While Russia's leaders praised President Obama's decision to drop plans for a missile shield in Eastern Europe yesterday, they were conspicuously silent on whether they would, in return, join the West in pressuring Iran to halt its nuclear program, the New York Times reports. If Russia doesn't start taking a harder line against Iran, Obama will be seen as have caved in to Russian demands while receiving little in return.
The Obama administration, which needs Russian support in the UN to increase sanctions on Iran, insists that the shift in anti-missile strategy was a response to changing Iranian capabilities, not an effort to appease Russia. But the backlash from Congressional hawks was immediate, and the only sign of movement from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was the comment, "There always is a score in politics. And if our partners hear some of our concerns, we will, of course, be more attentive to theirs.”