The development of relations between Russia and Iran

The Russian Iranian relations are frequently compared to the Russian Arab relations, especially between Russia and the GCC states, which are considered to be the parallel to the Russian-Iranian relations from aspects of geographical region, competition and differences between Iran and GCC States. Although they aspire to mediate between the parties, but no one granted them the opportunity.

The relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia now getting strained, especially after the ballistic missiles launched by the Huthi rebels against Saudi Arabia, and after Washington accusation to Iran to their intention to destabilizing the region by supplying the Houthis with missiles that threatening Saudi Arabia is and rest of The GCC States. The GCC States and rest of the Arab countries stand as pro-Saudi position including UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and others, and there are those who stand a neutral position and there is state of Qatar which is the only GCC country who stands in favor of Iran. Russia fears to not to be able to maintain neutrality for a long time, or to be asked to intervene like Washington to stand with one party against another. Unlike the United States of America, they will not adopt such position that they are not familiar to in their foreign policy affairs.

The only ally

Although Russia with its unlimited ambitions seeks to develop relations with the GCC States, especially Saudi Arabia, but they are not willing to lose Iran, their current strategic ally. Some experts placed Iran second among Russia’s international allies after China, although Russia does not make this clear due Iran’s problems with their Arab neighbors, with the west and Israel, while Russia is the first and perhaps the only ally that Iran depend on politically, militarily and nuclear wise. Surprisingly these relations began realistically in the mid-nineties of the last century, at the time that Russia was at its worst situation and counting down from the international scene. and despite Tehran, at the beginning of the of Khomeini rule, designated Russia as the Junior Satan and the United States as the Senior Satan, but Iran had not inevitable to cooperate with this younger Satan, who is under severe siege imposed by Washington and the West.

Nuclear market

Although Putin trend as recommended by his master the head of the Soviet intelligence service KGB, late Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, at the beginning of his rule in 2000 was towards the East, especially China and India, Iran did not attract much of their attention. Their relations were limited to working together in the Iranian nuclear program. At the increase of pressures by the west especially Washington  on Iran  and commencing of threats, and initiating of international sanctions series, President Putin sensed the bad intentions of Washington and the West towards Russia and their drive to expel them from the global nuclear technology market, to the extent that made most countries in the world got much cautioned to tend to Russian nuclear technology, and that is what President Putin said commenting in 2003 at the beginning of the Iran’s nuclear crisis : “The nuclear technology market is rife with bad intentions and unfair competition.”

Russia became the main and perhaps the only political supporter of Iran in the international forums and the frontal defender against the west pressure. The Relations between the two countries have been significantly improved. Then comes the Arab Spring and the Syrian crisis outbreak, where Russia and Iran stand in one front with the Syrian regime.

Improved rapprochement

Post nuclear agreement between Iran and Washington and the West, and with the signs of the international sanctions relief, some observers expected that Tehran approaches will go west, perhaps at the expense of relationship with Russia, but evidence prove so far but otherwise. The rapprochement between Moscow and Tehran have been significantly improved further, especially on the military sphere, after President Putin released the S-300 missile defense and handed over to Iran, the deal that being suspended due to the sanctions.

Arms agreements and joint military cooperation between Russia and Iran have been boosted significantly over the last two years, trade and economic cooperation between them been doubled. officials visits from both countries markedly increased, President Putin visited Iran during the years 2007, 2 015, and on October 2017, while President Hassan Rouhani used to pay regular yearly visit since he took over presidency in 2013 as well as his predecessor, President Ahmadinejad who paid numerous visits to Russia.

Russian media

Iran’s influence and presence in the Russian media became considerably noticeable Recently, and clearly reflected on the Russian media’s orientation on all issues that Iran is involved in, such as the Syrian crisis, Iran’s conflicts with the GCC States, particular Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Qatar crisis, and the escalating crisis after the launching of ballistic missiles from Yemen towards Riyadh. We noticed Intentional absence of views towards the Iranian position in all Russian media, not to mention the position of the Russian media that appeared more often by Qatar side more than the boycotting countries. The presence of the Iranian points of view is also noticeable regarding the Yemen crisis, where Iran been able to turn the Russian media arena into a platform for Houthis of Yemen to raise and reflect their views and positions status. They have further granted them informal representation in Moscow, the Russian government does not deal with them officially, but it does not restrict them to actively deal with local and foreign media. All of this is happening in total absence of Arab countries in general, and the GCC States in particular, mainly the Saudi Arabia from the scene.