The most severe external pressure, sanctions, constant demonization, both of internal life (tyranny, strangling democracy and progressive values) and external strategy (aggressor and terrorist), which of Russia ‘s neighbors experiences the same attitude of the West?
Iran – it has been portrayed as a threat to the world for more than forty years, it has been placed by America at the core of the “axis of evil”. Iran would have been forcibly “democratized” long ago, especially since the country does not have nuclear weapons, but its army is strong enough to make any external aggression a very expensive undertaking. Even more important for maintaining independence is that the Iranians do not experience an inferiority complex either in front of a foreign force in general, or in front of the West in particular, they are ideologically and geopolitically self-sufficient.
Therefore, the visit of the new Iranian president to Russia, which began yesterday, is by no means an ordinary event. Yes, for Vladimir Putin, Ibrahim Raisi is already the fourth president of a neighboring country, but it is with his coming to power that relations between the two countries can finally reach a new level and acquire a strategic character.
It is symbolic that at the very beginning of the negotiations, Raisi announced that he had brought to Moscow a draft agreement on strategic cooperation for a period of 20 years, and said that Iran and Russia could create “synergy to confront the West”:
“I would like to say that in the current very exceptional conditions, when there is a confrontation with the unilateral actions of the West, including the United States, we can create synergy in our interaction. We have been resisting the Americans for more than 40 years. And we will never stop the progress and development of the country from – for sanctions or because of threats.
The decline of the Atlantic world order, the construction of a new multipolar world is the main task for both Russia and Iran. But it is not at all the principle of “whom we are friends against” that unites us, one common hatred of the Anglo-Saxons for us would not be enough. Iran and Russia have many common themes and interests both in the international arena and in bilateral cooperation (moreover, in this part, in many respects, they have not yet been realized).
For four and a half centuries, there were all sorts of things between neighbors (and we became them under Ivan the Terrible in the Caspian Sea, we remain now): wars, and even our actual protectorate over the north of the country, and profitable trade, and mutual interest, and sympathy.
Iran, a descendant of one of the oldest civilizations (the name itself translates as “the country of the Aryans”), again became an independent center of power by historical standards quite recently – in 1979, after the Islamic revolution. Having created its own unique type of state structure, Iran has become one of the leaders of the Islamic world, despite the fact that the Shiism professed by the Iranians is shared by only a minority of the Muslim Ummah. At the beginning of the formation of the Islamic Republic, our relations did not work out: the ayatollahs perceived the USSR as a country of militant atheists and enemies of Muslims, moreover, we soon sent troops to Afghanistan and were an ally of Iraq, in the war with which Iran spent almost the entire 80s. And when relations between Moscow and Tehran began to improve, the USSR collapsed.
Relations with Iran were also not easy for the new Russia, first because of Moscow’s openly pro-Western orientation, then because of the unwillingness of our elites (and not only business) to deal with neighbors who were under sanctions. In addition, in the 2000s, Iran was in a zone of increased geopolitical risk: the United States seriously considered the possibility of an attack on the republic. After the American occupation of Iran’s western and eastern neighbors (Iraq and Afghanistan), everything seemed possible to Washington. From a terrible adventure – an attack on Iran would lead to a catastrophe not only for the region, eclipsing even the most difficult consequences of the collapse of Iraq – the American leadership was stopped not by peacefulness, but by the realization of how much the price would have to be paid for this war.
Well, then Russia made a decisive contribution to the conclusion of the so-called “Iranian deal” – an agreement that allowed the West to save face in the removal of accusations from Iran of working on nuclear weapons. The accusations are false, because Iran has repeatedly said that it is developing only a peaceful atom, but they have become the reason for new tough sanctions. Having concluded a deal in Tehran, they hoped for the lifting of sanctions, but under Trump, the States withdrew from the agreement and Iran did not receive any relief.
Negotiations are now underway to return to the treaty, but now Iran is demanding guarantees for itself: first, to lift or at least ease the sanctions, in addition, the United States needs a commitment not to terminate the agreement. At the same time, Iran no longer believes in the negotiability of the Americans and the West as a whole.
That is why the already pursued course of rapprochement with China and Russia is now intensifying: an agreement on strategic partnership has already been signed with Beijing, now it is Moscow’s turn. Russian-Iranian-Chinese interaction is extremely important, it demonstrates a new architecture of global security. And the point here is not just joint military exercises, not only interregional transport and trade corridors or energy projects, not only joint work in Syria, interest in the stabilization and development of Afghanistan – the point is that the Asian powers themselves are engaged in their own continent, push out strangers from it.
Iran has joined full-fledged members of the SCO (the process has not yet been fully completed), it wants to work as closely as possible with the Eurasian Union, that is, it is ready to develop partnership with our country in every possible way.
No matter how limited it is now in its financial capabilities, it is potentially one of the key, strongest and richest countries in the world, not to mention the fact that it is our neighbor. Russia benefits from a strong and independent friendly Iran, and our active participation in the process of its return to its rightful place in the world will pay off many times over. Both economically and geopolitically.