What did President Putin discuss with his Iranian counterpart President Hassan Rouhani during the phone call that was held between them shortly after agreeing to extend Iran’s nuclear talks in Vienna? Almost certainly, this was the most important event.
According to the Kremlin statement, though it did not provide sufficient details about the phone conversation, the two presidents discussed the “substantial progress” in the last round of talks in Vienna and stressed the necessity of clinching a comprehensive nuclear agreement. Putin and Rouhani
“They also discussed current issues in key areas of bilateral cooperation, including the implementation of the joint projects”. However, “Al-Mayadeen” News TV quoted some “sources”, most probably Iranians, as saying that Putin assured Rouhani that Russia will not allow the nuclear negotiations to continue for a long time, and will not also allow removal of the sanctions imposed against Iran to be delayed any longer.
As stated by “Al-Mayadden”, Moscow showed readiness to strengthen strategic bilateral alliance, including coordination with China to break the sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic. Moreover, with reference to President Rouhani’s initiative to call his Russian counterpart, does this initiative in this sensitive time reflect the fact that the Iranian president has a tendency of establishing strategic ties or is it merely a diplomatic step to thank Moscow for its tireless efforts to save the Vienna negotiations? Perhaps the answer to the two aforementioned questions depicts the features of the next phase, regionally and internationally.
Russia is also at present facing Western sanctions which cost the Russians, in a few months, more than one hundred billion dollars. Definitely, they will not accept to go on with this economic and financial attrition. Moscow will thus be in front of two options: either accepting a “subordinate” role to the major Western powers politically that leads accordingly to losing the strategic achievements accomplished during President Putin’s era, or heading hastily towards building a self-reliant global economic and financial system and renouncing the Western one.
Of course, in the context of this option, Iran will most likely play a key role in building a solid trio with Russia and China in the framework of the BRICS group of fast-growing, major non-Western economies, which include also India, Brazil and South Africa. A question remains, why is Iran enjoying this advantage exclusively? This comes because it does not only act as an economic value, but also as a strategic, military and defense-based one; especially regarding its Arab allies in Syria, Lebanon-Hezbollah, and Iraq. It is noteworthy that Syria is Russia’s old ally, and the Russians consider Hezbollah as a regional power and an ally and they are seeking to restore their positions in Iraq.
Possibly, the tendency towards creating strategic alliance with Iran is already settled in Russia, for it is, in essence, an expression of a strategic need for preserving the Russian growing influence. Yet, is this the case in Iran too? It is well known that the current Iranian policy is the product of disagreement between two movements: the Revolutionary movement led by Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, and the Liberal movement, led by Rouhani. The two movements most prominently disagree on files related to the position on Syria and the Iranian aids to the Syrians.
The Revolutionary movement seeks to provide Damascus with further multi-format support, while the Liberal movement seeks the opposite. Perhaps its aim behind this is not only saving the cost of Syria’s support, so as to improve the domestic spending, but also courting the West to reach an agreement on the nuclear issue, allowing by this the lifting of sanctions on Iran and overcoming the economic and financial difficulties.
Doubtless, it has tactical relations with Moscow and it is benefiting from them to improve the conditions for reconciliation talks with the West. Yet, Russia is facing a complex problem with these two movements. The Revolutionary movement is a strategic ally with no uncertainty or hesitation in the face of the West, but it disagrees with Moscow on issues related to several files, including, for example, the position on political Islam, on the regime of the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and on the authority in Ramallah. This comes particularly since Moscow believes that the Palestinian authority is its ally and thus it supports its political line.
The dispute over these files would never remain a theoretical or collapsible one, but it would be transformed into a political dispute. However, the Rouhani liberal movement seems to be in harmony with Russia in its way of mastering the world and the era, but it is untrustworthy in terms of looking forward to reaching understanding with the West on the one hand and in terms of supporting Syria, which constitutes the jewel of the Russian crown, on the other hand. At the moment, it is a golden international opportunity for Iran to reposition itself as part of a Russian-Chinese Alliance that would fix the Iranian internal contradiction.
This re-positioning allows Iran, at the same time, to maintain its independence and to preserve its policies regarding the West, as well as to solve its economic and financial problems. Hence, are we going to witness an internal understanding within the Iranian policy that would adopt this approach, or we are going to witness a struggle that paralyzes the possibility of taking advantage of the opportunity instead?
I believe that the two parties, Russia and Iran, could gain profound insight into the strategic relationship that existed between the Soviets and Abdul Nasser’s Egypt. It was a strategic relationship, despite the ideological differences, and was even at times a political one between the two sides. The West does not intend to establish peaceful relations and to cooperate with Russia and Iran, but rather intends to weaken both of them internally. In actual fact, those who do not want to realize this are deluded, and those who do not prioritize the bilateral alliance are waiving the principal interests of the country and its future.
Source: Al-Manar Website