Grounded in resilience
Moscow and Tehran’s strategic bilateral cooperation looks set to further consolidate itself and reach new highs.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi earlier this year, there was a firm understanding that continued investment in bilateral engagements will catalyze their own economic developments, and advance security across the region and the world. It came as no surprise that such resilience threw Israelis and Americans into a fit of insecurity, given their futile campaign to establish dominance in the region. And now, Moscow and Tehran’s strategic bilateral cooperation looks set to further consolidate itself and reach new highs.
It is a welcome development for both sides to further ties through concrete avenues: integrated payment systems, burgeoning trade, and a new interstate agreement that will “set out the basic guidelines” for the entire range of Iran-Russian relations in the coming decades. “We are satisfied with the way our bilateral relations are developing,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on August 31. “They are reaching a new qualitative level, which will be fixed in a large agreement between the countries.”
Lavrov’s profound optimism came at a time when Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian conducted his visit to Moscow, offering clues on further transforming time-tested ties. Begin with Tehran’s emphasis on the completion of the North-South corridors, and a proactive approach to implementing wide-ranging agreements signed at the presidential level.
Recent talks with Azerbaijan in support of the North-South corridor give strength to stronger integration potential in the long run, and are a marked departure from the Zionist regime’s push to introduce strong divisions in the Middle East, and indicate empty ‘concerns’ in other fields of Russia-Iranian engagements. More importantly, the North-South corridor can prepare valuable ground for a free trade opening between Tehran and Moscow, given the latter’s revelation of the plans during the visit. It is in the interests of both sides to enlist support from other economic partners, including Beijing, which has joined Russia and Iran in firmly opposing US sanctions, and shares their motivations for economic and trade independence.
This week’s high-level talks in Moscow also make for a speculator sight. Consider the fact that despite Washington’s hegemonic exercise of unilateral sanctions against both Iran and Russia, both countries remain ironclad in their commitment to mutually beneficial cooperation. That sentiment is reinforced by plans to develop even stronger cooperation “mechanisms” that are independent from the West, and thereby, very promising.
Attempts to undermine Iran-Russian cooperation will hit a brick wall because neither side shows any diplomatic weakness in the face of US-Israeli containment schemes. Look no further than Moscow’s stated support for Tehran’s position on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Iran is correct to demand stronger guarantees from the US on a revived nuclear deal, given Washington’s continued doublespeak on sanction lifting, historic noncompliance, and nuclear deal breach. It is Washington – not Tehran – that violated the negotiated pact, and consistently sought to sidestep responsibility for its own withdrawal and illegal sanctions. It is for this reason that Russia’s call for the termination of all sanctions against Tehran reflects growing convergence on core strategic interests.
"Israel" can try and make all desperate attempts to operate in lockstep with the US, but it will not succeed. For instance, its attempt to politically influence the IAEA’s mandate stands increasingly exposed, plus the Israelis are nothing but a fringe when it comes to the JCPOA: they have no legitimate stakes in the process, no seat at the table, and remain tethered to the US. Likewise, it is absolutely unqualified to tout any “concerns” about any facet of Russian-Iranian cooperation.
All that strikes a telling contrast to the actual prospect of a nuclear deal revival. As seen during the Iran-Russia foreign ministers’ talks, Amir-Abdollahian made a valuable observation by stating that if the existing nuclear deal text is reinforced, “reaching an agreement will not be far from being achieved.” That is the path to follow on the multilateral stage for all parties.
Interestingly, sustained momentum towards integrating Iran as a permanent member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) comes at a favorable time too. Russia’s stated support for the process is another step toward furthering regional integration beyond self-identified ideological blocs, or zero-sum containment politics pushed by the West. A memorandum of Iran's integration to the organization is all set to be signed at the SCO summit in Samarkand soon. That is a stark departure from numerous falsehoods about instability, conflict, and military risks touted by Washington and Israel on a regional scale. It is their own credibility crisis that deserves a hard look.
Reality tells a different story too. Moscow-Tehran ties have more latitude to move from strength to strength, and it shows in a bilateral trade turnover crossing over $2.7 billion in the first of this year. That means a growth margin of over 40%, providing fertile ground for multi-decade strategic cooperation to be built on in the future.
As a result, there is a strong chance that sustained cooperation between Russia and Iran will easily unnerve the Zionists, and drill more holes in the US containment agenda against both sides. Several US and Israeli media outlets have already tried to distort the determinants of Iran-Russian strategic cooperation in the past and failed miserably.
Little suggests that will ever change going forward.