Russia needed cold hard cash and Iran needed replacement arms. Munition sales were estimated at $1 billion in sales and 1992 registering even greater amounts.
Russia was experiencing extreme pressure from the US to stop the sales and Russia did, to an extent, delay delivery of munitions. However, Russia stated that they viewed Iran as a friendly neighbour and needed to look after their own interests. Russia publicly agreed that they did not want to sanction any arms build up in the Middle East but the country was sure such was not the case in Iran. Tensions in Moscow began to rise as Iran began to interject itself into Azerbaijan shortly followed by visits to nine other states in the region. Regardless of this Russia signed a major deal to assist in the development of the Iran nuclear program. Relations continued to deteriorate and Russia, at this point, determined that it would honour its open arms contracts with Iran but would not enter into new contracts.
However, contention remained between the US and Russia over the Russian involvement in the Iranian Nuclear Program. Moscow continually asserted that they were not supplying missile technology; however, despite Russia's unwillingness to assist with their missile project in July of 1998 Iran successfully test fired their first missile with the assistance of Pakistan, North Korea and China. Tensions of the nuclear program continued to grow and the strain began to be felt more and more on US/Russian relations.
Another area of concern in the Mid East for the US was the possible resumption of relations between Iraq and Russia. The sanctions placed against Iraq were closely followed by the economic loss felt by Russia while bowing to western pressure. Russia held over $10 billion dollars of Iraqi debt which Iraq was at current unable to repay. Still Russia was eager to build solid relations in the Mid East region. As the author states Russia's motivation to build relations in the Arab world were to: "ensure Russia's national security; Prevent the spread of political and military fires in the Middle East to the increasingly unstable regions of the Caucasus and Central Asia; and make use of the potential in the Arab states t help solve Russia's economic problems."
Russia did make headway in 1993 when it signed an agreement with Kuwait offering military cooperation which later led to $750 million in arms sales followed by UAE sales reported to be near $3 billion. However, arms sales were disappointing to the Russians in the Gulf area and they desperately needed hard cash. In April of 1993 the Russian parliament speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov sent an emissary to Iraq in an attempt to renew the relations the two countries has shared prior to the invasion of Kuwait. In secret meetings Iraq sought Russia's help in getting UN sanctions against the country removed.
In exchange for the request to gradually lift the sanctions Iraq was to publicly assert the sovereignty of Kuwait. In the midst of these negotiations Iraq, much to the embarrassment of the Russians, sent its troops to the Kuwait border. However, maintaining their presence the Russian's continued to champion Iraq's cause by offering to oversee compliance by Iraq during the six month lifting of sanctions and again asserted that Iraq was prepared to