Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, is expected to visit Russian President Vladimir Putin in the coming days to renew the 20-year treaty between the two countries, according to state-run media.
“The president will leave for Russia on January 19 at Putin’s invitation,” the state-run daily Farhikhtegan said on January 1.
“Russia has never considered Iran a strategic ally,”
The trip comes as the regime’s state media and several officials, including some former Revolutionary Guards members, have denounced Russia’s stance on the regime on several occasions.
“Russia has never considered Iran a strategic ally,” Hossein Alai, the former commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force, was reported by state-run daily Arman on January 2 as stating. Russia has always used Iran as a bargaining chip in its disputes with the US. Russia, which competes with Iran in the oil and gas industry, opposes Iranian gas exports to Europe because it sees Europe as a market.
“Russia has always voted against Iran’s nuclear programme in the UN Security Council, and some of them were proposed by the Russian government during Ahmadinejad’s presidency, when the majority of resolutions against Iran were issued.” Russia opposes Iran’s enrichment cycle and believes that expanding nuclear knowledge in Iran is not in its best interests.”
The regime’s relationship with Russia was similarly labelled as non-strategic by the state-run publication Jahan-e-Sanat on the same day.
“In the best of circumstances, Russia’s relationship with Iran can be described as tactical,” it stated.
Jahan Sanat: Russia has often deceived the regime
According to Jahan Sanat, Russia has often deceived the regime, such as when Security Council resolutions condemning the regime’s nuclear programme were passed. Russia allied with the West, particularly the US, and voted in favour of many of them, or abstained from vetoing them.
The state-run newspaper Raisi was also chastised by Jomhouri Eslami:
“By moving to long-term agreements with China and Russia, we have turned the ‘neither East nor West’ policy into a one-way street that leads East.”
“Despite making the most of our military power in Syria to protect its strategic regional interests, Russia has refused to support us in the face of Israeli attacks on Iranian bases in Syria.”
“Russia’s presence in Syria is intended to protect Russia’s sphere of influence and regional sovereignty.” On January 2, the Russians refused to deliver Iran the weaponry that they had given to several of our neighbours in the region,” Jomhouri Eslami wrote.
Russia is not a strategic friend of the regime
The benefits of Russia’s contacts with other countries, particularly Western ones, considerably outweigh the benefits of its relations with the Iranian government.
In light of this, many regional observers feel that Russia is not a strategic friend of the regime and that Russia’s interests in the area, Central Asia, and the Caucasus conflict with the regime’s on a number of issues.
Another concern is that whenever the regime faces a domestic crisis and becomes increasingly isolated regionally and internationally, countries like Russia are compelled to separate themselves from it and pursue their own interests with other countries, particularly those in the area.
Nonetheless, because of Tehran’s global isolation, the government is forced to negotiate with Russia and China, which explains Raisi’s need to travel to Russia to renew his 20-year accord. The contract with Russia, like the 25-year “strategic pact” with China, will be met with disdain and resistance by the Iranian people, who oppose auctioning off Iran’s resources in order to keep the regime in power.