Because of his experience in international affairs, Ayatollah Khamenei has always stressed that we should achieve balance in foreign policy. In other words, we should implement the policy of “Neither the east nor the west”  in order to ensure the Islamic Republic’s independence, authority and territorial integrity and at the same time, we should maintain our foreign relations with all parts of the world.
The 21st century is the century of Asia
Undoubtedly, the 21st century is the century of Asia. The Islamic Republic has always paid attention to Asia. There are many important and still untapped capacities in Asian countries such as Russia, China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and subcontinental countries and as a result, we could exploit them due to our common interests with such countries in Asia.
As the Leader of the Islamic Revolution reiterated, in our foreign policy, we should prefer the east to the west and neighboring countries to distant countries in order to safeguard the national interests of our country. It is evident that establishing relations with the countries which have common interests with us is preferable to relations with those whose interests might even clash with ours.
As for the Russians, they have had good experiences alongside the Islamic Republic as a result of their outlook towards global developments and towards Iran as an outstanding regional power. Of course, the role of Martyr Hajj Qassem Soleimani in ensuring maximum security for the region is undeniable in this regard. Paying attention to the positive experience between Iran and Russia during their cooperation in Syria, despite the US opposition, shows that more cooperation experiences can be witnessed between Iran and Russia in the future.
White House developments have no impact on Iran’s strategic relations
The Speaker of the Islamic Consultative Majlis’s trip to Russia was made after certain introductions. In the first week after the formation of the 11th Majlis, Mr. Volodin – the Chairman of the Russian State Duma, who is close to Mr. Putin – sent a special representative to Tehran to express their congratulations for the beginning of the new Majlis’s term and he held an official invitation letter for the Speaker of the Majlis to Moscow.
This trip made at this important juncture, during which new incomers have entered the White House, conveys the message to the Islamic Republic’s allies in the region that Iran will no longer waste time playing the game begun by the new people in the White House and the US government or the other three European governments in the JCOPOA (France, England, Germany) and that every decision made in the White House will not change, in any way, the Islamic Republic’s outlook towards the preservation, reinforcement and development of Tehran’s strategic relations with Moscow and Peking and the Islamic Republic’s long-term outlook towards Asia as an important player in the contemporary century. It also states that the US and Europe have run, not running, out of time already.
Regional sides in collaboration with the Islamic Republic should know that the White House developments cannot influence our strategic relations. The Leader of the Islamic Revolution felt the necessity to convey this message to Russia at this period of time: A strategic message prepared by considering the new international circumstances.
I was personally present at the meeting where the Leader’s message was transferred. Mr. Volodin was to receive the message, not as the Chairman of the State Duma, but as Mr. Putin’s special representative. Russia had already announced, through an official letter, that a special representative in Moscow would receive the message so that the receipt of the Leader’s message will not be put off due to Covid-19 protocols. That was why Mr. Volodin was chosen as the Russian President’s special representative. An hour later, we found out that Mr. Putin had read the latter and paid special attention to it.
Putin’s Russia is fundamentally different from the Former Soviet Union
Putin’s Russia is not the same as the Soviet Union and the eastern communist bloc. Putin’s Russia is also different from pre-Putin Russia. We will certainly benefit from developing and strengthening our cooperation with countries such as Russia. The missing link in Iran-Russia relations is lack of close understanding between the people of the two countries. An understanding of prominent cultural characteristics of each country can prepare the ground for strengthening economic and financial cooperation in many areas which range from mutual cooperation on vaccine production and sharing experiences in fighting against Coronavirus to a wide scope of economic and financial activities, fishery, cooperation in security, defensive and political areas, and rail and road transportation such as the North-South corridor. We could even define serious and new cooperation in the area of power plants, particularly in atomic and thermal power plants.
1- This is referring to the slogan “Neither East nor West, but the Islamic Republic,” which means not depending on Eastern or Western blocs and seeking the Islamic Republic of Iran’s independence.