Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Iran Becoming Russia’s ‘Most Reliable Partner’ in Greater Middle East, Moscow Expert Says

Paul Goble


            Staunton, September 10 – Because both Russia and Iran are the object of sanctions by the West, Tehran is becoming Moscow’s “most reliable partner in the greater Middle East,” according to Aleksandr Sobyanin, head of the strategic planning service of the Russian Association for Border Cooperation.


            And as a result, Tehran is using the current visit of President Hasan Ruhani to Central Asia as part of its campaign for formal membership in three Moscow-led blocs, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Customs Union, and the Eurasian Economic Union (


            If that happens, Viktoriya Panfilova, an observer for “Nezavisimaya gazeta,” writes on the “Vestnik Kavkaza” portal today, that would “change the configuration of the Eurasian Union” and much else, including the level of international isolation of both Russia and Iran and the international community’s ability to count on Moscow concerning Tehran’s nuclear program.


            The Iranian president’s first stop on this tour of Central Asia was in Astana. There, President Nursultan Nazarbayev discussed with him cooperation between the Customs Union and Iran.  Tomorrow and Thursday, Ruhani will be in Dushanbe where he will participate in the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, of which Iran already has observer status.


            Because Iran is under sanctions, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization countries were reluctant to admit Tehran to the organization, but now that sanctions have been imposed on Russia as well, Sobyanin says that “today neither Russia nor China nor anyone else is opposed” to that step.


            “For the first time in modern history,” the Moscow expert continues, Iran has escaped from the role of a difficult partner and risen to the level of a strategic ally.” And the resulting “de-blockading” of both countries through this partnership is giving each greater freedom of action with respect to Europe and the United States.

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