Hillary Clinton in Russia to push Moscow on Iran. Is Obama's Nobel Peace Prize helping?
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's trip to Russia marks improving diplomatic ties, and some Russian analysts say President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize is creating momentum for more nuclear cooperation.
There didn't seem to be any obvious Nobel buzz, but Hillary Clinton came away from a Moscow meeting with her counterpart Sergei Lavrov Tuesday saying that the much vaunted "reset" in relations between Russia and the US is still very much on track.Skip to next paragraph
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And some Russian experts think the aura of President Obama's unexpected Nobel Peace Prize may well have followed his Secretary of State to Moscow and might be exerting subtle pressure on the Russians to move faster and try harder on a range of issues, especially how to find a joint approach to deal with Iran's alleged drive to obtain nuclear weapons.
"Moscow and Washington still disagree about Iran, but after Obama won the Peace Prize there is going to be a much greater sense of responsibility about finding a peaceful solution," says Yevgeny Satanovsky, president of the independent Institute of Middle East Studies in Moscow. "The Nobel effect will be felt."
Russia has recently moved closer to the US position that tough action may be needed to bring Iran to heel and compel it to accept a strict non-proliferation regime, though Mr. Lavrov said Tuesday that Moscow still opposes sanctions. "Our position is that all efforts should be made to support the negotiating process," he said.
Clinton said she hadn't asked Russia to take any tough steps yet but added that if talks with Iran don't produce results "we will be seeking to rally international opinion behind additional sanctions."
President Dmitry Medvedev, with whom Clinton met Tuesday evening, said last week that Russia will not countenance a nuclear-armed Iran, and he suggested that sanctions may be "inevitable."
Some experts argue that the Nobel glitz is unlikely to have any impact on hard-nosed Kremlin leaders.