Russia sells Iran fighter jets but not fuel for Bushehr

In dealing with the Iranian nuclear project, unofficial sanctions may be an effective political tool. Such sanctions are apparently more effective than official ones and may get around the difficulty of reaching consensus amongst a divided international community.
The Russian government decided to delay supplying fuel to Iran, essential for operating centrifuges in nuclear reactor of Bushehr. However, Russian security forces have agreed to sell Iran a large number of Sukhoi-30 fighter jets.

Russia's policy in the international arena reflects a number of strategic goals: Striving for a leading status in the international arena and hegemony in its near-abroad; challenging US global hegemony; as well as maintaining internal stability and territorial integrity.

On the surface, it appears Russia's security relations with Iran serve the above goals. However, recently, Russia has also been growing increasingly apprehensive regarding the Iranian nuclear project.

Publicly, Russia is unwilling to fully collaborate with the US on matters regarding Iranian sanctions. Russia does, however, in fact subtly complicate Iran's nuclear project.

Iran understands that Russia's delay in supplying with fuel is not only a 'technical' issue (as the Russians portray it), but also reflects a strategic change in Russian policy. This policy greatly frustrates Iran, as it complicates significant nuclear development of Bushehr. Additional unofficial sanctions, especially European and American, weigh heavily on the Iranian economy and cause internal agitation which may undermine the stability of the Iranian regime.

In light of the changes in the international-relations arena during the past year, and especially in light of the rise of China and Russia and the entanglement of the US in Iraq, the international community finds difficulty in maintaining a unified front regarding Iran. It may be that the most effective political tool facing the Iranian nuclear project is to promote unofficial sanctions by governments, businesses and other private actors. Such sanctions prove no less effective then official ones and may get around the challenge of reaching consensus amongst a divided international community.

Sources