately suspend its enrichment activities, Arjomand indicates that the deal stirred up further controversy between moderates and revolutionary hardliners—with neoconservatives preferring unabated nuclear development and moderates of the conservative and reformist factions advocating wholesale concessions to the West (Arjomand, 2000, p. 199). While the victory, years later, of Dr. Hassan Rouhani in the nation’s 2013 presidential election would portend moderating trends in Iranian nuclear policy, the substantive defeat of reformists by conservative and neo-conservative forces during the 2004 parliamentary elections served to undermine Dr. Rouhani’s early diplomatic achievements for nearly a decade, thereby setting the Islamic Republic on a collision course with western nations. Following conservative parliamentary gains during the 2004 elections, the Majlis adopted a bill in October 2004 that called for the immediate resumption of enrichment activities (Arjomand, 2009, p. 200). By Arjomand’s account, neo-conservative gains in the following year’s presidential elections led to a sea change in Iranian politics, particularly in the area of nuclear policy (Arjomand, 2009, p. 200). The ability of neo-conservatives to control the shape and direction of public policy in the wake of 2005 was further complemented by a series of high-profile political appointments, as well as the IRGC’s ever-expanding network of ties to nuclear research and development institutions. Bruno and Bajoria (2011) report that following the 2005 presidential election, Supreme Leader Khamenei appointed a number of IRGC veterans to prestigious positions in the Supreme National Security Council, the Maslahat (or Expediency) Council, and the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Corporation. Citing the work of Council on Foreign Relations Fellow Ray Takeyh, Bruno and Bajoria (2011) have also noted that the IRGC’s influence over nuclear policy has been enhanced by its growing ties to university laboratories, nuclear technology firms, and state-run weapons manufacturers such as Defense Industries Organization, a state-owned

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subsidiary of the Ministry of Defense. It is their view that such high-profile political appointments were likely made by the Supreme Leader as part of the concessionary strategy designed to protect against instability in the nation’s domestic political system (Bruno & Bajoria, 2011). Although Khamenei had, as recently as 2003, sought to counter-balance the IRGC’s radical influence over nuclear policy (see p. 147 above), it was clear that the nation’s clerical leadership required the assistance of neo-conservatives and the revolutionary military institutions to protect itself from reformist challenges and public sentiments favoring a reform agenda. As scholars have made abundantly clear, although religious conservatives may historically have been known to support more pragmatic policy options, protecting regime legitimacy has always been the fundamental priority for the nation’s clerical elite. The challenge of reformist sentiments to the nation’s clerical leadership in the mid-2000s thus encouraged conservatives to collaborate with, and extend political opportunities to, radical hardliners who, in turn, utilized their new authority and capacity to alter Iranian nuclear policy. Where political concessions made by the Kremlin to pro-Iranian opposition parties had been critical to expanded bilateral cooperation during the 1990s, during the 2000s clerical concessions to revolutionary radicals in Iran would ultimately work to harm ties with Moscow. With Iranian nuclear policy becoming increasingly unresponsive to international calls for moderation, this chapter adopts the position that Moscow—now no longer in need of catering to pro-Iranian domestic opposition groups—could simply not afford to maintain its cooperation with Tehran (see Orlov & Vinnikov, 2005, p. 53; Parker, 2009, pp. 256–7). Owing to a radical reshuffling of domestic interests in both nations, collaboration appears to have simply collapsed. While changing national security calculations on the part of both nations would play a role in the breakdown of affinity during the twenty-first century (Chapter 4 above), it is also likely the case that factional battles and the changing conditions of representation in the two nations were functioning to alter interstate relations during this same period.

Conclusion In this chapter I have argued that harsh post-revolutionary socio-economic conditions in the Islamic Republic precipitated the rise of policy pragmatists who sought to expand cooperative relationships with foreign nations as a means of stimulating Iranian growth and development. Empowered by the death of Khomeini and the constitutional amendments of 1989, these policy pragmatists— under the leadership of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani—forged an alliance with religious conservatives to bar revolutionary radicals from positions of political power and so brought sweeping changes to Iranian foreign policy. Trading revolutionary unilateralism and isolationism for a strategy of international integration, Rafsanjani’s administration thus sought to improve relations with Moscow and other regional and global powers that had suffered during the immediate post-revolutionary era.

Domestic politics, bilateral relations: Iran 149 Although cooperation between pragmatists and religious conservatives would effectively fracture by the mid-1990s, as hardliner conservatives in the movement reacted negatively to Rafsanjani’s liberal agenda, cooperation with Moscow would remain largely unaffected. By aligning pragmatists with the new and highly popular reform movement in 1996, Rafsanjani effectively insulated the nation’s republican institutions from rising neo-conservative preferences which threatened to halt Iran’s progressive international policies. While pragmatists and reformists did markedly disagree over questions pertaining to the legitimacy of clerical rule inside the Islamic Republic, agreement on issues of foreign policy and the importance of international relations to national development endeared the two factions to one another, and so preserved the status quo of highly cooperative relations with Moscow. Thus I have argued that throughout the 1990s cooperation with Moscow was greatly enhanced by coalitions of policy moderates, which used their factional alliances and institutional authority to marginalize radicalism in policy-making institutions. But if the marginalization of radical preferences in the 1990s had, in fact, meaningfully contributed to cooperation between Tehran and Moscow, it must also be true that a resurgence of revolutionary radicalism would hold a significant threat for the state of bilateral relations. An emerging war among both factions and institutions during the late 1990s and early 2000s not only resulted in the political ostracism of the reform movement, but more importantly led to the return of radicals to key positions of political power. As I have argued, the resurgence of radicalism in the late 1990s and early 2000s brought with it an end to Iranian pragmatism in foreign affairs which had defined policy for much of the 1990s. If the diplomatic costs to Russia of its cooperation with Tehran had been high during the Rafsanjani and Khatami years, the resurgence of radicalism under Ahmadinejad would function to make such costs largely unaffordable. I have argued that the rise of reformists during the late 1990s (as well as their influence on civic participation) presented a substantial threat to the ongoing authority of the nation’s clerical elites and institutions as well as to the constitutional principle that underwrites Iranian theocracy—the Absolute Mandate of the Jurist. Although religious conservatives often supported pragmatic policies of the Rafsanjani administration, the reformists’ commitment to domestic political liberalization encouraged conservatives to use their institutional leverage and a new-found alliance with neo-conservatives to ostracize reformists from positions of power. The alliance between religious conservatives and neo-conservatives thus precipitated a return to revolutionary sentiments in Iranian policy that had been largely absent since the early 1990s. With neo-conservative foundations in the nation’s revolutionary military organizations such as the IRGC and Basij Militia, Iranian pragmatism of the 1990s quickly gave way to increasing militancy and a unilateral approach to international relations. Nowhere was this more evident than in the recalibration of Iranian nuclear policy. It was this decisive reorientation of Iranian nuclear policy which effectively raised the cost to Moscow of its diplomatic cooperation with Tehran.

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Although the IRGC had been pursuing a secret domestic uranium enrichment program since the late 1990s—thereby violating Iran’s obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty—the internationalist orientation of the Khatami administration was effective at balancing blatant unilateralism with responsible diplomacy. With reformists losing leverage over policy formation during the early 2000s and their subsequent marginalization from policy-making by 2005, the counter-weight of the reform agenda was in a state of collapse. IRGC influence over nuclear policy would only increase in the first decade of the twenty-first century as neo-conservative elites gained high-profile positions in both republican and clerical institutions as well as in those industries closely related to nuclear technology development. Where Iran’s leadership under Khatami had once sought to ease international fears over its nuclear program, under Ahmadinejad and the influence of the IRGC, the Republic now sought unrestricted uranium enrichment. With the Kremlin no longer needing to bear the domestic burden of supporting pro-Iranian factions by the early 2000s—and feeling substantial international pressures to curb cooperation with Tehran—this chapter has argued that the militarization of Iranian nuclear policy encouraged Russian leaders to allow bilateral cooperation to decay. Thus this chapter has argued that radicalism in Iranian policy negatively impacted General Political Association in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Based upon the arguments developed in this chapter I formulate an additional hypothesis to be included in Chapter 7 testing. Hypothesis 4: Changes in Russian–Iranian bilateral cooperation are negatively associated with the influence of counter-reformists in Iranian domestic political institutions. Although it would seem prudent to test the claim that Russian–Iranian relations are positively associated with the changing influence of reform-oriented factions in Iranian domestic political institutions, I must remind the reader that this is not in fact always the case. As this chapter has argued, differences between pragmatists and reformists have had varying impact upon bilateral relations with Moscow. While reformists do, indeed, support the pragmatists’ foreign agenda of international integration which has been critical to expanded cooperation with Moscow in the past, their revisionist view on the nature of clerical authority has in fact led to a decisive reorientation of Iranian domestic and foreign policy around conservative and neo-conservative values. I estimate that a focus upon the changing influence of counter-reformists will, therefore, prove itself to be an inherently more reliable predictor of GPA.

7

Evaluating the impact of domestic politics upon General Political Association A micro-level analysis

In this chapter I proceed to operationalize and test hypotheses evolved during the preceding two chapters which suggest that changes in Russian–Iranian bilateral relations are dependent upon shifting domestic political conditions. By focusing this investigation upon the influence of prominent political parties, factions, and the quality of representation at any given time, these tests seek to address the importance of changing institutional conditions to larger questions of international relations. In all instances, the dependent variable of Russian–Iranian relations is here operationally defined as General Political Association, the scaled composite variable constructed in Chapters 2 and 3. The three-stage format for testing in this chapter will mirror that which was established in Chapter 4.

Operationalization of hypotheses Hypothesis 1: Changes in Russian–Iranian bilateral cooperation are positively associated with the level of party representation in Russian domestic political institutions. In order to test the relationship between party representation in Russian political institutions and General Political Association I operationalize party representation as the Effective Number of Political Parties (ENP) holding seats in the Russian State Duma. Hypothesis 1 makes the implicit assumption that Kremlin leaders have traditionally been less inclined to favor cooperative ties with Iran since the early 1990s, but have undertaken policies that would engender cooperation as a way to satisfy rising levels of political opposition (see Chapter 5). Similarly, when the Kremlin has effectively consolidated its control over policy formation through the restriction of party representation (as was evident in the post 2004 era), this hypothesis suggests that bilateral ties with Tehran have subsequently waned (see Chapter 5). To evaluate whether or not changing levels of party representation (and by implication the Kremlin’s efforts to manage levels of party representation) are associated with the changing scale of bilateral

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cooperation with Tehran, I utilize a traditional measure of party fractionalization which was constructed by Laakso and Taagepera (1979), correlating that measurement with GPA between 1992 and 2013. Laakso and Taagepera’s formula for determining the effective number of parties in legislative institutions is represented as N = 1 ⁄ ∑pi2 (see Laakso & Taagepera, 1979, pp. 3–4, 24). Where N represents the effective number of parties, pi2 represents a party’s seat-holding percentage squared, and ∑ represents the summation of all pi2 data. In order to evaluate the level of party fractionalization that is evident within the Russian State Duma following rounds of legislative elections, I utilize party seat percentages obtained from the Russia Votes project for each legislative election year (1993, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2011). For parliamentary electoral data pertaining to 2007 and 2011, Russia Votes relies upon data obtained from the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) (CEC data generator is available online at: www.vybory.izbirkom.ru). Russia Votes treats all independents as a de facto single party. The only apparent errors in Russia Votes reporting can be found during the years 1995, 2003, and 2011 where party seat percentages do not account for 100 percent of the Duma seats, but rather account for 98.5 percent, 99.4 percent and 99.9 percent respectively. As correcting these small errors would have a near negligible impact upon the overall party scores or the actual ENP score, I choose to note the inconsistencies and calculate ENP without additional modifications. In order to account for missing ENP data during non-election years, I have here chosen to adopt a prorating strategy which seeks to express annual ENP scores as either increasing or diminishing, based upon the overall change observed between subsequent parliamentary election years. While it is unlikely that ENP values either increase or decrease at a uniform rate during non-election years, the prorating strategy does provide a highly efficient means for gauging changing values in the absence of other clear indicators, while simultaneously functioning to provide an otherwise static variable with a logical amount of variance. The use of a prorating strategy to account for missing data has a clear precedent in the POLITY IV project where Marshall, Jaggers, and Gurr have used a similar process for developing Polity scores for governments during “transition” years (Marshall, Jaggers, & Gurr, 2011). In order to determine ENP scores for non-election years I simply express each year as the prorated amount of change occurring between subsequent and former electoral cycles. To calculate ENP scores for non-election years, I simply divide the difference of ENP scores for two subsequent election years by the number of parliamentary session years (all of which are four-year sessions with the exception of the 1993 Duma which lasted for only two years), and then add the corresponding result to the ENP score of the previous year. Thus ENP scores for non-election years (n) may be represented as N = [(ENP2 − ENP1) ⁄ S1] + ENP3: where ENP2 = the ENP score of the most recent election year; ENP1 = the ENP score of the former electoral year; S1 = the number of session years (two years for 1994 calculations and four years for all other calculations); and ENP3 = the ENP score of the preceding year. Because this method does not allow us to account

The impact of domestic politics upon GPA 153 for ENP scores since the most recent election year (2011), I account for missing 2012 and 2013 data by multiplying 2011 and 2012 scores, respectively, by the percentage change in score results that was evident between 2010 and 2011 scores. The percentage change between 2010 and 2011 scores represents an increase of 8.545942 percent. Thus values for 2011 and 2012 are multiplied by 1.08545942 in order to represent an estimate of the change in ENP during the two most recent years. The other exception to the prorating strategy is found in the ENP value for the year 1992. Because the Russian Federation’s first parliamentary elections occurred during 1993, I have chosen to replace missing data for 1992 (the first non-Soviet year) with results of the 1993 election. See Appendix Table A.8 for a complete list of all annual ENP scores. Hypothesis 2: Changes in Russian–Iranian bilateral cooperation are positively associated with the influence of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF ) in Russian domestic political institutions.

Hypothesis 3: Changes in Russian–Iranian bilateral cooperation are positively associated with the influence of Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) in Russian domestic political institutions. In order to test the claims in hypotheses 2 and 3, I operationalize the influence of the CPRF and the LDPR as the percentage of seats held by each party in the State Duma during a given year. In both instances, I rely upon Russia Votes for seat holding data in all parliamentary elections between 1993 and 2011. As in the case of the ENP indicator, I account for missing data during non-election years between 1993 and 2011 using a prorating strategy which helps to express the increasing or decreasing level of influence of parties between electoral cycles. This strategy relies upon the assumption that increasing or decreasing political influence in any non-election year can be discerned by evaluating the difference of party performance between two subsequent election years. In order to determine seat holding percentages for non-election years I express each year as the prorated amount of change occurring between subsequent and former electoral cycles. To calculate seat holding percentages for non-election years, I divide the difference of seat holding percentages for two subsequent election years by the number of session years (all of which are four-year sessions with the exception of the 1993 Duma which lasted for only two years), and then add that result to the seat holding percentage for the most recent year. Thus seat holding percentages for non-election years (n) may be represented as N = [(E2 − E1) ⁄ S1] + S2: where E2 = the seat holding percentage of the most recent election year; E1 = the seat holding percentage of the former electoral year; S1 = the number of session years (two years for 1994 calculations and four years for all

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other calculations); and S2 = the value of the seat holding percentage of the prior year. Because this method, once again, does not allow us to account for seat holding percentage scores since the most recent election year (2011), I account for missing 2012 and 2013 data by multiplying 2011 and 2012 scores, respectively, by the percentage change in score results that was evident between 2010 and 2011. The percentage change between 2010 and 2011 CPRF seat holding scores represents a 10.419495 percent increase. Thus values for 2011 and 2012 are multiplied by 1.10419495 in order to represent an estimate of the change in CPRF seat holding scores during the two most recent years. The percentage change between 2010 and 2011 LDPR seat holding scores represents a 7.592191 percent increase. Thus values for 2011 and 2012 are multiplied by 1.07592191 in order to represent an estimate of the change in LDPR seat holding scores during the two most recent years. An exception to the prorating strategy is, once again, made for data pertaining to the year 1992. Because the Russian Federation’s first parliamentary elections occurred during 1993, I have chosen to replace missing data for 1992 (the first non-Soviet year) with results of the 1993 election. For complete seat holding results for both parties see Appendix Table A.9 for data in both election and non-election years. Hypothesis 4: Changes in Russian–Iranian bilateral cooperation are negatively associated with the influence of counter-reformists in Iranian domestic political institutions. To test the claim made in Hypothesis 4, I operationally redefine Influence of Counter-Reformists in Iranian domestic political institutions (CRI) as the percentage of faction seats held in the Iranian Majlis during a given year that can meaningfully be equated with a counter-reform agenda. Although the Majlis’ control over foreign and domestic policy pales in comparison with that of the office of the executive and the nation’s clerical institutions (see Chapter 6), its membership may clearly be viewed as a barometer of factional politics insofar as access to the assembly is vigorously controlled by the vetting authority of both the Guardian Council (traditionally controlled by religious conservatives) and the Interior Ministry (where the minister serves at the confidence of the president). By tracking the changing presence of counter-reformists in the assembly, I anticipate that such findings will reasonably represent the overall degree to which the Islamic Republic’s policy decision-making is being influenced by a counter-reform agenda. I anticipate that as the presence of counter-reformists in government increases, the Islamic Republic will pursue an increasingly isolationalist foreign policy which can be expected to raise the diplomatic costs of cooperation to leaders in Moscow. I anticipate that these conditions will be associated with diminishing levels of GPA. Conversely, as counter-reformist influence in government diminishes, I anticipate that Iran will pursue an increasingly internationalist foreign policy agenda which significantly diminishes the costs of

The impact of domestic politics upon GPA 155 cooperation to Moscow. I anticipate that these conditions will be associated with increasing levels of GPA. The determination that a specific political faction may be endorsing a counterreform agenda during a given set of years is made on the basis of information presented in Chapter 6. In Table 7.1, I present recoded seat holding data for a counter-reform-oriented faction representing CRI for all election years between 1992 and 2012. Seat holding percentages for the recoded category of counterreformists are based primarily upon generalized faction seat reporting from Inter-Parliamentary Union legislative election reports held in the IPU database. Data based upon IPU reporting are used for all electoral years between 1992 and 2004. Electoral data for 2008 are derived from the Canadian International Council (see Cainer, 2008) and data for 2012 are sourced from election reporting conducted by IranPolitik (2012). I do not assume that any particular faction necessarily represents a counterreform agenda during every year, but will classify it as counter-reformist when it represents an ideological pole that is distinctly opposed to more progressive foreign policy preferences represented by a competing faction that is identifiably present within the nation’s legislature. For the sake of this study the term counter-reformists in the 1992 elections applies to members of the radical faction who were represented under the umbrella organization of the Assembly of Militant Clerics (MRM). For other election years, I classify wins attributed to conservatives as counter-reformist in nature, owing to the fact that conservatives (under the Society of Militant Clergy [JRM]) would become a counter-point for more progressive foreign and domestic policies being advocated by Hashemi

Table 7.1 Counter-Reformist Influence in the Iranian Majlis, 1992–2012 Election year

Faction promoting a counter-reform agenda

Total seats won Total parliamentary seats

Percentage of parliamentary seats (CRI)

1992 1996 2000 2004

Radical faction Conservative faction Conservative faction Conservative faction

2008 2012

Conservative faction Conservative faction

67 119 53 156 (1st round seats) 198 165

24.8148148 44.0740741 18.2758621 67.5324675 (1st round seats) 68.2758621 56.8965517

270 270 290 231 (1st round seats) 290 290

Sources: Data for the years 1992–2004 are based upon Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) legislative election results reports for the Islamic Republic of Iran which are available at www.ipu.org/parlinee/reports/2149_arc.htm. Data for 2004 are based upon IPU figures referencing first-round election results. Data for 2008 are based upon reporting by Cainer (2008) available at www.opencanada.org/ wp content/uploads/2011/05/II_vol. 5_no5.pdf. Data for 2012 are based upon reporting by IranPolitik (2012), available at www.iranpolitik.com/2012/05/07/guide-to-iranian-politics/iran-electionwatch-2012-main-principalist-groups-emerge-weak-majority/. Note CRI is here defined as the percentage of legislative seats won during a given year.

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Rafsanjani and the pragmatists under the Executives/Servants of the Construction of Iran (ACI) during the 1996 elections, and later by Mohammad Khatami and the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF ) during the 2000 and 2004 elections. Despite the fact that a growing schism between more radical and more moderate conservatives could be observed in both the 2008 and 2012 elections, this study continues to classify all conservatives as counter-reformist for these two election years. Though differences between conservatives can be observed in reports on both elections—principally indicating affiliation to either then President Ahmadinejad (radical conservative) or Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani (moderate conservative)—it is unclear as to the real degree of difference surrounding their respective foreign policy positions (Cainer, 2008, p. 2; IranPolitik, 2012). Thus for the sake of clarity I continue to label all seat-wins for conservatives and neo-conservatives during elections in 2008 and 2012 as indicating a counter-reform agenda. Notably, Table 7.1 clearly indicates a decrease in counter-reformist seat holding between 2008 and 2012—thereby providing reassurance that this methodology can usefully represent the challenge to counter-reformists which has arisen in more recent years, and which was highly evident in the 2013 presidential elections that returned a moderate conservative, Hassan Rouhani, to the office of the executive. Although the IPU’s reports on factional politics are noteworthy for the wealth of information they provide, a lack of consistency in their overall reporting format—along with the inherent complexities associated with measuring factional politics in Iran—has required me to modify results in some instances. Because these modifications have been important to determining counter-reformist seat holding scores for a number of parliamentary election years, I briefly review the relevant problems and solutions with managing these data below. In the case of the 1992 elections, the IPU indicates that two factions vied for control of the Majlis, a bloc of moderates representing later pragmatists and moderate-leaning conservatives and a radical faction composed of revolutionary hardliners. While the IPU does not provide exact figures for the 1992 elections, its report indicates that moderates, here reclassified as a reform-oriented faction, would control approximately 75 percent of the assembly seats following the second round. To comply with this report, I ascribe 198 seats (73.3 percent) to the more moderate conservative faction and 67 seats or 24.81 percent to radicals (labeled as counterreformists), providing a single seat each to five ethnic/religious minorities (1.85 percent) as prescribed by the Iranian constitution. As discussed above (Table 7.1), radicals in the 1992 elections are here reclassified into a counter-reformoriented faction. In the case of the 1996 elections, the IPU provides first round results, with conservatives winning 110 seats out of 270 in total, pragmatists (JRM) 80, and others (or independents) 58 seats. While second round results are not provided for the 22 remaining seats, IPU reporting for the 1996 elections does indicate that second round results would ultimately inflate pragmatist seat holding to a level near that of the conservative faction, indicating in the process that both

The impact of domestic politics upon GPA 157 conservatives and pragmatists failed to reach an absolute majority. To manage this difficulty I have chosen to assign 119 of the 270 seats each to moderates and conservatives (here classified as counter-reformists), thereby providing each faction with an equal share of seats (44.07 percent) that is shy of a majority. In this manner, seat holding for others/independents is reduced to 27 (10 percent) and five seats are again reserved for ethnic/religious minorities (1.85 percent). Under an existing constitutional provision, the assembly voted to expand the number of Majlis seats to 290 during the 2000 elections (IPU report for 2000 elections). The IPU 2000 report indicates that final results for the 2000 election year provided reformists with a landslide victory of 222 seats, conservatives with 54 seats, and independents with 14 seats (IPU website). Reporting for this year does not, however, include data for seats assigned to each of the five ethnic/ religious minorities. In order to account for these five constitutionally assigned seats, I deduct three seats from the reform faction totals, and one seat each from both conservatives and independents. Thus final results used in this study provide reformists with 219 seats (75.5 percent), conservatives (counterreformists) with 53 seats (18.27 percent), independents with 13 seats (5.46 percent) and ethnic/religious minority groups with five seats (2.1 percent). In the case of the 2004 elections, IPU reporting provides only first round electoral results which account for 226 out of 290 seats, awarding conservatives (counter-reformists) a sizeable lead over reformists who are reported to have claimed just 39 seats (reformist totals confirmed by Farhi, 2011). In the absence of second round results I have elected to calculate faction seat percentages for 2004 based upon seat awards in the first round only, adding five seats for the constitutional allocation reserved for ethnic/religious minorities, thereby bringing first round totals to 231 seats. By Arjomand’s account, second round results should not have fundamentally altered the factional balance of power as conservatives effectively used their institutional leverage to bar the reformists from scoring futher gains (Arjomand, 2009, p. 106); thus, it appears reasonable to base 2004 scores upon first round results. Under this interpretation, conservatives (counter-reformists) are thus regarded as holding 156 seats (67.53 percent), reformists 39 seats (16.88 percent), independents 31 seats (13.41 percent), and ethnic/religious minorities five seats (2.16 percent). While the IPU reports approximate final results for the 2008 elections, a report prepared for the Canadian International Council’s journal International Insights by Oren Cainer (2008) provides highly specific information on factional seat wins, which also accords with the IPU’s more generic data. For the sake of accuracy, I rely upon Cainer’s data for calculating faction seat percentages for 2008. According to Cainer, conservatives (counter-reformists) would come to hold 198 seats (68.27 percent), reformists 47 seats (16.2 percent), independents 40 seats (13.79 percent), and minorities five seats (1.72 percent). Although Cainer indicates that conservatives could reasonably be divided between three sub-factions defined by their relative proximity to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Cainer, 2008, p. 2), I prefer to treat all as representative of a counter-reformist ideology during this period, as discussed previously.

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In the case of the 2012 elections, IPU reporting indicates that conservatives close to Supreme Leader Khamenei took around 180 of the Majlis’ 290 seats, noting also that neo-conservatives close to President Ahmadinejad won fewer than 20 seats (IPU website). IranPolitik’s 2012 reporting provides specific totals for the 2012 results which generally confirm IPU reporting (IranPolitik, 2012). All figures for 2012 are thus drawn from IranPolitik (2012) data. While IranPolitik also disaggregates conservative wins according to three separate principalist sub-factions and also independents representing a conservative ideology, I once again elect to consolidate all seats associated with a conservative platform under a single conservative (counter-reformist) heading. Under this interpretation, 2012 final election results provide conservatives with 165 seats (56.89 percent), reformists with 20 seats (6.89 percent), independents with 100 seats (34.48 percent), and minorities with 5 seats (1.72 percent). In order to solve the problem of missing data associated with non-election years, I employ the same prorating strategy used to measure changing Russian ENP, CPRF, and LDPR levels identified in preceding sections as part of an effort to develop a more comprehensive portrait of changing factional influence across time. Thus seat holding percentages for non-election years (n) may be represented as N = [(E2 − E1) ⁄ S1] + S2: where E2 = the seat holding percentage of the most recent election year; E1 = the seat holding percentagge of the former election year; S1 = the number of session years (where the number of session years is four); and S2 = the value of the seat holding percentage of the prior year. Because this method, once again, does not allow us to account for seat holding percentage scores for 2013, I account for missing 2013 data by reducing 2012 scores by the rate of decrease evident between 2011 and 2012. The percentage change between 2011 and 2012 counter-reformist seat holding scores represents a 4.7619 percent decrease. As such, the counter-reformist seat holding percentage for 2013 is estimated at 54.18 percent—a 4.76 percent decrease from the year before. A complete list of all seat holding percentages for counter-reformists in both election and non-election years between 1992 and 2013 may be found in the Appendix Table A.10.

Testing As in Chapter 4, I rely upon correlation testing to determine a preliminary level of association between independent and dependent variables—utilizing the Spearman’s rho method of evaluting bivariate association. As mentioned previously, Spearman’s rank order of correlation testing utilizes a similar methodology to the more popular Pearson’s method, but focuses instead upon the relationship between differing ranks of paired observations rather than differences associated with raw data pairs. Like the Pearson’s method, the Spearman’s approach reveals both the strength and the direction of association between variables, but admits no formal information on the direction of causality. Calculations have been performed in SPSS. Table 7.2 provides results for first round correlation testing between all variables and GPA for the years 1992–2013. Findings demonstrate a significant

The impact of domestic politics upon GPA 159 Table 7.2 Correlation matrix for micro-level analysis (Chapters 5 and 6) Hypothesis

Variable

N

rho coefficient 2-tailed p-value

Significance

1 2 3 4

ENP CPRF_I LDPR_I CRI

22 22 22 22

0.788 0.397 –0.166 –0.696

p < 0.01 p > 0.05 p > 0.05 p < 0.01

0.000 0.068 0.461 0.000

Notes Calculations performed in SPSS. All variables correlated with GPA. ENP = Effective Number of Political Parties in Russia’s State Duma. CPRF_I = Influence of Communist Party of Russian Federation in Russia’s State Duma. LDPR_I = Influence of Liberal Democratic Party of Russia in Russia’s State Duma. CRI = Influence of Counter-Reformists in Iran’s State Majlis.

degree of correlation in two out of the four variables tested, providing preliminary support for hypotheses 1 and 4. As Table 7.2 demonstrates, there is a strong level of assocation, occurring in the expected direction, between the Effective Number of Parties (ENP) in the Russian Duma and GPA. With a positive correlation coefficient of 0.788 that is significant at the level of p < 0.01, I am able to confidently reject the null hypothesis that there is no significant level of positive association between ENP and GPA. Subsequently, this test provides empirical support for the argument presented in Hypothesis 1 which suggests that bilateral political relations are positively associated with changes in the effective number of parties operating in Russian domestic political institutions. Results in this first round of testing do, however, fail to provide support for the arguments presented in hypotheses 2 and 3 which would suggest that the influence of both the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF_I) and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR_I) in Russian political institutions is positively associated with changes in GPA. In both instances, variables fail to correlate at the established threshold of +/–0.4 and are significant at p > 0.05. Because no significant level of correlation can be established, I am unable to reject the null hypothesis in either instance and therefore am precluded from finding support for the arguments presented in hypotheses 2 and 3. Regarding the argument of whether or not the influence of counter-reformists in Iranian political institutions (CRI) can be negatively associated with GPA, preliminary testing reveals there to be a moderate level of correlation (–0.696), occurring in the expected direction which is significant at p < 0.01. These findings enable me to reject the null hypothsis that CRI and GPA are not negatively and significantly associated, thereby allowing me to demonstrate support for the argument presented in Hypothesis 4. Because the Spearman’s method of determining correlation depends principally upon translating raw data strings into a ranked order of observations (i.e., recoding data), it is again important to evaluate the raw data themselves in graphical format so as to ensure that associational findings are of functional significance. By using scatter-plots to record the intersection of raw data points, I

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General Political Association

hope not only to further confirm hypotheses 1 and 4 but also to reveal more specific information about the nature of association. Figure 7.1 graphically represents the relationship between GPA and the ENP operating in the Russian State Duma during a given year. Upon examination of the scatter-plot, it is evident that there is a trend of positive linear association between ENP and GPA. This depiction should function to reinforce efficacy in the correlation testing results for this pair of variables, demonstrating that increasing levels of ENP in the Russian Duma are associated with an increasing trend of GPA between Russia and Iran. As in the Chapter 4 testing, a linear trendline is imposed upon the data in order to elicit generic observations about the nature of bivariate association and to enhance the capacity for future empirical analysis. Specifically, Figure 7.1 indicates that high levels of bilateral cooperation between Tehran and Moscow (GPA range 14–21) may be anticipated whenever ENP in the State Duma exists above an approximate threshold of five political parties. Levels of moderate cooperation (GPA range of 7–14) are anticipated whenever ENP ranges between 1.75 and 5.0, and still lower levels of cooperation are to be expected whenever annual ENP falls below a value of 1.75 parties. From a historical perspective, Figure 7.1 provides descriptive support for the argument presented in hypothesis 1. Coordinated ENP and GPA positions within the field of high cooperation (GPA > 14, ENP > 5) all correspond to the years between 1992 and 1999—the period of time in which post-Soviet politics had been opened up to the greatest breadth of political actors. As expected, coordinated pairs falling in the field representing higher levels of Moderate cooperation (GPA > 10,

21 19 17 15 13 11 9 7 5 3 1 1.5

High cooperation 1992–2003 Moderate cooperation

2004–13

Low cooperation 2

2.5

3

3.5

4

4.5

5

5.5

6

6.5

7

Effective number of political parties

Figure 7.1 Effective Number of Political Parties in the Russian State Duma and General Political Association, 1992–2013 (source: Parliamentary seat holding percentage data for all election years are obtained from the Russia Votes project— see References. ENP during election years is calculated by the author, using the effective number of parties model developed in Laakso & Taagepera, 1979. ENP data for non-election years are calculated by author on the basis of a prorating strategy. See Appendix Table A.8 for complete ENP data and relevant source citation, and Table A.11 for complete GPA data).

The impact of domestic politics upon GPA 161

2.5

Russian ENP GPA

2 1.5 1 0.5 0 –0.5 –1 –1.5

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

1998

1997

1996

1995

1994

1993

–2

1992

Number of standard deviations above or below the population mean

ENP > 3.75) correspond to years between 2000 and 2003, the period of time in which United Russia was increasing seat-holding capacity relative to other parties, but just prior to highly significant electoral reforms of 2004 which significantly reduced party competition through the elimination of all single-member district seats in the Duma—a move which would pave the way for United Russia’s significant seat holding gains in subsequent 2007 elections. As expected, coordinated ENP-GPA positions representing lower levels of Moderate cooperation (GPA < 10, ENP < 3.75) all correspond to the period following the set of 2004 electoral reforms. As such, these findings demonstrate robust support for the argument presented in Hypothesis 1. In Figure 7.2 indicators of both GPA and Russian ENP are transformed into standard z-scores—a process which enables us to compare the relative magnitude of annual scores by evaluating individual data points in terms of their overall deviation from the population mean. As Figure 7.2 demonstrates, score magnitudes for the two variables are closely aligned throughout the entire period of study, thereby indicating a strong and generally persistent level of association between them. Consistent with arguments developed in Chapter 5, higher magnitude scores for ENP accompany similarly high magnitude scores for GPA between 1992 and 2002, with scores of lower magnitudes for the period 2003–13. These results therefore not only correspond to the argument presented in Chapter 5, but also provide further confirmation of the findings in correlation testing and scatter-plot analysis depicted above. In light of these findings, I can

Figure 7.2 Effective Number of Political Parties in the Russian State Duma and General Political Association—time series data, 1992–2013 (source: Parliamentary seat holding percentage data for all election years are obtained from the Russia Votes project—see References. ENP during election years is calculated by the author, using the effective number of parties model developed in Laakso & Taagepera, 1979. ENP data for non-election years are calculated by author on the basis of a prorating strategy. See Appendix Table A.8 for complete ENP data and relevant source citation, and Table A.11 for complete GPA data. Raw ENP and GPA scores have been transformed into standard z-scores).

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again state that all testing has revealed highly substantive support for the proposition contained in Hypothesis 1. Findings presented here thus accord with the general argument developed throughout Chapter 5 (and presented in Hypothesis 1) which suggests that greater levels of party pluralism in the Russian Federation have traditionally incentivized Kremlin elites to pursue a set of concessionary policies designed to placate political opposition which has traditionally been pro-Iranian in orientation. These results also confirm the converse argument that a diminishing pluralism will generally obviate the need for such concessionary policies and so quite naturally reduce the Kremlin’s utility for continued cooperation. Regarding the relationship between GPA and the level of influence of counter reformists in the Iranian Majlis (where CRI is operationalized as the percentage of parliamentary seats held by counter-reformists), Figure 7.3 depicts a loosely negative linear relationship which exhibits a relatively weaker level of association between variables than that which was exhibited between Russian ENP and GPA in preceding pages. Graphically, Figure 7.3 results can be used to predict that bilateral relations will tend to be categorized in terms of High cooperation whenever identifiable counter-reformists in the Majlis hold less than 30 percent of house parliamentary seats, predicting that moderate levels of cooperation would accompany a counter-reformist seat holding range between 30 and 85 percent. Based upon linear projections, Figure 7.3 also indicates that periods of Low cooperation will be associated with CRI levels exceeding an upper threshold of approximately 85 percent. While Figure 7.3 does provide broad or generic

General Political Association

21 19 High 17 cooperation 1992–2002

15 13

2003–13

11 Moderate 9 cooperation 7 5 Low cooperation 3 1 15

20

25

30

35

40

45

50

55

60

65

70

75

80

85

90

Percentage of seats held by counter-reformists in the Iranian Majlis (CRI)

Figure 7.3 Counter-Reformist Influence in the Iranian Majlis and General Political Association, 1992–2013 (source: CRI = percentage of parliamentary seats held by counter-reformist faction. Parliamentary faction seat holding data for election years are compiled from: IPU legislative election reports between 1992 and 2004; Cainer, 2008; and IranPolitik, 2012). See Appendix Table A.10 for complete CRI data and relevant source citation, and Table A.11 for complete GPA data. CRI data for non-election years are calculated by author on the basis of a prorating strategy).

The impact of domestic politics upon GPA 163 support for the results of the Spearman’s test through its portrayal of an essentially negative association between variables, the significant deviation of numerous coordinate pairs from the imposed linear trendline certainly indicates the imperfect level of association between these two variables. As can be discerned from the graphic, Figure 7.3 does broadly depict a negative association between variables that corresponds to the historical argument presented in Chapter 6. This argument has suggested that lower levels of counter-reformist influence in the Iranian Majlis during the 1990s were broadly supportive of improved bilateral relations with Moscow, while increasing levels of counter-reformist influence—specifically, their radicalizing influence over foreign policy—had complicated relations with the West, thereby raising diplomatic costs to Moscow for continued close political affiliation. As is evident from Figure 7.3, coordinate pairs expressing higher GPA and lower levels of CRI generally correspond to expectations for the period between 1992 and 2002. Conversely, coordinate pairs expressing lower GPA and higher levels of CRI typically correspond to expectations for the latter period of 2003 to 2013. Thus, in generic terms these results do still broadly speaking support the historical argument developed in Chapter 6 as well as the proposition contained in Hypothesis 4. When viewed more closely, however, Figure 7.3 provides information that may also be essential to improving upon the argument that counter-reformism in Iranian domestic politics has tended to be negatively associated with the quality of bilateral political relations. Specifically, coordinate pairs expressing data for the period 2003–13 appear to conform more closely to the expected linear trend than do observations reported for the period 1992–2002. Recognizing the complexity of bilateral relations and the likelihood that a number of factors are consistently responsible for impacting them, it is clear that a lack of robust association between variables may be due to the influence of other factors explored throughout the course of this study. And while there can be little doubt that this is the case, another possible reason for the performance disparity existing between the two time periods may relate to the conception of counterreformists and the operationalization of that concept in this analysis. In the course of this current investigation the designation of counterreformists during the period 2003–13 has included, in addition to traditional religious conservatives, neo-conservative members who tend to represent the most extreme revolutionary ideologies and organizations operating in Iran—particularly those members demonstrating closer alliance to then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as well as to affiliated organizations such as the IRGC and Basij Militia. If the variable presented here more closely associates with GPA in a negative linear fashion during the period 2003–13, it may be due specifically to the emerging neo-conservative presence in Iranian domestic politics during this period which was the product of religious conservatives’ efforts to further bar factional reformists from political power. By failing to distinguish among differing sub-factions of conservatives, the variable presented in this study may simply be too broadly constructed. By refocusing the definition of counter-reformists

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The impact of domestic politics upon GPA

2.5

Counter-reformist seat holding GPA

2 1.5 1 0.5 0 –0.5 –1 –1.5

2013

2011

2012

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

1998

1997

1996

1995

1994

1993

–2

1992

Number of standard deviations above or below the population mean

more narrowly upon those elites who identify with a revolutionary ideology and who are closely aligned with revolutionary organizations such as the IRGC and the Basij Militia, future empirical efforts may further improve upon the results presented here. In effect, we might suggest a counter-hypothesis, arguing that it has been the emergent role of such organizations as the IRGC in foreign policy management which has effectively undercut bilateral relations with Moscow in more recent years, and that the heightened political affinity of the 1990s could be conversely associated with diminished levels of influence of these same organizations over policy creation. In brief, my expectation based upon arguments presented in Chapter 6, as well as the findings expressed in correlation analysis and Figure 7.3, is that GPA is closely and negatively correlated with the influence of radical pro-revolutionary organizations over Iranian foreign policy. Despite the loose level of correspondence between CRI and GPA, Figure 7.4 again reveals a generally negative level of association that is supportive of arguments developed in chapters 6 and 7. Higher magnitudes of GPA during the 1990s are matched by relatively lower levels of CRI throughout this same period. As argued previously, the diminished influence of counter-reformist factions during the 1990s was complemented by the rising influence of both pragmatists and reformists who sought to reinvigorate Iran’s economy through a renewed internationalism in foreign affairs. As anticipated, Figure 7.4 also reveals how diminished levels of GPA have been accompanied by higher magnitudes of CRI between 2003 and 2011. These findings support the argument

Figure 7.4 Counter-Reformist Influence in the Iranian Majlis and General Political Association—time series data, 1992–2013 (source: CRI = percentage of parliamentary seats held by counter-reformist faction. Parliamentary faction seat holding data for election years are compiled from: IPU legislative election reports between 1992 and 2004; Cainer, 2008; and IranPolitik, 2012. See Appendix Table A.10 for complete CRI data and relevant source citation, and Table A.11 for complete GPA data. CRI data for non-election years are calculated by author on the basis of a prorating strategy. Raw CRI and GPA scores have been transformed into standard z-scores).

The impact of domestic politics upon GPA 165 developed in Chapter 6 which describes diminished levels of GPA during the twenty-first century as associated with Iran’s return to revolutionary unilateralism under the growing counter-reform movement. Once again, however, minor and moderate fluctuations in GPA are clearly depicted as being largely independent of changes in CRI, thereby highlighting the key importance of other causal factors in accounting for changes in GPA across time. If we have demonstrated support for the proposition in Hypothesis 4, we must also admit that the level of association is far from robust, reminding us that the quality of bilateral relations at any given moment is therefore the product of numerous underlying conditions.

Conclusion In this chapter I have sought to operationally define and test a set of hypotheses developed throughout Chapters 5 and 6 that seek to evaluate whether or not changes in GPA between Russia and Iran may be associated with changing domestic political conditions. In the case of the Russian Federation I have argued that the changing quality of representation has been associated with changes in bilateral cooperation over time. I have argued that higher levels of representation during the 1990s forced Yeltsin’s administration to make broad political concessions to opposition forces that were frequently pro-Iranian in their ideological and economic disposition. Specifically, I have suggested that the appointment of pro-Iranian figures to cabinet-level positions during the 1990s functioned to create a political climate favoring enhanced cooperation between Moscow and Tehran. Following a series of political reforms enacted by the Kremlin between 2000 and 2004 which dramatically curtailed political representation—thereby ostracizing oppostion elites from policy-making—I have argued that the presidential administration was effectively empowered to rescind the concessionary domestic political strategy which had previously underwritten relations with Tehran. Testing in this chapter has strongly supported this overarching argument by finding support for Hypothesis 1, thereby demonstrating a strong positive relationship between the Effective Number of Political Parties (ENP) operating in the Russian State Duma and General Political Association (GPA). More specifically, I have argued for and tested hypotheses indicating that bilateral relations may be associated with the changing influence of leading opposition parties in the Russian Federation—namely, the CPRF and LDPR. While the importance of the CPRF and LDPR to bilateral relations has been suggested in the literature, testing here has demonstrated no significant level of association between the domestic influence of these parties and the status of bilateral relations as a whole. The clear level of association demonstrated between ENP and GPA would support the assertion that CPRF and LDPR influence have, however, been important to cooperation—especially considering the restricted number of parties operating in Russian politics—yet we cannot dismiss the pure lack of empirical support so easily. Rather, it is likely that estimations of CPRF and LDPR influence are too narrowly focused, and so cannot adequately account for the dramatic loss of pro-Iranian preferences that occurred between 2000 and 2004. Future studies

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The impact of domestic politics upon GPA

would do well to qualitatively analyze the importance to Russian–Iranian relations of smaller parties and independents—both of which became the real casualties of electoral reform under the Putin administration. In the meantime, a focus upon ENP seems to suffice insofar as it generically depicts the changing balance of power between the Kremlin and its opposition. This chapter has also successfully argued for and tested the hypothesis that the influence of counter-reformists in Iranian domestic politics has been negatively associated with changes in bilateral cooperation. Results of testing demonstrate significant support for the argument established in Chapter 6 which suggests that heightened cooperation during the 1990s was underwritten, in part, by low levels of counter-reformist influence resulting from pragmatist and conservative efforts to bar revolutionary radicals from policy-making institutions. The ostracism of radical elites from political power during the 1990s led the Islamic Republic to pursue a new foreign policy paradigm which was defined by pragmatism and a renewed internationalism. The subsequent return of revolutionary hardliners (a.k.a. counter-reformists) to power in the late 1990s and early 2000s thus likely precipitated Iran’s return to a more radical foreign policy that would eventually challenge its relationship to Moscow. Testing in this chapter has provided empirical support for this hypothesis by finding a significant level of negative association between Counter-Reformist Influence in Iranian political institutions (CRI) and General Political Association (GPA). By pursuing a nuclear policy which prioritized unilateral development over multilateral accommodation, I have argued in the preceding chapter that a return to radicalism under counter-reformists in Iranian foreign policy—beginning in the late 1990s and early 2000s—effectively raised the diplomatic costs of cooperation for Moscow and so created conditions in which a change in the status quo of relations became likely. Placing greater priority upon its relations with western nations, I have argued, leaders in Moscow became compelled to reduce the high level of cooperation enjoyed with Tehran since the early 1990s. The cessation of weapons sales and participation in progressive rounds of international sanctions in the mid- to late 2000s attest to Russian efforts to curry favor with western nations at the expense of its relations with Iran. Importantly, these developments are argued to have occurred within the context of changing internal conditions in the Russian Federation which further empowered the Kremlin to make purely utilitarian decisions. Where the Kremlin had formerly been beholden to opposition parties that were characteristically pro-Iranian in nature, by 2004 all such opposition had been effectively neutralized through the process of political reform discussed in Chapter 5. Once the government was no longer hampered by the need to extend strong pro-Iranian concessions to opposition parties and interests, testing within this chapter has effectively supported the broad argument that Russian–Iranian cooperation has suffered in recent years due to the reradicalization of Iranian foreign policy. Thus, this chapter has found support for the generic argument that Russian–Iranian relations remain sensitive to both changing levels of political pluralism in the Russian Federation and the level of radicalization in Iranian political institutions.

8

Conclusion

Introduction In this study I have attempted to evaluate critically one of the most prominent and controversial political relationships of the post-Cold War era. Although relations between Moscow and Tehran had often been highly adversarial during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, high levels of cooperation exhibited in the early post-Cold War era have forced scholars and policy-makers alike to reevaluate the nature of this bilateral relationship, causing them, in turn, to examine those myriad factors deemed to be principal to cooperation. But the dearth of critical scholarship on the subject of Russian–Iranian relations has not helped us to confidently answer some of our most basic questions about the nature of this relationship or where, in fact, the partnership might be headed in the coming years. Rather than subjecting this political partnership to empirical analysis, speculation and historical recitation have, to date, only further muddied the waters of political inquiry. By redirecting the analysis of Russian–Iranian relations into a science-based forum, this study has attempted to aggregate, explain, and empirically evaluate those factors deemed pertinent to bilateral outcomes. By translating complex historical interactions into a user-friendly dependent variable referred to as General Political Association and restructuring a diverse set of causal narratives into a set of formal hypotheses, this study has generated discrete conclusions about those factors which are—and are not—salient to cooperation in the post-Cold War era. Although there has been a general tendency in the literature to focus most keenly upon the salience of changing macro-level security conditions, I have also drawn attention to the fact that scholars have rarely failed to recognize the great importance of domestic interest groups as well as the associated structures of representation. In the following sections, I briefly review this study’s findings and apply these lessons learned to the question of where Russian–Iranian relations are headed in the immediate and medium-term future.

Summary of findings Principally, this study has found support for the proposition that changes in Russian–Iranian relations are dependent upon a broad range of factors that

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include both generic national security calculations (macro-level variables) and ongoing developments in the domestic political life of both nations (micro-level variables). In more specific terms, this study has developed a discrete set of conclusions about the nature of Russian–Iranian cooperation that should help to more finely structure future investigations and dialogues concerning Moscow and Tehran’s interrelations. In the case of Russia, this study has found that although Russian perceptions of NATO’s relative power cannot be demonstrated to have functioned as a significant factor in bilateral outcomes, there is, in fact, significant empirical support for the argument that Russia’s willingness to cooperate with Iran remains highly sensitive to its own perceptions of Iran’s ability to become a competitive energy exporter (Chapter 4). With energy receipts playing a pivotal role in the Russian economy and federal budget, this study has found support for the argument that Moscow remains highly sensitive to those factors which may potentially undercut its hegemony over downstream markets. Although Russia’s control over downstream natural gas markets in Europe is presently assured, the findings of this study suggest that political affinity with Iran is closely and negatively associated with changes in the natural gas production gap existing between the two nations. Specifically, testing in Chapter 4 reveals that a widening production gap likely leads to a decreasing level of perceived energy competition which, in turn, functions to free up leaders in Moscow to engage Iran in matters of defense, development, and territorial agreement. Conversely, as the production gap narrows (owing to increasing Iranian production or decreasing Russian production), this study finds that a heightened level of perceived competition will most likely function to restrict the Kremlin’s willingness or ability to cooperate with Iran in the three core areas that comprise GPA. At the level of domestic politics this study has found strong support for the hypothesis that the nature of bilateral relations at any given time is associated with changes in the quality of party representation in Russian political institutions. Specifically, testing in Chapter 7 reveals broad support for the argument developed in Chapter 5 which suggests that high levels of cooperation during the 1990s were the result of the Kremlin’s concessionary political strategy which invested proIranian opposition elites with a significant degree of policy-making authority in exchange for continued political legitimacy and the stability of the young Federation (Chapter 5). Similarly supported is the argument developed also in Chapter 5 which suggests that the declining state of cooperation throughout the twenty-first century has been a product of diminishing levels of party representation that are the product of the Kremlin-sponsored constitutional reforms of the Putin administration. While the Putin and Medvedev administrations have not been characterized as devoutly anti-Iranian, the loss of pro-Iranian influences in the policy-making process due to political infighting and diminished representation is here argued to have obviated the Kremlin’s need to pursue further the concessionary political strategy which supported high levels of affinity during the 1990s. In Chapters 5 and 7, I have argued for and tested hypotheses indicating that bilateral relations may be associated with the changing influence of leading

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opposition parties in the Russian Federation—namely, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF ) and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR). While the importance of the CPRF and LDPR to bilateral relations has been suggested in the literature, testing here has demonstrated no significant level of association between the domestic influence of these specific parties and the status of bilateral relations as a whole. While LDPR influence demonstrated a clear lack of association with bilateral relations (in terms of GPA), correlation results for CPRF influence fell just shy of thresholds for determining statistical significance. In light of this consideration, future studies may find it useful to broaden the conception of CPRF influence to include parties that are historically and/or ideologically aligned with the CPRF and which could be used to form a greater CPRF-supported opposition bloc. In the case of Iran, testing has found support for the proposition that Tehran’s perceptions of NATO’s relative power have been closely associated with changes in political affinity over time, suggesting that Tehran’s motivation to cooperate with Moscow is, in part, guided by a generic power-balancing strategy (see Chapter 4). Specifically, this study has found that cooperation between Tehran and Moscow is negatively associated with the power disparity existing between Iran and NATO. As Tehran’s power relative to NATO diminishes, findings anticipate periods of expanded cooperation; conversely, as Tehran’s relative power increases vis-à-vis NATO, this study predicts periods of diminishing cooperation. Thus this study suggests that Iranian leaders will maintain a greater utility for cooperation with Moscow whenever the Islamic Republic perceives itself to be relatively weaker than NATO. Higher utility estimations for partnership with Russia should therefore motivate Iranian leaders to increase collaboration across all subcomponents of GPA. In this manner, a state of perceived weakness will motivate Iran to increase cooperation with Moscow in matters of defense, development, and territorial agreement. Lower utility estimations for cooperation are subsequently predicted to accompany periods of Iran’s increasing relative power, thereby limiting the Islamic Republic’s need for collaboration in each of these three areas. In terms of Iranian domestic politics, this study has successfully argued for and tested the hypothesis that the influence of a counter-reformist faction in Iranian domestic politics is negatively associated with changes in bilateral cooperation (Chapters 6 and 7). Testing in Chapter 7 has revealed empirical support for this hypothesis by finding a significant level of negative association between Counter-Reformist Influence (CRI) in Iranian political institutions and GPA. These results support the argument developed in Chapter 6 which specifies that periods of heightened bilateral cooperation during the 1990s were underwritten by low levels of CRI resulting from pragmatist and conservative efforts to bar revolutionary radicals from policy-making institutions. The ostracism of radical elites from political power during the 1990s is here described to have led the Islamic Republic to pursue a new foreign policy paradigm which was defined by pragmatism and a renewed internationalism. Thus I have argued that the international current in Iranian foreign policy under the Rafsanjani and later

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Khatami administrations during the 1990s was broadly supportive of increasing GPA. Testing simultaneously confirms the argument developed in Chapter 6 that the return of revolutionary radicals to power in Iran during the 2000s has had a broadly negative impact on GPA. Specifically, Chapter 6 has argued that religious conservatives, fearful of the impact Khatami’s reform movement could have on the future role of theocratic leadership, used their significant constitutional leverage (as well as their alliance to revolutionary hardliners) to ban the reform movement from participation in the nation’s republican institutions. Thus the return to power of elites in favor of a counter-reformist agenda precipitated an end to Iran’s highly diplomatic policies of the 1990s which, in turn, carried with it significant challenges for bilateral relations with Russia. Specifically, I have argued that Iran’s increasingly unilateral and aggressive nuclear policy under religious conservatives and revolutionary hardliners representing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps functioned to raise diplomatic costs to Moscow of continued deep relations. In this radicalized climate, I suggest that the Kremlin, now no longer domestically required to appease pro-Iranian opposition interests, found increasing disutility for collaboration and so scaled back cooperation. This study has also developed important information concerning the impact of state failure in neighboring nations on the quality of bilateral relations. Although it has become common in the literature to cite the importance that instances of state failure have had on relations between Moscow and Tehran, this study has failed to find empirical support for such propositions, revealing rather that its importance to bilateral outcomes is significantly less than has been generally expected. Rather than acting as an expedient cause of cooperation, the findings of this study suggest that regional political destabilization provides a forum in which both nations demonstrate the general health and vitality of their political relationship. In this manner, tactical collaboration in Tajikistan and Afghanistan during the 1990s— and more recently in Syria—is likely to be the product of an otherwise healthy bilateral relationship (and unilateral aspirations), rather than its cause.

Reflections on future scholarship pertaining to Russian– Iranian relations While this study has made significant inroads into a scientific analysis of Russian–Iranian relations across time, there is much yet to be completed in terms of ongoing research. Now that the significant factors influencing bilateral relations have been identified and defended, future research would benefit substantially from the development of a compound independent variable based upon: Russian perceptions of Iran’s threat to its energy hegemony (IRP_NG); changing levels of party representation in Russian political institutions (ENP); Iran’s changing perceptions of NATO’s relative power (IRN_PERC); and the influence of counter-reformists in Iranian political institutions (CRI). In terms of compound variable construction, it is apparent that not all factors should be assigned equal weights. Table 8.1 presents a rank ordering of all significant independent

Iran’s Relative Production of Natural Gas Effective Number of Political Parties in Russian State Duma Iran’s Perception of NATO’s Relative Power Counter-Reformist Influence in Iran’s State Majlis

1 2 IRN_PERC CRI

IRP_NG ENP

Variable code

19 22

22 22

N

–0.720 –0.696

–0.852 0.788

rho coefficient

0.001 0.000

0.000 0.000

2-tailed p-value

p < 0.01 p < 0.01

p < 0.01 p < 0.01

Significance

Notes Calculations performed in SPSS. All variables correlated with GPA. Rank order is assigned according to the relative strength of each variable’s correlation coefficient.

3 4

Variable description

Rank order

Table 8.1 Rank-ordered correlation matrix for all significant independent variables

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variables depicted in this study which could be used to derive relative weights for each of the individual factors in any future efforts. While such an indicator would no doubt prove useful to scholars and analysts alike, a few key challenges would need to be overcome in order to make substantive improvements to the performance of this metric. One of the key challenges in this process would most certainly come from the overall lack of suitable indicators pertinent to Iran. Attempting to codify factional developments in Iranian politics has proven to be one of the leading challenges of this study and scholars of Iranian domestic politics may disagree with some of my own interpretations of parliamentary data for the Islamic Republic. Increasing efforts to quantify the changing factional balance of power in Iran may substantively improve the performance of the indicator suggested in this study and would be crucial to any further investigation of the topic. As discussed in the preceding chapter, overall efforts to model the impact of counter-reformists upon the general well-being of the bilateral relationship would likely be improved by any attempts to more specifically isolate the emerging influence of revolutionary organizations such as the IRGC and Basij Militia in matters of state policy creation or more specifically within the context of nuclear policy development during the post-Soviet era. Future research will also need to address the question of whether or not to include those variables which, though hypothesized to be associated with political relations, were here found to be statistically non-significant. While future research may accept the findings of this study, thereby relying solely upon the factors named in Table 8.1, analysts may also choose to revisit those factors which have been rejected by this present effort—seeking to improve upon my efforts of variable construction/operationalization. I have indicated previously that there may be some merit to exploring further the influence of the CPRF on political relations, but any future research would most likely need to expand the concept beyond the singularity of the CPRF, including also smaller parties and independents that have traditionally demonstrated a close working relationship with CPRF deputies, but which in recent years have been barred from policymaking positions by higher electoral thresholds and the elimination of singlemember electoral districts (SMD) in national parliamentary elections. A wave of recent legislative reforms in the Russian Federation which have lowered electoral thresholds and may ultimately restore SMD seats to the State Duma may function to return a host of CPRF-sympathetic members to parliament. In this instance, any future effort seeking to classify CPRF influence more broadly may be able to improve upon the performance of this variable in terms of its association, thereby justifying its addition as a compound independent variable.

Contemplating the future of Russian–Iranian relations One of the single greatest advantages of a scientific approach to international relations is, of course, that we are potentially empowered to make some realistic predictions concerning future state behavior. In this section I discuss how

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changes in contemporary conditions could reasonably be expected to influence relations between Moscow and Tehran in the coming years in light of the findings presented in this study. Despite some minor negative pressure on the relationship, I predict that cooperation with Iran will significantly increase over the next half decade, returning to levels of moderate cooperation that were more characteristic of the early 2000s. This study has revealed support for the hypothesis proposed in Chapter 4 which describes Russian–Iranian relations as being negatively associated with Iran’s relative export capacity of natural gas, indicating that bilateral relations are characterized, in part, by Russia’s sense of vulnerability to Iranian encroachment on its very lucrative—and politically essential—downstream energy markets. As described in Chapter 4, this study has concluded that changes in GPA are closely associated with the widening or narrowing of the natural gas production gap that exists between the two nations. Thus this study has found that a widening production gap (representing the potential for diminished competition) tends to be associated with positive changes in GPA while a diminishing production gap (representing the potential for increasing competition) is associated with negative changes in affinity (Chapter 4). While the steadily diminishing production gap which has resulted from Iran’s growing natural gas production capacity should reasonably be expected to place a modest amount of negative pressure on bilateral relations, it should not be anticipated to outweigh the substantively positive benefits to GPA that will likely accrue from more aggressive western sanctions which have specifically targeted Iran’s energy industry as well as from Russia’s more recent efforts to distance itself from this more aggressive sanctions regime instituted in 2012. The increasingly harsh western sanctions which directly challenge Iran’s ability to act as an energy exporter clearly function to depress energy competition between Russia and Iran—a factor which this study has found is strongly associated with changes in political affinity. By limiting Iran’s energy export potential, western leaders have—in effect—expediently reduced the natural competition that exists between these two nations and which is premised upon their respective natural resource endowments as well as their proximity to key downstream energy markets in Europe and Asia. While Russian support for UNSC sanctions since December 2006 has no doubt harmed cooperation with Tehran—through its overt challenge to bilateral nuclear development assistance and conventional weapons supply—recent efforts by Moscow to distance itself from these international efforts not only demonstrate a renewed commitment to bilateral cooperation in key areas like nuclear collaboration, but also further ensure that its energy hegemony will not be jeopardized by competing Iranian exports. By ensuring that Moscow’s energy hegemony will not be challenged by Tehran, expanded sanctions targeting Iran’s energy industry will likely provide the correct conditions for underwriting a return to increasing bilateral cooperation. While Russia will, therefore, continue to profit from the ongoing sanctions regime, its newly declared distance from these efforts will enable it to export the harsh diplomatic costs associated with this policy away from itself

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and back towards western nations. Under these conditions, bilateral relations between Moscow and Tehran will likely flourish once again. Although ending the sanctions regime against Iran would dramatically increase the level of perceived energy competition between the two nations, thereby negatively impacting GPA, it is apparent that sanctions, in some form, will continue in the near term as Iran and the West slowly attempt to iron out their differences over the question of Iran’s right to pursue unrestricted uranium enrichment activities. Progressive rounds of international sanctions such as those imposed in 2012 should, however, be expected to positively impact GPA in other ways as well. As demonstrated in Chapter 4 and in Table 8.1, political relations or GPA remain closely associated with Iranian perceptions of NATO’s relative power (IRN_PERC), where power is expressed in terms of Iranian GDP relative to NATO’s aggregate member GDP (Chapter 4). Results in this study demonstrate that as Tehran’s power vis-à-vis NATO dwindles, it will tend to pursue a powerbalancing strategy in which it seeks greater political collaboration with Russia as part of an effort to offset the perceived potential threat posed by NATO. Conversely, where the power differential between NATO and the Islamic Republic narrows, this study has shown that Iranian leaders will find a diminishing utility for cooperative relations with Russia. The key question is whether or not recent rounds of unilateral sanctions targeting Iran’s central bank and its oil exports (beginning in 2012) have functioned—and will continue to function—to harm national GDP, thereby creating a widening power differential between NATO members and Iran. To the extent that sanctions will further magnify the existing power gap, this study predicts that Iran will become incentivized to increase GPA with Russia. While some speculate that Iran’s economy will ultimately be able to absorb the shock of recent sanctions (Torchia, 2013)—and so fail to deter Iran’s uranium enrichment program—there can be little doubt that this regime is placing strong negative pressure on GDP growth. Citing an April 2013 International Monetary Fund “World Economic Outlook” report, Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty indicates that sanctions helped to depress Iran’s economy by 1.9 percent in 2012, and are expected shrink its GDP by another 1.3 percent during 2013 (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 2013, April 16). Accepting GDP as a proxy for national power, this study predicts that significant harm to Iran’s economy will only function to further swell the relative power disparity that exists between Iran and NATO member nations. As demonstrated in Chapter 4, increasing power disparities between Iran and NATO are positively associated with Tehran’s political affinity to Moscow. Thus while sanctions may or may not fail to dissuade Iran from pursuing its aggressive nuclear policy, they will most certainly function to improve relations with Moscow in the near term. If cooperation between the two capitals has languished over the past decade, increasingly robust western sanctions may now be recognized as largely instrumental to the restoration of conditions supporting further political collusion between Iran and Russia. Notably, the reduction in sanctions against Iran would not only function to swell the inherent energy competition between Moscow and

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Tehran, but also could be expected to diminish Iran’s perceptions of NATO’s relative power through GDP growth, thereby incentivizing it to suspend a powerbalancing strategy. In both instances, it would be reasonable to assume—based upon the results of this study—that a reduction in sanctions would lead to a further deterioration in bilateral political relations between Moscow and Tehran. If the existing regime of unilateral and multilateral sanctions will function to increase cooperation between Moscow and Tehran, so also will ongoing changes in the domestic politics of both nations. In the first instance, 2011 parliamentary elections in Russia demonstrated impressive gains by opposition parties at the expense of the Kremlin ruling party, United Russia. While the number of parties holding seats in the Duma has not changed since the 2007 elections (seats presently divided among four parties), the distribution of seats between these parties has changed appreciably, thereby changing the ENP operating in the State Duma: ENP increased from 1.9 in the 2007 elections to 2.8 during the most recent 2011 electoral cycle (see Figure 7.1 and Appendix Table A.8). In the wake of these results, opposition parties are also reported to have regained chair positions on many key parliamentary committees, including both the Defense Committee (chaired by a representative of the CPRF ) and the Committee for the Commonwealth of Independent States (chaired by a representative of the LDPR) (Monaghan, 2012, p. 3). As this study has demonstrated, there is a consistent and positive association between rising levels of ENP in the Russian State Duma and political association with Iran. Changes in the overall balance of parliamentary power could therefore reasonably be expected to become a platform for opposition parties to exact political concessions from the Kremlin which could potentially favor an increasing affinity with Iran. And while the modest increase in ENP resulting from the 2011 elections may only be expected to impact bilateral relations mildly, there are indications that ENP will continue to rise in the wake of the 2016 parliamentary electoral cycle. With the outbreak of widespread public protest in reaction to the 2011 parliamentary elections, outgoing President Dmitri Medvedev both introduced and signed concessionary legislation that would ease pressures on party registration and representation in the State Duma (Reuters, 2012). The new law, which went into effect in April 2012, significantly reduces from 40,000 to just 500 the number of signatures required for parties to formally register with the state; additionally, the new law reduced the electoral threshold for party representation in the Duma from 7 down to just 5 percent of the vote (Monaghan, 2012, p. 5). More recently, in January 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed new legislation that would further reverse previous 2004 parliamentary electoral reforms by reopening one-half of all State Duma seats to single-member district (SMD) electoral contests (Herszenhorn, 2013, January 2). As discussed in Chapter 5, the 2004 elimination of all SMD seats in favor of a parliament comprised solely of seats won on the basis of a PR system effectively barred all independent candidates and small parties (which could not otherwise clear the PR seat holding thresholds) from gaining representation in the parliament. As shown in Table A.8, following the elimination of SMD seats, ENP declined from a level

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of 3.39 effective parties in the 2003 parliamentary elections to a level of 1.91 effective parties in the 2007 elections. While the proposed legislation has not—as of the time of writing—become law, it can be anticipated that a return to a mixed SMD/PR list system would likely have an increasingly positive impact upon levels of party representation. While there is some debate as to whether or not these new legislative efforts will ultimately enable opposition parties to significantly mitigate United Russia’s (UR) influence in coming elections—or whether these efforts could even be used to bolster UR numbers or to fracture opposition—the Kremlin’s new law on party registration and recently proposed legislation on the return of SMD voting are substantive proof that the political executive is already growing more responsive to opposition interests. But this new-found responsiveness is being complemented by the Kremlin’s simultaneous efforts to manage the growth of opposition in a bid to retain its firm control over all real political power. In a 2013 report, Human Rights Watch indicates that Vladimir Putin’s third presidential term and the largely UR-controlled State Duma have responded to the growing opposition movement through a variety of legislative efforts aimed at cracking down on such areas as public event organization, the operations of foreign-funded domestic NGOs, U.S. Agency for International Development operations in Russia, citizen critique of public officials, internet freedoms, and most recently the LGBT civil rights movement (Human Rights Watch, 2013). Whether or not these legislative efforts will ultimately serve to restrict the growth of political liberalization and party representation is indeed difficult to say. Yet what remains clear is that the Kremlin and United Russia are being substantively challenged by an emerging opposition movement and that they are grudgingly beginning to acknowledge this fact through a series of concessionary electoral reforms. Insofar as similar political concessions made by the Yeltsin administration during the 1990s led to an increasingly pro-Iranian posture in Russian foreign policy, it may be reasonable to expect that increasing political pluralism in the coming years will only further serve to restore the influence of parties, elites, and industries which prioritize ties to the Islamic Republic—a non-western-aligned nation—for both ideological and economic reasons. In this manner, concessionary political behaviors and any resulting boost to political pluralism in Russian political institutions should be anticipated to provide the conditions capable of favoring a restoration of bilateral ties with the Islamic Republic. Based upon the outcomes of Iran’s March 2, 2012 parliamentary elections and June 14, 2013 presidential elections, all indications are that a growing rift between conservatives and neo-conservatives will provide traditional conservatives and policy pragmatists with increasing control over foreign policy formation in the coming years. Insofar as this study has demonstrated support for the proposition that counter-reformist influence is negatively associated with GPA, we might reason that the further demise of neo-conservative influence in Iranian policy formation will provide further stimulus for a return to cooperation in bilateral relations with Russia. Initially erupting in 2011 when neo-conservative

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President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unsuccessfully challenged Supreme Leader Khamenei’s pick for the nation’s intelligence minister, the dispute between conservative factions became a showcase for neo-conservative efforts to challenge clerical authority from republican-based political institutions (Dareini, 2012, May 5). In a failed bid for power reminiscent of reformist challenges to clerical leadership during the late 1990s and early 2000s, neo-conservative efforts have similarly reduced the pro-revolutionary faction’s prospects for further influencing state policy formation (see Choksy, 2012). The 2012 parliamentary election results proved conclusively that more moderate conservative elites have effectively insulated clerical authority from any further neoconservative attacks, as close supporters of then President Ahmadinejad managed to win a total of only 22 seats under the neo-conservative electoral bloc known as the Persevering Front of the Islamic Revolution (PFIR) (IranPolitik, 2012). By contrast, traditional conservatives operating under the Principalist Unity Front (PUF ) list claimed 65 of the Majlis’ 290 seats—thereby making the PUF the Majlis’ single largest political bloc (IranPolitik, 2012). Notably, 61 additional seats were filled by principalist members who were jointly listed under PUF and PFIR lists, with 17 seats being awarded to independent principalists (IranPolitik, 2012). While conservatives and neo-conservatives had previously demonstrated a substantive degree of factional cohesion, in the wake of the political ostracism of the reformist movement and neo-conservative bids for power, it can be argued that this once-strong alliance should no longer be taken for granted. In the wake of the 2012 parliamentary electoral outcomes and the growing factional cleavage, it has been reported that members of the PUF may now be seeking closer collaboration with non-conservative/principalist members emphasizing, in turn, the PUF ’s potential capacity for partnership with independents and known pragmatists (IranPolitik, 2012). As discussed in Chapter 6, traditional conservatives have historically been split between a reform and a counter-reform agenda, indicating the possibility that more pragmatic elements within the group will be able to take advantage of the political space opening up in the wake of a neo-conservative defeat. Insofar as control over the nation’s republican institutions has typically relied upon a series of rotating alliances between competing factions, it is reasonable to anticipate that the fracture in conservative and neo-conservative relations will precipitate a return to a more moderate coalition. While the reform movement’s interest in upsetting the theocratic status quo will likely preclude any alliance between conservatives and reformists, there is clear reason to believe that Rafsanjanistyle pragmatists—who support the status quo of religious leadership in conjunction with development-based objectives—will provide the right balance of factional power simultaneously to control policy formation and to preserve clerical authority. With the June 2013 election of Dr. Hassan Rouhani, a known policy moderate, to the nation’s presidency (the election itself operating as a symbol of the changing factional balance of power), we find tangible support for the proposition that the Islamic Republic may in fact already be returning to a more

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realist-oriented disposition similar to that which guided foreign policy decisions during the early to mid-1990s. As Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator in 2003, Dr. Rouhani—operating at the behest of Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Khatami—successfully presided over effective negotiations with western leaders which led to the temporary suspension of Iranian uranium enrichment activities following disturbing revelations of a secret Iranian program (Arjomand, 2009, p. 198; Davis et al., 2011, p. 16). The success of these negotiations (which lasted until a reconstituted conservative parliament enacted legislation requiring a return to enrichment activies in October 2004) demonstrates the Islamic Republic’s potential for pragmatic decision-making during crisis periods when neoconservative influence over policy formation is minimal. Whether or not President Rouhani’s administration—in conjuction with Supreme Leader Khamenei—will be able to replicate this past diplomatic success in the current international political climate and given IRGC influence in nuclear development initiatives of course remains to be seen. At the time of writing, however, there is good reason to believe that Rouhani’s administration will attempt to take advantage of declining levels of neo-conservative influence as well as the sympathetic tendencies for policy pragmatism which have occasionally been apparent among the nation’s traditional conservatives. President Rouhani’s first month in office is notable for its series of overt gestures apparently dedicated to reviving Iranian pragmatism in foreign policy. Whether these gestures will enable the Islamic Republic to reach an accommodation with western leaders over Iran’s nuclear program is unknowable at present, but indications are that President Rouhani, unlike his predecessor, is making a concerted effort to showcase a preference for negotiation with the West. Rouhani’s appointment of the U.S.-educated and English-speaking Mohammad Javad Zarif to the post of foreign minister in August 2013 stands as a significant signal to western governments regarding the more pragmatic direction of Iranian foreign policy which can be expected in the coming years (Penketh, 2013). Having served as a deputy minister of foreign affairs during the Rafsanjani and Khatami administrations (1992–2002) as well as ambassador to the United Nations under both the Khatami and Ahmadinejad administrations (2002–7), Zarif ’s political tenure is closely aligned with periods of pragmatic decision-making in Iranian institutions that largely preceded the return to policy radicalization after 2004. Notably, Zarif served as part of Rouhani’s negotiating committee to the EU-3 during the successful 2003 talks which led to Iran’s temporary suspension of uranium enrichment activities. Having been held back from high-level postings during the Ahmadinejad administration, Zarif ’s appointment to the nation’s top diplomatic post clearly functions as a signal to western leaders of the incoming administration’s interest in pursuing negotiation and engagement with the West (Penketh, 2013). In a further sign heralding the possibility of a return to effective negotiations, President Rouhani on August 16, 2013 ordered the replacement of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) Director, Fereydoon Abbasi (a known neoconservative), by longtime government functionary Ali Akbar Salehi (Dahl,

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2013; Hemming, Dahl, & Heavens, 2013). Salehi, a reported pragmatist, had operated as Iran’s foreign minister from 2010 until his 2013 appointment at the IAEO where he had served previously as Director from 2009 to 2010 (Dahl, 2013; Hemming et al., 2013). Prior to these appointments, Salehi had served as the nation’s chief representative to the IAEA during the reformist administration of President Mohammad Khatami between the years 1997 and 2005. Reports indicate that Salehi’s return to the IAEO is yet another tangible sign of President Rouhani’s willingness and ability to lead the country back toward a pragmatic foreign policy agenda—a point, perhaps, bolstered by the subsequent resignation of Ali Asghar Soltanieh as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator to the IAEA and his replacement by Reza Najafi, a disarmament specialist from Iran’s Foreign Ministry (Dahl, 2013; Hemming et al., 2013; Torbati, 2013). While it is too early to tell what impact declining neo-conservative influence will have on Iranian foreign policy, a moderating trend is clearly already apparent. Insofar as this study has demonstrated a negative association between counter-reformist influence in Iran and GPA, there is sufficient reason to expect that declining neo-conservative influence in republican political institutions and the restoration of some meaningful level of policy pragmatism will likely work to create those conditions favoring expanded cooperation with the Russian Federation. With policy authority in Russia potentially compromised by increasing levels of political pluralism, there is even greater reason to expect that low levels of affinity exhibited between Moscow and Tehran in recent years will, in turn, be replaced by expanding cooperation during the current and subsequent electoral cycles of each nation. Whether or not Iran’s predicted return to policy pragmatism will ultimately lead to a change in relations with the West cannot be determined at the time of writing. It is, however, important to note that the reduction of international sanctions resulting from such a scenario would certainly subject bilateral partnership to strong counter-pressures emanating from both renewed energy competition and predicted Iranian GDP growth. Based upon the above discussion, it is relatively apparent that present macroand micro-level conditions portend a return to bilateral cooperation in the near term that may be reminiscent of relations during the 1990s. This study has, however, demonstrated that bilateral relations remain highly sensitive to competition in the area of energy supply. While long-standing western sanctions have functioned to suppress this competition, recent efforts by Iran to develop natural gas export pipelines that could potentially serve downstream markets in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia may function to increase competition between the two nations over the longer term. When compounded by more recent moderating trends in Iranian politics that could potentially lead to reduced sanctions against Iran’s energy industry, these pipeline projects could serve as one of the leading threats to bilateral cooperation in the coming years. During a July 2011 meeting near the Iranian city of Assalouyeh located on the Persian Gulf in Bushehr province, oil ministers of Iran, Iraq, and Syria signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at constructing a $10 billion natural gas pipeline which would be used to deliver Iranian natural gas supplies from its

180

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South Pars field to buyers in Iraq and Syria, with future opportunities expected to serve Lebanon and also Europe via the Mediterranean (Hafidh & Faucon, 2011). Despite the fact that ongoing hostilities in the current Syrian crisis—and the outcome of this scenario—may function to restrict or collapse the further development of the Iran–Iraq–Syria pipeline, the project is presently moving forward, with Iran having signed a natural gas export contract with Iraq in July 2013 which will double Iran’s current level of gas exports (Hafidh, 2013). If the Syrian crisis should resolve in favor of the Assad regime—which presently supports Iran’s pipeline aspirations—it is reasonable to anticipate that Iran’s future pipeline and downstream market development in the Middle East and Europe will eventually serve to enhance the perception of bilateral competition and so negatively impact bilateral relations, despite contemporary Russian and Iranian cooperative efforts to stabilize the Assad regime. Adding to the precariousness of future bilateral relations are Iran’s simultaneous efforts to cultivate downstream natural gas markets in Pakistan and perhaps, eventually, even China and/or India. While negotiations related to this project have been ongoing for more than a decade, in March 2013 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari inaugurated the final construction phase (the Pakistani portion) of the $7.5 billion Iran–Pakistan pipeline project which they had previously agreed to during a May 23, 2009 meeting in Tehran (Blank, 2010; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 2013, March 11). Projected to deliver 21.5 million cubic meters per day of natural gas from Iran’s South Pars field to Pakistan beginning in 2014, the pipeline will run from Assalouyeh in Iran to the Pakistani city of Multan, passing through Khuzdar and with a spur also directed toward Karachi (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 2013, March 11). Although Kommersant, a Russian news daily, has reported that top officials in Moscow believe the Iran–Pakistan pipeline could have the beneficial effect of directing Iranian supplies away from Russia’s own European markets (as cited in Business Recorder, 2009), Chinese interest in extending the pipeline project into its own Xinjiang region—a natural market for Russian-controlled supplies—could be conversely anticipated to raise the prospects of bilateral competition between Moscow and Tehran in the coming years (Blank, 2010). Agreements reached between Iran and Pakistan in February and March 2010 guarantee that third-party nations in the future may participate in the pipeline project, thereby assuring Iran that the proposed Pakistani section of the pipeline could potentially be used to serve downstream markets in China and/or India (Blank, 2010). Insofar as Russian perceptions of an existing energy competition have been strongly associated with changes in bilateral political relations, Tehran’s ability to cultivate and open downstream gas markets in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia may reasonably be expected to place significant downward pressures on bilateral relations in the coming years. Although Iran’s ability to open European and Chinese markets may be significantly hampered by existing sanctions and political instability found along potential export corridors, watchers of the Russia–Iran relationship should pay close attention to Tehran’s energy overtures as well as to those

Conclusion

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conditions and actors which will either enhance or restrict such opportunities for further pipeline development. In conclusion, while history reminds us that the business of prediction in international relations is generally a precarious affair, this study has sought to restore efficacy in this important pursuit through its reliance upon a highly structured form of inquiry. If the quality of Russian–Iranian relations has proven itself, historically, to be wildly volatile, oscillating between poles of high and low levels of political affinity, so also has this study shown it to be a relationship that is amenable to a rational and scientific analysis. By substantively defining the nature of political association along three practical dimensions, and by empirically evaluating the relative impact of a specific set of changing macrolevel security conditions and micro-level developments in domestic politics, this study has brought increasing clarity to the subject of Russian–Iranian relations in the contemporary era. It is the hope of the author that this investigation will serve as a foundation for future discussions. While scholars and analysts may be compelled to agree or disagree with the conclusions reached—or the manner in which they were achieved—this study will be deemed successful if it functions to add structure to efforts aimed at analyzing relations between Moscow and Tehran, and if it inspires and contributes to debate. Explanation and prediction are inherently imperfect tasks, but their levels of imperfection may be much reduced if the participants are willing to engage in an organized and linear discussion.

Appendix

Table A.1 Gazprom shareholding controlled by the Russian Federation (%) Gazprom shareholding controlled by the Russian Federation 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

40.87 40.87 38.37 38.37 38.37 38.37 38.37 38.37 38.37 50.002 50.002 50.002 50.002 50.002 50.002 50.002 50.002 50.002

Source: Data for 1996–2007 retrieved from Gazprom corporate website during November 2010 at www.gazprom.com/investors/faq/. Data for 2013 retrieved from Gazprom corporate website at www. gazprom.com/investors/stock/. Because no change in Russian state shareholding is evident between 2007 and 2013, 2008–12 figures are inferred to be static.

Appendix 183 Table A.2 Trade in Conventional Weapons data, 1966–2013

1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

TCW

ANC

ANC z-score

5 5 5 1 2 2 1 2 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 5 2 2 7 5 7 2 7 5 7 7 5 7 7 7 7 6 7 4 5 7 6 4 4 5 5 4 4

5 5 5 0 2 1 0 1 0 0 1 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 2 1 8 6 14 1 8 5 10 8 6 8 10 11 10 7 8 4 6 8 7 4 4 5 6 4 –

0.195566804 0.195566804 0.195566804 –1.156144927 –0.615460235 –0.885802581 –1.156144927 –0.885802581 –1.156144927 –1.156144927 –0.885802581 –0.615460235 –0.615460235 –1.156144927 –1.156144927 –1.156144927 –1.156144927 –1.156144927 –1.156144927 –1.156144927 0.46590915 –0.615460235 –0.885802581 1.006593842 0.46590915 2.628647919 –0.885802581 1.006593842 0.195566804 1.547278534 1.006593842 0.46590915 1.006593842 1.547278534 1.81762088 1.547278534 0.736251496 1.006593842 –0.074775543 0.46590915 1.006593842 0.736251496 –0.074775543 –0.074775543 0.195566804 0.46590915 –0.074775543 0.195566804

Source: Arms transfers information is from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) “Arms Transfer Database.” Scores presented here are a product of author’s calculations based upon SIPRI information. SIPRI report was generated online on July 15, 2013 at: www.sipri.org/databases/armstransfers. Notes TCW = Trade in Conventional Weapons score (sub-component of GPA). ANC = Aggregate Number of Conventional Weapons contracts being both signed and delivered upon during a given year. ANC z-score represents the number of standard deviations an individual ANC score is either above or below the population mean (for the years 1996–2013). Coded annual TCW scores are determined based upon the coding scheme outlined in Table 3.2.

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Appendix

Table A.3 Economic utility of bilateral partnership with Iran to USSR/Russia (1981–2012) Year

% USSR/Russian world exports derived from trade with Iran (RUS_EU)

1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

0 0 0 0 0.238988172 0.196696898 0.385178052 0.402411043 0.361902579 0.603766995 0.805530555 0.646859364 2.280508182 0.232411097 0.321282118 0.448117355 0.542019926 0.684167854 0.574226794 0.611291842 1.082923572 0.701190797 1.003130825 1.137015963 0.806694415 0.649332436 0.838028097 0.725228662 0.970548934 0.898895637 0.659733923 0.361098034

Source: International Monetary Fund¸ Direction of Trade Statistics database. IMF variable identifier is TXG (goods, value of exports), reported in current US dollars. IMF Direction of Trade Statistics data accessed, July 2013. Notes Economic utility for Russia (RUS_EU) is represented as the percentage value of Russian global exports that are derived from trade with Iran.

Appendix 185 Table A.4 Economic utility of bilateral partnership with USSR/Russia to Iran (1981–2012) Year

% of Iranian world exports derived from trade with USSR/Russian Federation (IRN_EU)

1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.898309833 0.174298601 0.585858586 1.625850705 0.701127441 0.181969027 0.382319646 0.316993464 0.218391318 1.360114903 0.847690197 0.451735616 0.180588581 0.129132899 0.204144071 0.174806465 0.246597124 0.231786417 0.285488214 0.35556541 0.304659817 0.259266752 0.249592526 0.241519431 0.375020337

Source: International Monetary Fund¸ Direction of Trade Statistics database. IMF variable identifier is TXG (goods, value of exports), reported in current US dollars. IMF Direction of Trade Statistics data accessed, July 2013. Notes Economic utility for Iran (IRN_EU) is represented as the percentage of Iranian global exports that are derived from trade with USSR/Russia.

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Appendix

Table A.5 USSR/Russian exports to emerging and developing countries expressed as a percentage of total world exports, 1981–2012 Year

Exports to emerging and developing countries expressed as a percentage of “world” exports

1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

42.76781243 36.23286188 37.59499548 41.9402062 40.09926906 44.42564349 40.96061623 39.72915843 38.72861537 37.02655549 34.63961201 37.12016108 30.35198605 40.32613935 41.35549995 41.30228027 44.36860688 43.95879561 41.46393901 39.81538638 38.11820521 40.63365002 42.56897042 38.78317834 39.82648159 38.28860833 41.7517404 42.8434352 33.840652 32.13047324 33.94424877 34.59314378

Source: International Monetary Fund¸ Direction of Trade Statistics database. IMF variable identifier is TXG (goods, value of exports), reported in current US dollars. IMF Direction of Trade Statistics data accessed, July 2013.

Appendix 187 Table A.6 Similarity of Russian–Iranian security alliance portfolios (1966–2000) Year

S-coefficient for similarity of security alliance portfolios

1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000

–0.001782 –0.003569 –0.015058 –0.018037 –0.040492 –0.05753 –0.061212 –0.052328 –0.058831 –0.087077 –0.085446 –0.07107 –0.062786 –0.046442 0.192446 0.193659 0.16261 0.164474 0.18499 0.17343 0.183781 0.188909 0.193503 0.318804 –0.290398 –0.333074 0.56239 0.600773 0.547469 0.558103 0.574499 0.586866 0.614321 0.611608 0.609077

Source: Variable S = similarity of Russian–Iranian security alliance portfolios as calculated by EUGene software version 3.204 (Bennett and Stam, 2000, 2007). EUGene’s methodology for calculating S is attributed to Signorino & Ritter (1999) and is compiled on the basis of weighted regional data deriving from the following Correlates of War datasets: Formal Alliances (Bennett & Stam, 2007, p. 88; Correlates of War, 2003; Gibler, 2009; Singer & Small, 1966; Small & Singer, 1969; Gibler & Sarkees, 2002); and National Material Capabilities (Bennett & Stam, 2007, p. 88; Correlates of War, 2005; Singer, 1987; Singer, Bremmer, & Stuckey, 1972) datasets. EUGene software is available online at www.eugenesoftware.org/.

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Table A.7 Regional Magnitude of State Failure, 1992–2013 Regional Magnitude of State Failure (RMSF) 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

2.3125 2.125 1.59375 1.53125 1.5 1.4375 1.28125 0.8125 0.5625 0.78125 0.53125 0.71875 0.90625 0.875 0.90625 1 0.96875 1 0.90625 1.15625 1.1875 1.171875

Source: RMSF scores are based upon “revolutionary” and “ethnic” war event data obtained from the Centre for Systemic Peace’s Political Instability Taskforce (PITF) State Failure Problem Set (see Marshall, Gurr, & Harff, 2013) which can be downloaded at www.systemicpeace.org/inscr/inscr. htm. Notes RMSF scores are represented on a magnitude scale of 0–10. See Chapter 4 for RMSF computation.

Appendix 189 Table A.8 Effective Number of Parties in the Russian State Duma, 1992–2013 Effective Number of Parties in Russian State Duma (ENP) 1992 *1993 1994 *1995 1996 1997 1998 *1999 2000 2001 2002 *2003 2004 2005 2006 *2007 2008 2009 2010 *2011 2012 2013

5.702945001 5.702945001 5.459238427 5.215531854 5.271534442 5.327537031 5.38353962 5.439542208 4.929655636 4.419769064 3.909882492 3.39999592 3.029745782 2.659495644 2.289245506 1.918995368 2.139532522 2.360069677 2.580606832 2.801143987 3.040528119 3.300369879

Source: Parliamentary seat holding percentage data are obtained from the Russia Votes project (see References), a joint project of the Centre for the Study of Public Policy at the University of Strathclyde and the Levada Centre. Russia Votes data for 2007 and 2011 are derived from Russian Central Election Commission figures which are available at www.vybory.izbirkom.ru. ENP during election years is calculated by the author, using the Effective Number of Parties model developed in Laakso & Taagepera (1979). Data for 1992 are sourced from 1993. Data for non-election years between 1994 and 2011 are calculated by author on the basis of a prorating strategy. 2012 and 2013 data are calculated by applying the percentage change evident between 2010 and 2011 scores to 2011 and 2012 scores respectively. Election years are marked by asterisks.

190

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Table A.9 Seat holding percentages of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) in the Russian State Duma, 1992–2013

1992 *1993 1994 *1995 1996 1997 1998 *1999 2000 2001 2002 *2003 2004 2005 2006 *2007 2008 2009 2010 *2011 2012 2013

CPRF seat holding %

LDPR seat holding %

10.7 10.7 22.8 34.9 32.45 30 27.55 25.1 21.725 18.35 14.975 11.6 11.875 12.15 12.425 12.7 14.625 16.55 18.475 20.4 22.52558 24.87262

14.3 14.3 12.8 11.3 9.425 7.55 5.675 3.8 4.85 5.9 6.95 8 8.225 8.45 8.675 8.9 9.775 10.65 11.525 12.4 13.34143 14.35434

Sources: Parliamentary seat-holding percentage data are obtained from the Russia Votes project (see References), a joint project of the Centre for the Study of Public Policy at the University of Strathclyde and the Levada Centre. Russia Votes data for 2007 and 2011 are derived from Russian Central Election Commission figures which are available at www.vybory.izbirkom.ru. Data for 1992 are sourced from 1993. Data for non-election years between 1994 and 2011 are calculated by author on the basis of a prorating strategy. Data for 2012 and 2013 are calculated by applying the percentage change evident between 2010 and 2011 scores to 2011 and 2012 data respectively. Election years are marked by asterisks.

Appendix 191 Table A.10 Seat holding percentages of counter-reformists in the Iranian Majlis, 1992–2013 Counter-Reformist Influence in the Iranian Majlis (CRI) *1992 1993 1994 1995 *1996 1997 1998 1999 *2000 2001 2002 2003 *2004 2005 2006 2007 *2008 2009 2010 2011 *2012 2013

24.81481481 29.62962963 34.44444444 39.25925926 44.07407407 37.62452107 31.17496807 24.72541507 18.27586207 30.59001343 42.9041648 55.21831617 67.53246753 67.71831617 67.9041648 68.09001343 68.27586207 65.43103448 62.5862069 59.74137931 56.89655172 54.18719212

Sources: Parliamentary faction seat holding data for 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 Iranian elections are calculated by author based upon data obtained from Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) legislative election reports. Non-election years represent prorated amount of change between election years. Data for 2013are derived by applying percentage decrease evident between 2011 and 2012 to 2012 score. Election years are marked by asterisks. Iran IPU reports available online at www.ipu.org/parline-e/reports/2149_arc.htm. Faction seat holding data for 2008 are based upon reporting from the Canadian International Council (see Cainer, 2008), available online at www.opencanada.org/wpcontent/uploads/2011/05/II_vol. 5_no5.pdf. Data for 2012 are based upon reporting from IranPolitik (2012), available at www.iranpolitik.com/2012/05/07/guide-to-iranian-politics/iran-election-watch2012-main-principalist-groups-emerge-weak-majority/.

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Appendix

Table A.11 Annual scores for sub-components of General Political Association, 1966–2013

1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

TCW

ACND

CCSD

GPA 21-point GPA 3-year scale moving average

GPA Chapter 2 period averages

5 5 5 1 2 2 1 2 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 5 2 2 7 5 7 2 7 5 7 7 5 7 7 7 7 6 7 4 5 7 6 4 4 5 5 4 4

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 4 4 4 5 3 5 3.625 4.5 4.5 4.5 5.75 5.125 3.5 3.5 2.75 3 4.1 3.6 2.75 2.75 2.75 2.75 3.8 3.8 3.8

6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 7 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

12 12 12 8 9 9 8 9 8 8 9 9 9 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 12 9 9 17 15 17 13 16 16 16.625 18.5 16.5 12.5 13.75 13.125 11.5 10.5 10.75 8 10.1 11.6 9.75 7.75 7.75 8.75 9.8 8.8 8.8

13.4 13.4 13.4 13.4 13.4 16.025 16.025 16.025 16.025 16.025 13.475 13.475 13.475 13.475 13.475 10.19 10.19 10.19 10.19 10.19 8.76 8.76 8.76 8.76 8.76 8.8 8.8

12 10.66666667 9.666666667 8.666666667 8.666666667 8.666666667 8.333333333 8.333333333 8.333333333 8.666666667 9 8.666666667 8.333333333 8 8 8 8 8 9.333333333 9.666666667 10 11.66666667 13.66666667 16.33333333 15 15.33333333 15 16.20833333 17.04166667 17.20833333 15.83333333 14.25 13.125 12.79166667 11.70833333 10.91666667 9.75 9.616666667 9.9 10.48333333 9.7 8.416666667 8.083333333 8.766666667 9.116666667 9.133333333

Source: See sub-component figures (3.1, 3.2, 3.3) for complete data source references. Notes Abbreviations: TCW = Annual Trade in Conventional Weapons; ACND = Annual Cooperation in Nuclear Development; CCSD = Cooperation in Caspian Sea Delimitation; GPA = General Political Association (GPA represents sum of all three underlying factors on a 21-point scale).

Appendix Report 1

Coding scheme for Annual Cooperation in Nuclear Development (ACND) event data The following coding scheme is applied to event data gathered and reported in Appendix Report 2, in order to assign ordinal values to instances of cooperation or non-cooperation which have been observed between the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran during a given year.

I Strong cooperation (scale value = 7) •

The Russian Federation provides Iran with critical diplomatic protection in international forums in regard to illegal proliferation, i.e., by actively blocking attempts by the international community to address proliferation concerns or to impose a sanctions regime. Public statements made by presidential administrations, government ministries, or officials speaking on behalf of such entities in regard to opposing sanctions will also be considered critical diplomatic protection insofar as such comments will be taken as a basis for future action in relevant international forums.

II Moderate cooperation (scale value = 6) •

The Russian Federation establishes domestic policy, directives, and legislation which could directly destabilize its general commitment to nonproliferation (including appointment of ministers associated with proliferation risks). This also covers firms engaged in the sale of restricted technologies. i The scale value can be increased by half a point if Russia abstains from voting on measures which could lead to international sanctions.

III Basic cooperation (scale value = 5) •

The Russian Federation is officially committed to aiding Iranian efforts to develop a distinctly civilian nuclear program.

194

Appendix Report 1 i

The scale value can be increased by half a point if high-ranking officials/elites are engaged in—or can be reasonably suspected of involvement in—activities which arguably increase the likelihood of the proliferation of restricted technologies to Iran.

IV Tenuous cooperation/non-cooperation (scale value = 4) •

Rhetorical or informal indications of cooperation/non-cooperation.

V Basic non-cooperation (scale value = 3) •

The Russian Federation sponsors efforts to delay development of Iranian civilian nuclear program (e.g., by work slow-downs). i The scale value can be decreased by half a point if high-ranking officials/elites are engaged in activities decreasing the likelihood of the proliferation of restricted technologies to Iran.

VI Moderate non-cooperation (scale value = 2) •

The Russian Federation establishes domestic policy, directives, or legislation which could directly increase control over proliferation (including appointment of ministers associated with non-proliferation activities). i The scale value can be decreased by half a point if Russia abstains from voting on measures that could lead to international sanctions.

VII Strong non-cooperation (scale value = 1) • •

The Russian Federation supports the international community in the imposition of sanctions or international efforts to control proliferation. The Russian Federation takes decisive steps to end all cooperation in the nuclear field (including military action). i Public statements made by presidential administrations, government ministries, or officials speaking on behalf of such entities in regard to supporting sanctions will also be considered as critical support for the international community insofar as such comments will be taken as a basis for future action in relevant international forums.

Appendix Report 2

Coded event data for GPA sub-component: Annual Cooperation in Nuclear Development (ACND) An ACND score represents the average of all event coding scores reported for a given year. Events, coded event scores, and sources for event data are listed in the following report. For event coding guidelines refer to Appendix Report 1. For a complete reference list for source citations, please refer to the References section.

1987 ACND score: 1 •

Event 1 data • Date: non-specific • Event: no cooperation or signs of cooperation in the nuclear field. • Source: author • Event coding score: 1

1988 ACND score: 1 •

Event 1 data • Date: non-specific • Event: no cooperation or signs of cooperation in the nuclear field. • Source: author • Event coding score: 1

1989 ACND score: 4 •

Event 1 data • Date: June 1989 • Event: An Iranian delegation to the USSR explored a long-term program on political, economic, and security cooperation. According to Parker, former MinAtom Director Viktor Mikhaylov indicated that these discussions produced an agreement on peaceful nuclear

196

Appendix Report 2



cooperation which would pave the way for later agreements leading to construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 31) Event coding score: 4

1990 ACND score: 4 •

Event 1 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Russia and Iran made rhetorical commitments to cooperation in the development of nuclear power. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 31) • Event coding score: 4

1991 ACND score: 4 •

Event 1 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Russia and Iran made rhetorical commitments to cooperation in the development of nuclear power. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 31) • Event coding score: 4

1992 ACND score: 5 •

Event 1 data • Date: August 1992 • Event: The two nations signed agreements on peaceful nuclear cooperation and construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, indicating cooperation of a civilian nature. • Source: Orlov and Vinnikov (2005, p. 50); Parker (2009, p. 113) • Event coding score: 5

1993 ACND score: 3 •



Event 1 data • Date: March 1993 • Event: Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev signed nuclear cooperation accords with Iran and discussed sale of two 440 megawatt reactors. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 113) • Event coding score: 5 Event 2 data • Date: March 1993 • Event: Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev first raised the idea of the Gore–Chernomyrdin Commission in Washington.

Appendix Report 2 197 •

• Source: Parker (2009, p. 112) Event coding score: 1

1994 ACND score: 5 •

Event 1 data • Date: non-Specific • Event: Russia and Iran were still operating under the accords of 1992 and 1993, thereby indicating continuation of peaceful or civilian nuclear cooperation. • Source: Orlov and Vinnikov (2005, p. 50); Parker (2009, p. 113) • Event coding score: 5

1995 ACND score: 3.625 •





Event 1 data • Date: January 1995 • Event: Director of Ministry of Atomic Energy Viktor Mikhaylov signed a contract with the IAEO (Iran) for developing the Bushehr nuclear power plant in addition to secret deals regarding the export of dual-use technology, i.e., technology with potential military applications. Specifically, the secret deal sought to provide Iran with: 2000 tons of uranium; construction agreement on uranium storage facilities, a centrifuge plant, and small research reactors. • Source: Orlov and Vinnikov (2005, pp. 50–2; Parker (2009, pp. 114–17) • Event coding score: 5.5 Event 2 data • Date: May 1995 • Event: The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs learned of Mikhaylov’s secret dealings and broke off the non-Bushehr agreements prior to implementation. • Source: Orlov and Vinnikov (2005, p. 52) • Event coding score: 2 Event 3 data • Date: following May 1995 • Event: Although Parker (2009) indicates that President Boris Yeltsin had been unaware of MinAtom Director Viktor Mikhaylov’s secret negotiations with the IAEO in January, the President can be assumed to have been aware of them upon the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ investigation into them that May. President Yeltsin’s decision to retain Mikhaylov as MinAtom director in the wake of these findings indicate support for a de facto domestic policy that was in violation of Russia’s nuclear non-proliferation commitments. • Source: This is the author’s own interpretation, but is based upon

198



Appendix Report 2 discussions in Parker (2009, p. 116); see also Orlov and Vinnikov (2005, p. 52) • Event coding score: 6 Event 4 data • Date: December 1995 • Event: Russia joined the Missile Technology Control Regime, thereby indicating an international commitment to non-proliferation. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 117) • Event coding score: 1

1996 ACND score: 4.5 •





Event 1 data • Date: Unspecified • Event: The Russian firm NIKIET concluded contract with the IAEO for a feasibility study pertaining to construction of a heavy water production facility; potential military application. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 140 citing a Duma 2001 Commission on Combating Corruption) • Event coding score: 6 Event 2 data • Date: Non-specific • Event: While Mikhaylov’s illicit dealings were cancelled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the continued tenure of a known proliferator as the director of MinAtom can reasonably be viewed as a destabilizing force in Russia’s non-proliferation commitments. • Source: author’s interpretation of data. • Event coding score: 5.5 Event 3 data • Date: August 1996 • Event: Yeltsin signed a presidential decree aimed at curbing proliferation of dual-use technology. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 117) • Event coding score: 2

1997 ACND score: 4.5 •

Event 1 data • Date: non-specific • Event: While Mikhaylov’s illicit dealings were cancelled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the continued tenure of a known proliferator as the director of MinAtom can reasonably be viewed as a destabilizing force in Russia’s non-proliferation commitments. • Source: author’s interpretation of data • Event coding score: 5.5

Appendix Report 2 199 •



Event 2 data • Date: August 1997 • Event: Russian commercial entities were identified by Washington officials as being engaged in the sale of restricted nuclear and missilerelated technology. • Source: Katzman (1998, p. 2); Parker (2009, p. 121) • Event coding score: 6 Event 3 data • Date: August 1997 • Event: Russia worked with the U.S. to uncover and disrupt nuclear and missile proliferation activities. • Source: Katzman (1998, p. 2); Parker (2009, p. 121) • Event coding score: 2

1998 ACND score: 4.5 •





Event 1 data • Dates: January 1998; March 1998; May 1998; July 1998 • Event: In January, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin signed a directive designed to “close loopholes in Russian anti-proliferation legislation” (Parker, 2009, p. 122). In March, Yeltsin appointed Andrey Kokoshin as secretary of the Security Council; Parker indicates that Kokoshin would play a substantial role in developing export controls to reduce flows of restricted technology to Iran (Parker, 2009, p. 120). In May, the Russian government issued a directive establishing export controls in firms operating in sensitive technology fields (Katzman, 1998, p. 2); Vladimir Putin was appointed Director of the FSB in order “to rein in that agency’s reported collusion in the illicit transfer of dualuse technology and parts to Iran” (Parker, 2009, p. 130). • Source: Katzman (1998, p. 2); Parker (2009, p. 120, 122, 134) • Event coding score: 2 Event 2 data • Date: April 1998 • Event: An attempted shipment of steel alloys for missile fuel tanks to Iran via Azerbaijan was made, the FSB was implicated in the shipment. Iranian agents are also reported by Parker to have begun an aggressive campaign to acquire restricted technologies from Russian firms (Parker (2009, p. 121) • Source: Parker (2009, p. 121, 133) • Event coding score: 6 Event 3 Data • Date: through May 1998 • Event: While Mikhaylov’s illicit dealings were cancelled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the continued tenure of a known proliferator as the director of MinAtom can reasonably be viewed as a destabilizing

200

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force in Russia’s non-proliferation commitments. In May 1998, President Yeltsin appointed Viktor Adamov to be the director of MinAtom. Adamov had been the director of the firm NIKIET which in 1999 would be held to account for suspected assistance in aiding Iranian enrichment activities between 1992 and 1998. The appointment of a likely known proliferator to this position may reasonably be viewed as a challenge to Russia’s non-proliferation commitments. Parker provides extensive discussion on Adamov’s role in proliferation activities while at NIKIET based upon 1999 investigations (see Parker, 2009, pp. 137–40) • Source: Parker (2009, pp. 137–40) Event coding score: 5.5

1999 ACND score: 5.75 •



Event 1 data • Date: unspecified • Event: Yeltsin supported Adamov’s tenure as head of NIKIET despite substantial indications in 1999 that Adamov had been previously engaged in known illicit nuclear proliferation activities while head of NIKIET in 1999. This implied support could reasonably be identified as a de facto domestic policy aimed at undercutting Russian nuclear nonproliferation activities. • Source: Parker (2009, pp. 137–40) • Event coding score: 6 Event 2 data • Date: unspecified • Event: Parker (2009) indicates that media articles in 1999 reported that Viktor Adamov, now head of MinAtom, had been engaged in proliferation activities to Iran as recently as 1998. The recent nature of these events along with Adamov’s posting provide a reasonable amount of suspicion that Adamov was likely engaged in continuing support for nuclear proliferation. • Source: Parker (2009, pp. 139–40) • Event coding score: 5.5

2000 ACND score: 5.125 •

Event 1 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Elected president, Putin continued to sanction Adamov’s ongoing tenure as director of MinAtom in spite of 1999 allegations that he had recently been engaged in proliferation activities. This implied support can reasonably be identified as a de facto domestic policy aimed at undercutting Russian nuclear non-proliferation activities. • Source: author’s interpretation • Event coding score: 6

Appendix Report 2 201 •





Event 2 data • Date: February 2000; September 2000; c. December 2000 • Event: In February, the federal government shut down courses for Iranian students at the Baltic State Technical University in St. Petersburg (Parker, 2009, p. 140). In September, Parker reports that the Kremlin decided to “postpone and review the sale to Iran of laser technology for nuclear isotope separation” (Parker, 2009, p. 140). By year’s end Parker indicates that the prosecutor general would open a criminal investigation into Adamov’s role in the export of restricted nuclear technology to Iran (Parker, 2009, p. 140). • Source: Parker (2009, p. 140) • Event coding score: 2 Event 3 data • Date: May 2000 • Event: Putin amended Yeltsin’s 1992 decree On Control Over the Export of Nuclear Materials, Equipment, and Technologies from the Russian Federation. According to Parker’s account, this move effectively freed up MinAtom to negotiate with Iran over the construction of additional nuclear power facilities. While not a move overtly leading to proliferation of restricted technologies, the easing of nuclear controls by the President was likely to lead to further destabilization of Russia’s non-proliferation commitments. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 138) • Event coding score: 5.5 Event 4 data • Date: November 2000 • Event: Russia withdrew from the Gore–Chernomyrdin agreement which had been a tangible sign of its commitment to non-proliferation. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 143) • Event coding score: 7

2001 ACND score: 3.5 •



Event 1 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Cooperation in the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant continued. This entry is added simply to convey the ongoing participation in civilian nuclear power development which existed at a time when reports of trade in restricted technologies appeared to be on the decline. Combined with Event 2 data, cooperation appeared to have returned to largely civilian operations with an increasing emphasis upon export controls over restricted technology. • Source: non-specific source—author’s determination • Event coding score: 5 Event 2 data

202

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Date: January 2001; March 2001 Event: Putin established an export control commission in January. In March, he installed Aleksandr Rumyantsev as head of MinAtom—no information has been provided indicating that Rumyantsev would continue the policies of former MinAtom directors or that he was a proponent of nuclear proliferation to Iran. Although a staunch defender of continued cooperation over Bushehr, Rumyantsev’s tenure appears associated with a diminishing level of illicit nuclear proliferation. • Source: Parker (2009, pp. 140–1) Event coding score: 2

2002 ACND score: 3.5 •







Event 1 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Cooperation in the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant continued. This entry is added simply to convey the ongoing participation in civilian nuclear power development which existed at a time when reports of trade in restricted technologies appeared to be on the decline. Combined with Event 2 data, cooperation appeared to have returned to largely civilian operations with an increasing emphasis upon export controls over restricted technology. • Source: non-specific source—author’s determination • Event coding score: 5 Event 2 Data • Date: non-specific • Event: Orlov and Vinnikov indicate that between 2002 and 2003 construction at the Bushehr complex may have been strategically slowed down in response to Iran’s February disclosure of its secret uranium enrichment program being conducted at the Natanz facility. • Source: Orlov & Vinnikov(2005, p. 55) • Event coding score: 3 Event 3 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Aleksandr Rumyantsev continued as director of MinAtom, with positive implications for trade in restricted technologies. • Source: author’s determination based upon collateral event data • Event coding score: 2 Event 4 data • Date: December 2002 • Event: MinAtom Director Mikhaylov in Tehran signed an agreement calling for a feasibility study relating to the possibility of a second power plant at the Bushehr complex. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 215) • Event coding score: 4

Appendix Report 2 203

2003 ACND score: 2.75 •







Event 1 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Cooperation in the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant continued. This entry is added simply to convey the ongoing participation in civilian nuclear power development which existed at a time when reports of trade in restricted technologies appeared to be on the decline. Combined with Event 2 data, cooperation appeared to have returned to largely civilian operations with an increasing emphasis upon export controls over restricted technology. • Source: non-specific source—author’s determination • Event coding score: 5 Event 2 Data • Date: non-specific • Event: Orlov and Vinnikov indicate that between 2002 and 2003 construction at the Bushehr complex may have been strategically slowed down in response to Iran’s February disclosure of its secret uranium enrichment program being conducted at the Natanz facility. • Source: Orlov and Vinnikov (2005, p. 55) • Event coding score: 3 Event 3 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Aleksandr Rumyantsev continued as director of MinAtom with positive implications for trade in restricted technologies. • Source: author’s determination based upon collateral event data • Event coding score: 2 Event 4 data • Date: June 2003 • Event: At the G-8 Summit in Evian, France, President Putin approved the summit’s declaration on non-proliferation which contained specific provisions urging Iran to sign and implement IAEA protocols. • Source: Orlov and Vinnikov (2005, p. 55); Parker (2009, p. 220) • Event coding score: 1

2004 ACND score: 3 •

Event 1 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Cooperation in the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant continued. This entry is added simply to convey the ongoing participation in civilian nuclear power development which existed at a time when reports of trade in restricted technologies appeared to be on the decline. • Source: non-specific source—author’s determination

204 •





Appendix Report 2 • Event coding score: 5 Event 2 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Aleksandr Rumyantsev continued as Director of MinAtom with positive implications for trade in restricted technologies. • Source: author’s determination based upon collateral event data • Event coding score: 2 Event 3 data • Date: June 2004 • Event: At the G-8 Summit at Sea Island, Georgia, Russia endorsed the G-8 declaration aimed at “ending nuclear fuel cycle cooperation with states that violate their nuclear non-proliferation and IAEA safeguard obligations” (Orlov and Vinnikov, 2005, p. 55). This can be assumed as a direct reference to Iran because Tehran had acknowledged importing centrifuge components in May (Parker, 2009, p. 254). • Source: Orlov and Vinnikov (2005, p. 55); Parker (2009, p. 254) • Event coding score: 1 Event 4 data • Date: December 2004 • Event: Russia and Iran launched discussions on construction of potentially seven additional nuclear power plants. • Source: Orlov and Vinnikov (2005, pp. 60–1) • Event coding score: 4

2005 ACND score: 4.1 •





Event 1 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Cooperation in the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant continued. This entry is added simply to convey the ongoing participation in civilian nuclear power development which existed at a time when reports of trade in restricted technologies appeared to be on the decline. • Source: non-specific source—author’s determination • Event coding score: 5 Event 2 data • Date: February 2005 • Event: Russia and Iran signed a spent fuel agreement after Iran committed to Director Rumyantsev to resuspend conversion and enrichment activities. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 255) • Event coding score: 4 Event 3 data • Date: February 2005 • Event: Following Iran’s commitment to suspending enrichment

Appendix Report 2 205





activities in February, Russia blocked U.S. calls for sanctions and prevented the issue from going to the UNSC. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 256) • Event coding score: 7 Event 4 data • Date: November 2005 • Event: President Putin appointed Sergey Kiriyenko to the directorship of RosAtom (formerly MinAtom). Collateral data provided by Parker indicates that Kiriyenko would continue cooperation in civilian nuclear development, but would remain a supporter of nuclear non-proliferation protocols (see next event data entry). • Source: Parker (2009, p. 120, 266) • Event coding score: 1.5 (score of 2 minus 0.5) Event 5 data • Date: following November 2005 • Event: Parker indicates that new Director of RosAtom Sergey Kiriyenko appeared to slow down the Bushehr construction in the wake of Iran’s August announcement that it would cease to comply with its temporary pledge to suspend development of its nuclear fuel cycle program. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 120, 245) • Event coding score: 3

2006 ACND score: 3.6 •





Event 1 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Based upon Parker’s account, it is reasonable to assume that Director Kiriyenko’s work slow-down at Bushehr was still in effect during 2006. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 266) • Event coding score: 3 Event 2 data • Date: non-specific • Event: The tenure of Sergey Kiriyenko as director of RosAtom continued. Collateral data provided by Parker indicate that Kiriyenko would continue cooperation in civilian nuclear development, but would remain a supporter of nuclear non-proliferation protocols. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 120, 266) • Event coding score: 2 Event 3 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Cooperation in the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant continued. This entry is added simply to convey the ongoing participation in civilian nuclear power development which existed at a time

206





Appendix Report 2 when reports of trade in restricted technologies appeared to be on the decline. • Source: non-specific source—author’s determination • Event coding score: 5 Event 4 data • Date: February, July, December 2006 • Event: In February Russia voted in the IAEA board of governors to send the IAEA Director to the UNSC. In July the UNSC adopted Resolution 1696 and in December Resolution 1737. The December Resolution specifically called for enacting the first round of sanctions against Iran for its violation of IAEA protocols. • Source: Parker (2009, pp. 250, 261, 270, 301) • Event coding score: 1 Event 5 data • Date: March 2006 • Event: Russia opposed the option of international sanctions in the UN P5+1 forum. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 263) • Event coding score: 7

2007 ACND score: 2.75 •





Event 1 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Cooperation in the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant continued. This entry is added simply to convey the ongoing participation in civilian nuclear power development which existed at a time when reports of trade in restricted technologies appeared to be on the decline. • Source: non-specific source—author’s determination • Event coding score: 5 Event 2 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Based upon Parker’s account it is reasonable to assume that Director Kiriyenko’s work slow-down at Bushehr was still in effect during 2007. Note, however, that Russia began nuclear fuel deliveries in December 2007. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 303) • Event coding score: 3 Event 3 data • Date: non-specific • Event: The tenure of Sergey Kiriyenko as director of RosAtom continued). Collateral data provided by Parker indicate that Kiriyenko would continue cooperation in civilian nuclear development, but would remain a supporter of nuclear non-proliferation protocols.

Appendix Report 2 207



• Source: Parker (2009, p. 120, 266) • Event coding score: 2 Event 4 data • Date: March 2007 • Event: Russia supported UNSC Resolution 1747 which was intended to broaden sanctions against Iran. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 302) • Event coding score: 1

2008 ACND score: 2.75 •







Event 1 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Cooperation in the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant continued. This entry is added simply to convey the ongoing participation in civilian nuclear power development which existed at a time when reports of trade in restricted technologies appeared to be on the decline. • Source: non-specific source—author’s determination • Event coding score: 5 Event 2 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Based upon Parker’s account, it is reasonable to assume that Director Kiriyenko’s work slow-down at Bushehr was still in effect during 2008. Note, however, that Russia began nuclear fuel deliveries in December 2007. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 303) • Event coding score: 3 Event 3 data • Date: non-specific • Event: The tenure of Sergey Kiriyenko as director of RosAtom continued. Collateral data provided by Parker indicate that Kiriyenko would continue cooperation in civilian nuclear development, but would remain a supporter of nuclear non-proliferation protocols. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 120 & 266) • Event coding score: 2 Event 4 Data • Date: March 2008 • Event: Russia supported UNSC Resolution 1803 which expanded sanctions against Iran. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 309) • Event coding score: 1

208

Appendix Report 2

2009 ACND score: 2.75 •







Event 1 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Cooperation in the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant continued. This entry is added simply to convey the ongoing participation in civilian nuclear power development which existed at a time when reports of trade in restricted technologies appeared to be on the decline. • Source: non-specific source—author’s determination • Event coding score: 5 Event 2 data • Date: non-specific • Event: The work slow-down at the Bushehr project is suspected to have lasted through the project’s 2010 completion, based upon Makarova and Kevorkova (2010 report) • Source: Makarova and Kevorkova (2010) • Event coding score: 3 Event 3 Data • Date: Non-specifiic • Event: Ongoing tenure of Sergey Kiriyenko as Director of ROSATOM (formerly MINATOM). Collateral data provided by Parker (2009) indicates that Kiriyenko would continue cooperation in civilian nuclear development, but would remain a supporter of nuclear non-proliferation protocols. • Source: Parker (2009, p. 120, 266) • Event coding score: 2 Event 4 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Successive rounds of UNSC sanctions against Iran presently in effect; this event has been added at the author’s discretion in order to account for Russian Federation’s present commitment to curbing Iranian efforts to develop a nuclear fuel cycle. • Source: author • Event coding score: 1

2010 ACND score: 2.75 •

Event 1 data • Date: non-specific • Event: Cooperation in the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant continued. This entry is added simply to convey the ongoing participation in civilian nuclear power development which existed at a time when reports of trade in restricted technologies appeared to be on the decline. • Source: non-specific source—author’s determination

Appendix Report 2 209 •





• Event coding score: 5 Event 2 data • Date: non-specific • Event: The work slow-down at the Bushehr project is suspected to have lasted through the project’s 2010 completion based upon Makarova and Kevorkova (2010). • Source: Makarova and Kevorkova (2010) • Event coding score: 3 Event 3 data • Date: non-specific • Event: The tenure of Sergey Kiriyenko as director of RosAtom continued. Collateral data provided by Parker indicate that Kiriyenko would continue cooperation in civilian nuclear development, but would remain a supporter of nuclear non-proliferation protocols. • Source: Parker (2009, pp. 120, 266) • Event coding score: 2 Event 4 data • Date: June 2010 • Event: The UNSC adopted resolution 1929 which calls for expanding sanctions against Iran to include sanctions against the sale or transfer of military technology to the Islamic Republic. • Source: UNBISNET website • Event coding score: 1

2011 ACND score: 3.8 •





Event 1 data • Date: non-specifiic • Event: The tenure of Sergey Kiriyenko as director of RosAtom continued. Collateral data provided by Parker indicate that Kiriyenko would continue cooperation in civilian nuclear development, but would remain a supporter of nuclear non-proliferation protocols. • Source: Parker (2009, pp. 120, 266) • Event coding score: 2 Event 2 • Date: non-specific • Event: Successive rounds of UNSC sanctions against Iran presently in effect; the event has been added at the author’s discretion in order to account for sanctions pressure that was already in effect—in spite of Russian denials that it would support future rounds of sanctions. • Source: author • Event coding score: 1 Event 3 • Date: August 2011 • Event: The Bushehr project was completed. Bushehr officially became

210





Appendix Report 2 a nuclear reactor on August 21, 2011 as nuclear fuel rods were loaded into the reactor for the first time. • Source: Makarova and Kevorkova (2010) • Event coding score: 5 Event 4 • Date: November 2011 • Event: Russia and Iran engaged in discussions about the possible construction of additional nuclear reactors. • Source: Faulconbridge and Gutterman (2011) • Event coding score: 4 Event 5 • Date: November 2011 • Event: The Russian Foreign Ministry indicated publicly that Russia would oppose any sanctions in response to the November 2011 IAEA report alleging that Iran had likely had a nuclear weapons program dating back to 2003. Russian officials indicated that any further rounds of sanctions would be viewed as intending regime change and that regime change was “unacceptable.” • Source: Interfax report cited in Gutterman (2011) • Event coding score: 7

2012 ACND score: 3.8 •



• •

Event 1 data • Date: non-specifiic • Event: The tenure of Sergey Kiriyenko as director of RosAtom continued. Collateral data provided by Parker indicate that Kiriyenko would continue cooperation in civilian nuclear development, but would remain a supporter of nuclear non-proliferation protocols. • Source: Parker (2009, pp. 120, 266) • Event coding score: 2 Event 2 • Date: non-specific • Event: Successive rounds of UNSC sanctions against Iran presently in effect; the event has been added at the author’s discretion in order to account for sanctions pressure that was already in effect—in spite of Russian denials that it would support future rounds of sanctions. • Source: author Event coding score: 1 Event 3 • Date: non-specific, ongoing • Event: Russia via RosAtom and Atomstroyexport were still in control of operations at the Bushehr nuclear power plant, thereby indicating explicit support for civilian nuclear development. Control was anticipated to transfer to Iran during 2013.

Appendix Report 2 211 •





Source: Atomstroyexport website; Gutterman (2013); Tehran Times (2012) • Event coding score: 5 Event 4 • Date: June 2012 • Event: President Putin met with President Ahmadinejad and expressed support for the Iranian civilian nuclear program while affirming Moscow’s belief in Iranian statements that it was not seeking a weaponized program. • Source: Bridge (2012) • Event coding score: 4 Event 5 • Date: June 2012 • Event: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov affirmed that Russia would not support additional rounds of sanctions. • Source: Bridge (2012) • Event coding score: 7

2013 ACND score: 3.8 •





Event 1 data • Date: non-specific • Event: The tenure of Sergey Kiriyenko as director of RosAtom continued. Collateral data provided by Parker indicate that Kiriyenko would continue cooperation in civilian nuclear development, but would remain a supporter of nuclear non-proliferation protocols. • Source: Parker (2009, pp. 120, 266) • Event coding score: 2 Event 2 • Date: non-specific • Event: Successive rounds of UNSC sanctions against Iran presently in effect; the event has been added at the author’s discretion in order to account for sanctions pressure that was already in effect—in spite of Russian denials that it would support future rounds of sanctions. • Source: author • Event coding score: 1 Event 3 • Date: non-specific, ongoing • Event: Russia via RosAtom and Atomstroyexport was still in control of operations at the Bushehr nuclear power plant, thereby indicating explicit support for civilian nuclear development. Control was anticipated to transfer to Iran during 2013. • Source: Atomstroyexport website; Gutterman (2013); Tehran Times (2012) • Event coding score: 5

212 •



Appendix Report 2 Event 4 • Date: July 2013 • Event: In a presidential summit in Moscow, outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad expressed Tehran’s desire to build additional nuclear reactors and to deepen collaboration with RosAtom. • Source: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (2013, July 2) • Event coding score: 4 Event 5 • Date: July 2013 • Event: Russia’s Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations affirmed that Russia would not support additional rounds of sanctions; Russia (in cooperation with China) used its committee assignment to block the UNSC Iran Sanctions Committee report calling for additional sanctions based upon Iranian export of arms throughout the region and missile tests in 2012 violating UNSC protocols. • Source: Charbonneau (2013); Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (2013) • Event coding score: 7

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Index

Page numbers in italics denote tables, those in bold denote figures. Abbasi, Fereydoon 178 Adamov, Yevgeny 25, 110–12, 115 Afghanistan: Iranian involvement in 129–30; refugees 15, 71–2; Soviet invasion of 15; state failure 69–73, 80, 92–3, 170; United Front 130, 135 Ahmadinejad, Mahmoud 35–6, 40, 42, 137, 139, 143–6, 149–50, 156–8, 163, 177, 180 Al-Assad, Bashar 39, 44–5, 180; see also Syria Al-Bakr, Ahmed Hasan 14 Al-Qaeda 70 Aliyev, Heydar 30 Anglo-Persian Treaty 10 Annual Cooperation in Nuclear Development 51–3, 52, 192 Arjomand, Said Amir 128–9, 131, 133–4, 137–41, 145, 147, 157 Armenia: relations with Iran 129 Aron, Leon 104–5 Assembly of Militant Clerics 155; see also Iranian political factions Atomstroyexport 51 Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan International Operating Company 114; Caspian Sea delimitation 29, 33, 44, 53–6, 73, 114–15; energy relations with Russia 32, 73, 113–14; relations with Iran 129; State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic 113 Bajoria, J. 147 Basij Militia 6, 128, 144–5, 149, 163–4, 172 Bennett, D.S. 64 Birch, Sarah 102

Birgerson, Susanne M. 95 Bridge, R. 51 British Petroleum 83, 87 Bruno, G. 147 Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce 64 Bushehr nuclear power plant 19–20, 34, 42–3, 110–11, 114 Cainer, Oren 157 Campbell, D.T. 62 Canadian International Council 155, 157 Caspian Sea: Astara–Gasanguly line 18; condominium approach to resource utilization 18, 22, 26–9, 44, 53–6, 114; delimitation 3–4, 8–9, 18, 21, 22, 24, 26–32, 36, 41, 44, 45, 47–58, 55–6, 57, 67, 73, 90, 112, 114–15, 192; equal shares division 28–30, 55; modified median line delimitation 26–7, 53–6, 114; see also Cooperation in Caspian Sea Delimitation Center for Strategic and International Studies 42 Center for Systemic Peace 71, 80; see also Political Instability Taskforce Central Asian natural gas alliance 31–2, 74 Central Treaty Organization 12 Charbonneau, L. 51 Chechnya 70, 72–3, 117; see also Kadyrov regime Chernomyrdin, Viktor 22–4, 103, 107, 112–15 Chernyshev, Albert 68 Clinton, Hillary 42 Clinton, William J. 27 Communist Party of the Russian Federation 96, 98, 102–3, 106, 115, 117,

Index 225 119–20; influence of 153–4, 159, 165, 169, 172, 175, 190; see also Russian political parties Communist Party of the Soviet Union 97, 99–100; see also Russian political parties Congressional Research Service 24 Cooperation in Caspian Sea Delimitation 53–7, 55–6, 57, 192 Correlates of War project 64, 80, 81 Council on Foreign Relations, The 145, 147 Counter-Reformist Influence 154–6, 159, 162–6, 162¸163–4, 164, 169–70, 171, 191 Defense Intelligence Agency 70 Effective Number of Parties (Russian Duma) 151–3, 158–62, 159, 160, 161, 165–6, 168, 170, 171, 175–6, 189 Eggert, Konstantin 108 ElBaradei, Mohamed 33, 35 European Union: energy dependence upon Russia 32; relations with Iran 34–6, 42, 147, 178 Executives/Servants of the Construction of Iran, The 133, 156; see also Iranian political factions Expected Utility and Data Management Program 64 Fair Russia 119; see also Russian political parties Fatherland—All Russia 109, 112, 117–18; see also Russian political parties Faulconbridge, G. 51 Fiske, D.W. 62 Freedman, Robert O. 68, 95 G-8 summit 33–4 Gas Exporting Countries Forum 42 Gatilov, Gennady 41 Gazprom 22, 29, 31–2, 74, 113 General Political Association 3–4, 6, 8; measurement of 47–8, 57–9, 58; evaluating utility of 59–65; and domestic politics 158–66; and national security calculations 84–94 Ghafouri, Mahmoud 22, 54–7 Goldman, Marshall 113 Gorbachev, Mikhail 17, 97, 99 Gore–Chernomyrdin Commission 20–1, 24, 26, 38, 52, 104

Grant, Thomas D. 70 Gulf Cooperation Council 131 Gurr, T.R. 152 Gutterman, Steve 41, 51 Hiro, Dilip 16 Hughes, James 70 Human Rights Watch 130, 176 Inter-Parliamentary Union 142, 155–8 International Atomic Energy Agency 33–5, 40, 147, 179 International Monetary Fund 60, 62, 174 Iran: Arak facility 33; Assembly of Experts 127; Atomic Energy Organization 20, 178; Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants’ Affairs 71–2; and China 35, 40, 43, 180; constitutional amendments 121, 123, 125–6, 131, 140; Counter-Reformists 133, 154–8, 155; Defense Industries Organization 147–8; developmental state 123, 128; education and civil society 129; energy security 33; factionalism 122–4 (see also Iranian political factions); Guardian Council 126–7, 134, 140–4, 154; Interior Ministry 126–7, 142–3, 154; and Iraq 14–15, 17, 20, 72, 123, 127–8, 179–80; Iranian Student’s News Agency 143; Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Corporation 147; Majlis 17, 24, 126–7, 133–4, 141–5, 147, 154–9, 162–4, 171, 177; Maslahat/Expediency Council 140–2, 147; Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics 128; Natanz facility 33–5, 37; national power relative to NATO 68–9, 77–9, 79, 84–8, 84, 85–6, 90–1, 169, 170, 171, 174–5; natural gas production 83; parliamentary elections 126–7, 133, 139–40, 142–5, 147, 154–8, 176–7; presidential authority 126; presidential elections 134–5, 139, 144–5, 176–7; relations with Arab Gulf nations 129, 131, 135; sanctions 6, 27, 33–44, 75, 82, 87, 92–3, 147, 166, 173–5, 178–80; Special Court for Clerics 141; Supreme National Security Council 147; uranium enrichment 21, 25, 29, 33–7, 39–2, 52, 110–11, 137, 144, 146–7, 150, 174, 178 Iran Foreign Oil Sanctions Act 27 Iran–Iraq–Syria pipeline 179–80; see also pipelines Iran–Libya Sanctions Act 27

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IranPolitik 155, 158 Iran–Pakistan pipeline 180; see also pipelines Iran–Turkey natural gas pipeline 31–2; see also pipelines Iranian political factions: conservative and neo-conservative alliance 137–9; conservatives 17, 121, 124–7, 130, 132–50, 154–8, 163, 169, 176–7; counter-reformists 154–9, 162–4, 166, 169–72, 176; neo-conservatives 121, 133–4, 137–9, 141, 143–50, 156, 158, 163, 170, 176–9; pragmatists 17, 121, 124–34, 136–41, 144–50, 156–7, 164, 169; radicals 123–4, 126–7, 132, 136, 139, 148, 155–6, 166, 169; reformists 121, 134–50, 157–8, 163–4, 170, 177; see also Iranian elections Iranian Relative Production of Natural Gas 83, 83–4, 88, 89, 89, 90, 170, 171 Iranian Revolutionary Party 125; see also Iranian political factions Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF) 156; see also Iranian political factions Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) 6, 128–9, 144–50, 163–4, 170, 172, 178 Jaggers, K. 152 Jasiewicz, Krzysztof 103, 105 Kadyrov regime 72 Kanet, Roger E. 95 Karam, Raymond 142 Katzman, Kenneth 24, 51 Kazakhstan: Caspian Sea delimitation 26–7, 29, 30, 44, 54–6, 114–15; energy relations with Russia 30, 32 Kessler, Glen 37 Kevorkova, N. 51 Khamenei, Ali 36, 125–6, 128, 133, 140–1, 147–8, 158, 177–8 Khatami, Mohammad 26, 33, 35, 124, 130–2, 134–5, 137, 139–42, 144, 146–7, 149–50, 156, 170, 178–9 Khomeini, Ruhollah 14–17, 121–3, 125, 127, 148 Kim, Woosang 64 Kiriyenko, Sergey 111 Kokoshin, Andrei 25 Kozyrev, Andrei 20, 113–14 Kugler, Jacek 64, 78 Laakso, M. 152

Larijani, Ali 156 Liberal Democratic Party of Russia 96, 102, 106, 115, 117, 119–20; ideology of 106; influence of 153–4, 159, 165, 169, 175, 190; see also Russian political parties McFaul, Michael 95, 99, 102–3, 109 Makarova, N. 51 Malashenko, Aleksey 106 Mamedova, N.M. 10–11, 17 Marshall, M.G. 152 Medvedev, Dmitri 5, 38, 40, 96, 101, 112, 116, 120, 168, 175 Mikhaylov, Viktor 19, 21, 25, 110–12, 115 Missile Technology Control Regime 21 Mojtahed-Shabestari, Mohammad 138 Moravcsik, Andrew 66 Mossadeq, Mohammad 12 Mujahideen of the Islamic Revolution 134; see also Iranian political factions Nabiyev, Rahmon 23 Nabucco natural gas pipeline 32; see also pipelines Najafi, Reza 179 Nateq-Nuri, Ali Akbar 24, 133 NATO 67–9, 77–9, 84–8, 90–1 Nazarbayev, Nursultan 30 neo-realism 66, 72 Netanyahu, Benjamin 38 Northern Alliance 69, 71 Obama, Barack 38 Oil and Gas Journal 31 Orban, Anita 74 Organski, A.F.K. 64, 78 Orlov, Vladimir A. 20–1, 34, 51, 107, 110, 137, 144, 146 Our Home is Russia (NDR) 103, 113; see also Russian political parties Pahlavi, Mohammad Reza Shah 12–13 Pahlavi, Reza Shah 11 Parker, John W. 3, 15, 16–19, 23–5, 31–4, 39–40, 51, 68–9, 71, 74, 95, 104–8, 111, 113–14, 130, 137, 144–5 Parsons, Nigel 142–3 Persevering Front of the Islamic Revolution 177; see also Iranian political factions pipelines 31–2, 74, 89, 179–80; see also Russia–Iran relations, energy competition

Index 227 Political Instability Taskforce, The 80–2; see also Center for Systemic Peace Polity IV project 152 Power Transition Theory 64 Primakov, Yevgeny 22, 96, 107–9, 112–15, 117 Principalist Unity Front 177; see also Iranian political factions Putin, Vladimir 5, 25, 26, 30–1, 34, 36, 42, 74, 96, 101, 109, 111–12, 116–20, 166, 168, 175–6 Rabbani, Burhanuddin 130–1 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 51, 175 Rafsanjani, Hashemi 17, 124–38, 140–1, 143–4, 148–9, 155–6, 169 Rakel, Eva Patricia 15, 17, 122–3, 125–6, 131, 134 Rand Corporation, The 146–7 Regional Magnitude of State Failure 79–82, 84, 84, 92–3, 188 Remington, Thomas F. 95, 102–3, 107 Richburg, Keith B. 37 Ritter, J.M. 64 Rodinov, Igor 34 Rouhani, Hassan 45, 143, 147, 156, 177–9 Rubinstein, Alvin Z. 12, 14 Rumyantsev, Aleksandr 111 Russia: Black Sea naval fleet 74; Central Election Commission 152; Chechen conflict 70–1; constitution of 100–3; Duma 100–3, 105–6, 113, 115, 117–19, 151–4, 159 (see also effective number of parties); electoral design 101–2, 117–19, 172, 175; energy politics 31, 74–5; executive-legislative competition 99–101; exports to Global South 62–3; Federation Council 117–18; intelligence services 20–3, 96, 107–8, 113, 120; military-industrial complex 98, 104–6, 115, 120; Ministry of Atomic Energy (MinAtom/RosAtom) 109–12, 120; national power relative to NATO 68–9, 77–9, 79, 84–8, 84, 90–1, 168; natural gas production 83; post-Soviet reforms 98; presidential term limits 101; and sanctions against Iran 43, 52–3 Russia’s Choice 102–3; see also Russian political parties Russia–Iran relations: Arab Spring 43–4, 93; Caspian Sea 21–3, 26–9, 30–2, 44, 53–7, 73, 112–15, 120 (see also Cooperation in Caspian Sea Delimitation); cooperation against

Taliban 69–72, 130–1, 135; defense 21, 26, 30, 35, 37–9, 43–4, 104–9, 115, 120, 137 (see also Trade in Conventional Weapons); economic 9, 131; energy competition 14, 15, 22, 25, 28, 31–3, 67, 73–5, 82–5, 88–92, 114, 168, 170, 173–4, 179–80; Ministry of Atomic Energy 20–1, 25, 33, 42, 109–14; NATO 4, 8, 67–9, 72, 75, 77–9, 79, 84–8, 90–1, 93, 168–9, 171, 174–5; nuclear collaboration 20–1, 24–5, 33–6, 39–41, 42–3, 106–12, 115, 120, 129, 137 (see also Annual Cooperation in Nuclear Development); parliamentary elections 102–3, 112–13, 115–16, 118, 119, 120, 175; presidential elections 109, 112, 143; presidential summits 26, 36, 42; regional security 43–5; S-300 missile system 37–40; Scientific Research and Design Institute for Energy Technologies (NIKIET) 25, 111; similarity of security alliance portfolios 63–5; spent nuclear fuel agreement 111; state failure, in region 67, 69–73, 80, 79–82, 92–3; Tajikistan civil war 23, 51, 107, 114, 130, 137, 170; see also General Political Association Russian political parties 96–100, 102–3, 106, 109, 112–13, 115–20, 153–4, 159, 161, 165, 169, 172, 175–6 Russia Votes 152–3 Sakwa, Richard 97 Salehi, Ali Akbar 178–9 Shanghai Cooperation Organization 35, 39–40, 45 Signorino, C.S. 64 Society of Militant Clergy 133, 155; see also Iranian political factions Soltanieh, Ali Asghar 179 Sorush, Abdolkarim 138 Soviet–Iran relations 10–19; Communist revolution 10; defense 13, 17–19; delimitation of Caspian Sea 18; economic 10–11, 13, 16–17; energy 13–14, 16–17 (see also energy competition); interwar years 10–11; Iranian–Soviet Standing Commission for Economic Cooperation 16; nuclear energy19; treaties 10–12, 15; World War II 11–12 Stam, A.C. 64 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) 26, 30, 43–4, 49

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Syria: and China 44–5; and energy relations with Iran 179–80; and Russia–Iran 44, 92, 170; and Shanghai Cooperation Organization 45 Taagepera, R. 152 Tabriz–Ankara natural gas pipeline 31–2, 74, 89; see also pipelines Taheri, Amir 43 Tajikistan: civil war 18, 23, 92, 170; Islamic Revival Party 23; relations with Iran 129 Takeyh, Ray 147 Taliban 69–72, 130–1; ties to Pakistan 71, 130 Tammen, Ronald 8, 64, 78 Tehran Times 51 Trade in Conventional Weapons: measurement of 48–51, 50, 183 Treaty of Gulistan 10 Treaty of Turkmanchai 10 Tudeh party 12, 16; see also Iranian political factions Turkey: energy transport 31, 73, 89 Turkmenistan: Caspian Sea delimitation 54, 56; energy relations with Iran 31, 73, 89; energy relations with Russia 32 Ukraine 74 United Nations: General Assembly 35; P-5+1, 35; Security Council 35–41, 43–4, 51, 53, 147, 173; Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees 71 United Russia 96, 112, 116, 118–19, 161, 175–6; see also Russian political parties

United States: Agency for International Development 176; relations with Iran 12–14, 27, 135; relations with Russian Federation 20–1, 103–6, 115; see also Gore–Chernomyrdin Commission; sanctions against Iran 27, 42, 93 Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 97–9, 113 Unity 109, 112, 116–18; see also Russian political parties Uzbekistan: energy relations with Russia 32 Vinnikov, Alexander 20–1, 34, 51, 107, 110, 137, 144, 146 Vorontsov, Yuli 16 Velayat-e Faqih 138 Velayati, Ali Akhbar 16, 68 Vyakhirev, Rem 113 Wahhabism 70–2 Wallander, Celeste 75 Waltz, Kenneth 66 Wassenaar Arrangement 21 White, Stephan 106, 117 Willerton, John P. 97, 101, 116 Wilson, Harold 14 World Bank, The 78 Yeltsin, Boris 21–4, 95–103; and nuclear proliferation 25; political concessions 96, 98, 100, 103–16, 117–20, 124, 165, 176 Zardari, Asif Ali 180 Zarif, Mohammad Javad 178 Zhirinovsky, Vladimir 102–3