No strangers to accusations of election-tampering, Russian Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev should find their international influence enhanced by Ahmadinejad's contested victory. Russian cooperation has been important in the joint efforts by the U.S. and Europe to force Iran into abandoning its nuclear program in favor of one that could be assisted and monitored by international partners. Moscow has proposed alternative compromise measures and occasionally supported the Western position by voting for sanctions in the United Nations.
At times, however, Moscow has used its importance in dealing with Iran as a bargaining chip in other areas such as dampening the Western outcry over its 2008 war with Georgia. If Ahmadinejad is sworn in for another term, as seems likely, the Russian leaders may play the nuke card anew by urging Barack Obama not to deploy the planned U.S. missile shield in eastern Europe or open NATO membership to additional former East bloc nations.
Like Ahmadinejad, Moscow was so confident that Iran's President would be re-elected that he had been scheduled to attend an international conference in Moscow Monday an appointment he has been forced to pull out of because of the chaos at home.