Russia has put the United States on notice that it disagrees with the Trump administrations assessment of Iran as the "number one terrorist state" in the Middle East. In his Super Bowl interview with FOX host Bill O'Reilly, President Trump said: “they [Iran] have total disregard for our country, they’re the number one terrorist state, they’re sending money all over the place and weapons" to the enemies of the United States. Russia has responded by touting its relationship with Iran, as the Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov backed up the Kremlin’s statement, noting that Iran has taken part in the ongoing war against ISIS.

Will Iran be a rift in US-Russia relations?

Former President Barack Obama and his attempts to ease tension with Iran no longer have any relation to US policy, as the Trump administration's position on Iran is the polar opposite of what President Obama's once was. While Obama sought to increase relations with Iran, while, therefore, simultaneously distancing the US from Saudi Arabia and keeping Israel in check for its actions in the West Bank, President Trump will aim to inflate US ties to Israel and Saudi Arabia while once again dealing with Iran as an enemy. Such a sudden change in US policy in the Middle East appears, on the surface, as destined to negatively affect US and Russian relations.

Trump, Putin, and Iran

With nearly 3 weeks under his belt as POTUS, Donald Trump and his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin is still a hot-button issue. US relations with Iran, a top ally of Mr. Putin, will surely have an impact upon Moscow-Washington relations. As President Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted, "All of you know that Russia enjoys warm relations with Iran, we do cooperate on a range of issues, and we do appreciate our economic ties which, we hope, will go further." US relations with Tehran are not as friendly, as the United States has a history of intervention in Iran and is also allied with the two enemies of the Shia state -- the Jewish state of Israel and the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Trump administration's policy toward Iran, and the Middle East at large, will surely have an effect upon the relationship between Russia and the United States over the next 4 years.

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