Monday 25 July 2022 - 04:34

Iran-Russia ‘Strategic Alliance’: What Iran Gained from Putin’s Visit

By Arwin Ghaemian
Story Code : 1005860
Iran-Russia ‘Strategic Alliance’: What Iran Gained from Putin’s Visit
The historic summit illustrated that due to Iran’s unique geopolitical position, it has become a hub for diplomatic negotiations to address regional and international crises.

Strengthening economic, military, and political cooperation between the two all-weather allies, Russia and Iran, figured prominently on the agenda of the summit.

Iran and Russia have maintained robust cooperation over the last few decades, and their anti-Western stance has contributed to developing joint politico-economic strategies.

It seems that an emerging alliance between Tehran and Moscow to thwart the US-NATO hegemony has been reinforced by the Ukraine conflict and Western sanctions on Russia’s energy industry.

Since the beginning of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, this was the first time the Russian leader Vladimir Putin traveled anywhere outside the former Soviet Union.

By choosing Tehran as the destination, Putin explicitly signaled to his Western adversaries that Moscow is seeking to reinforce his position on the eastern front by strengthening relations with Iran, its ally.

Reinvigorate Iran’s oil and gas industry

According to observers, one of Iran’s main gains from the trilateral conference was the offer of a $40 billion Russian-state-owned Gazprom investment contract in Iran.

Under the terms of the preliminary agreement, Gazprom will assist the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) in developing oil and gas fields and constructing LNG pipelines.

In addition, the agreement involves a project worth $10 billion in the Kish and North Pars gas fields in the Persian Gulf, as well as a vast program worth $15 billion to enhance pressure in South Pars, which is the largest gas field shared by Iran and Qatar.

Mohsen Khojasteh-Mehr, Director of the NIOC, described this memorandum as “one of the biggest foreign investments in the history of Iran’s oil industry.”

“The long-term cooperation between Iran and Russia is very beneficial for both nations” (...). There are agreements and contracts between the two countries, notably in the oil and gas sectors, that must be pursued and fully implemented,” Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei said in a communiqué, underlining the energy cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.

Iran’s ascendancy will grow in Syria

Given that Ukraine has become an existential priority for Russia and there is a need for Russian troops and equipment in Ukraine’s entrenched conflict, there will ultimately be a military vacuum in Syria, which Moscow does not want the United States to fill.

During the last week’s summit in Tehran, it was reported that Putin asked Iran to maintain a military presence east of the Euphrates River. This strategically key area has long been of utmost importance to Iran and its Syrian Arab Army.

According to observers, with Iran gaining strength in eastern Syria amid the departure of the US occupying forces, the reopening of the Iran-Iraq-Syria corridor would likely lead to the connection of Iran to the Mediterranean Sea.

In other words, if achieved, this key initiative would resurrect the ancient Silk Road, which will definitely have financial advantages for all countries in West Asia and the international community.

Tuesday’s landmark summit came as Turkey has constantly been threatening since late May to launch a large-scale military onslaught in northern Syria, where it seeks to create a 30-kilometer “buffer zone” on the border and eliminate the YPG Kurdish guerrillas that Ankara deems as terrorists.

However, Tehran and Moscow have both already voiced their vehement opposition to such an invasion.

For years, Russia had adopted a relatively passive approach vis-à-vis frequent Turkish incursions into northeastern Syria. However, with Turkey’s anti-Russian stance and the sale of Baykar Bayraktar TB2 drones to Kiev, the Kremlin has finally chosen to pursue a hard-line stance toward Ankara.

During his meeting with Iran’s Leader, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was again warned that any military offensive against Syrian territorial integrity would be detrimental to Turkey and the region. He was exhorted to resolve the crisis through diplomatic means.

Since the beginning of the armed insurgency in Syria in 2011, Russia and Iran have supported the democratically-elected Syrian government, whereas Turkey backs the hard-line opposition in the northern Idlib province.

Russia and Iran: Partners in Dedollarisation

Iran and Russia will soon sign a treaty on strategic cooperation, expanding their cooperation in the banking and finance sector, and abandoning the use of the dollar to denominate their commerce, Dmitri Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesperson, was cited as saying in an interview with an Iranian television station, before Putin’s visit to Tehran.

Nasser Kandil, a prominent Lebanese commentator, argues that the rising international economic powers known as BRICS, headed by Russia, China, and India, and Iran’s imminent admission is a great success.

BRICS will support the growth and development of independent economies and boost the volume of investment and trade exchanges by replacing the dollar and euro with their own national currencies to render the American sanctions utterly ineffective.

Ayatollah Khamenei’s unequivocal support for the Russian special military operation in Ukraine against NATO’s vicious encroachments was a clear indication to the US-led western block that the Moscow-Tehran relationship is metamorphosing into a genuine strategic partnership, as the war in Ukraine alters the Russian economic perspective.

Today, Moscow is becoming isolated in the Western market. Thus, the Kremlin regards Iran as an indispensable economic partner and seeks to utilize Iran’s expertise to circumvent US unilateral sanctions by substituting the rial and ruble for the dollar.

Today, The Kremlin has accelerated efforts to move away from the dollar after the US and its allies imposed unprecedented sanctions to punish Russia for its military operation in Ukraine.

Putin said he discussed the increased use of national currencies in trade with Iran’s Leader.

North-South Corridor: Iran, the lifeline of the Russian economy?

In light of the fact that the western block has imposed an embargo on Russian maritime and aviation trade, Iran will be a viable channel for the passage of Russian commodities, as the shortest path for Russian goods to reach the main ports of the Persian Gulf is through the Iranian railroad to the strategic port city of Bandar Abbas.

It is evident that the North-South Corridor will provide enormous transit revenues for the Iranian state coffer.

 During the recent visit of the Russian President to Tehran and his meeting with Ayatollah Khamenei, the Russian President stressed the importance of completing the Rasht-Astara railway and operating the North-South Corridor.
Source : PR