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In Our Upside Down World, Russia and Iran Are the Aggressors

Despite a tumultuous past for Iranian-Russian relations, it looks as if they are only set to improve. Maybe because they're both surrounded by hostile military forces?

Johanna Ganyukova is a graduate from the University of Edinburgh in Russian Studies and is currently completing an Msc at the University of Glasgow in Russian, Central and Eastern European Studies. She is RI's Russian Media Editor

With talks finished in Lausanne, and the P5 + 1 having reached some kind of consensus with Iran, could it be that the US has finally realized that Iran will not abandon its national interests and desire for regional hegemony in return for Google access?

Although foreign policy theoreticians may suggest that the agreement reflects a new liberal approach to international relations by the parties concerned, the length of time it has taken to reach a solution mirrors the traditional realist approach of these states and their desire to maintain power. Time will tell if the agreement, finalized by the end of June, will be adhered to, let alone passed by the hawks of US Congress.

While researching the subject of Iranian-Russian relations recently, it became clear that US aggression over the years has played a central role in bringing Iran and Russia closer together after the fall of the Soviet Union. In my research, I stumbled across this image:

- which very much reminded me of the following:

Who is the aggressor then? Iran? Russia? Or a threat far more insidious? As they say, pictures say a thousand words. So we are told Iran is the threat. Iran, which, as Sophie Shevardnadze of RT rightly pointed out in a recent interview with the deputy Iranian foreign minister, is one of the few countries in the region NOT to have an internal Islamic extremist threat.

Two countries which, funnily enough, do seem to breed terrorists like frantically fornicating rabbits, are Afghanistan and Iraq, which...let me think...oh, yes, I think there was some US involvement there some time ago, and was so beautifully and heroically depicted in the recent blockbuster American Sniper. This connection between terrorism and US interference is not one which seems to be recognized by US policy makers, and instead of learning from past experience, there seems to be either an inherent desire for chaos and bloodshed, a general thirst for global hegemony, or a blind stupidity when making foreign policy decisions. Or, even more likely, a lethal combination of all three.

Despite a tumultuous past for Iranian-Russian relations, it looks as if they are only set to improve. The two countries are now in the same boat, suffering from US sanctions and very much the victims of this bully in the geopolitical playground. Lavrov’s recent stipulation that sanctions would have to be lifted by the US if Iran was to make the concessions required, indicates the extent to which the two powers are on the same page.

Another common area of cooperation between Iran and Russia is energy exports. Iran most certainly has the potential to increase production and to become more of a competitor to Russia in the oil export market as, according to the American EIA (Energy Information Administration), it currently comes fourth place in the list of the world’s largest untapped oil reserves. As for natural gas, it comes second to Russia and the former Soviet Union. The founding of the GECF or Gas Exporting Countries Forum was set up in an attempt to create increased cooperation in this area; however, this has not diffused competition over major importers such as Europe, Turkey and the Balkans. Hopefully the future will see increased collaboration in the energy sector, as the last thing this region needs is more US involvement.

As for the nuclear threat Iran supposedly poses, and which is continuously emphasized by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one has to ask, is this issue perhaps distracting us from another concern in the region - Israel’s very own nuclear capability? It is Israel, not Iran, which has been involved in constant conflict in the MIddle East with its Palestinian neighbors, and Israel, which is very guarded about its nuclear stockpile. In 2006, the Federation of American Scientists stated they believed Israel “could have produced enough plutonium for at least 100 nuclear weapons, but probably not significantly more than 200 weapons.” However, others have suggested more recently that this figure could be closer to 300. Does Netanyahu genuinely believe that Iran poses a threat, or is this, in fact, a clever way of distracting the international audience from the real danger. It is clear, for example, that the Israelis do not always play fair, as can be seen from recent Palestinian moves to take Israel to court in the Hague over war crimes.

Not that the Americans are particularly concerned about Netanyahu’s recent calls for a stricter stance on Iran. After 58 congressmen boycotted his recent address to the US Congress, it seems Israel is no longer hitting the right spot. Clearly other things are important to the American Empire — such as domination in the Middle East, and gaining as much control over world oil production as possible. It seems black gold carries weight, for the time being.

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