0137 GMT January 21, 2021
Today, Western countries have to take into account the interests and considerations of Iran and Russia when formulating their regional policies, said the Iranian president's chief of staff.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Mahmoud Vaezi added at present, Iran and Russia have gone beyond conventional domains in their bilateral ties and have taken effective steps toward designing and laying the foundations for forming partnerships in strategic fields.
He noted that the diverse spectrum of cooperation between Iran and Russia has given a strategic dimension to relations between the two countries, which are being expanded at all levels.
The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation have, in recent years, strengthened their longstanding and historical relations in different sectors within a mutually beneficial framework and increased their interactions at regional and international levels by overcoming the ups and downs in their ties in previous centuries.
Many analysts describe the relations between the two countries as close or quasi-strategic. In addition to the reality that the two countries are neighbors and share a maritime border, from which arise obligations for both sides, Tehran and Moscow understand each other’s geopolitical weight and significance as well as influential position and power in regional equations, and are in the path of expanding their strategic cooperation.
The aggressive and unilateral policies of the US aimed at establishing political, economic and military dominance over independent regions, resources and countries have opened up new areas for both states to expand their bilateral, regional and international cooperation and draw new redlines for Washington and its totalitarianism and adventurism in West Asia.
Iran has managed, through forming coalitions with different countries, to expand its regional cooperation and increase its capacities in the face of excessive demands, pressures and sanctions by transregional powers by enhancing its interactions with regional organizations such as Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
This comes as, the effectiveness, sustainability and usefulness of such relations have often been questioned and criticized by Iranian elites, analysts and public opinion. On the other hand, some other analysts stress the need for institutionalizing such relations.
Commenting on the structure and quality of the ties between Iran and Russia and their future, Vaezi also underlined the strategic importance of Tehran-Moscow relations and the two countries’ prospects for cooperation.
A few days ago, in response to Russian’s offer of mediation between Iran and the US, Vaezi said Tehran does not intend to hold negotiations with Washington.
Excerpts of the interview follow:
IRAN DAILY: Taking a brief glance at the historical background of relations between Iran and Russia, it is clearly implied that their ties have gradually become stronger and more sustainable. How do you analyze the dimensions of these relations in the contemporary era?
MAHMOUD VAEZI: Relations between Iran and Russia can be analyzed on three levels: International, regional, and bilateral. The international level pertains to their cooperation for establishing peace and ensuring security across the globe, supporting each other in international assemblies and promoting multilateralism and international law.
The regional level includes a relatively wide spectrum of collaborations between the two sides, such as their cooperation in the Middle East, Persian Gulf, the Caucasus region and Central Asia, Afghanistan, Syria and Venezuela as well as the fields of fighting terrorism, extremism and separatism.
It also covers cooperation in resolving regional crises and implementing the International North-South Transport Corridor as well as transportation and transit sectors.
The two countries also collaborate with each other in the Caspian Sea and within the frameworks of regional organizations such as Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
The third level is related to their bilateral cooperation, which covers a very diverse and broad spectrum, encompassing collaborations in political, military, security, economic, trade, scientific, technological and cultural sectors.
These relations are:
Thus, the diverse spectrum of the cooperation between Iran and Russia has given a strategic dimension to relations between the two countries, which are being expanded at all levels. The main feature of their relations in the contemporary era is that both countries are on the path of constantly and increasingly overlapping and complementing each other.
How do you assess the level of the two countries’ relations under the present circumstances, given the world’s geopolitical developments and the game being played by major powers?
Geopolitics is an inevitable and determining component in regulating foreign relations. Geographical proximity has given a special dimension to relations between the two countries in the form of neighborly policies. Having a common border and being located on the shores of the same sea create mutual economic and cultural links between two countries and connect them with each other. In addition, political, economic and security threats and interests also connect neighbors with each other. Relations are at their highest level when two neighbors stand against the excessive demands of a common enemy and decide to put together their capacities and capabilities to defend their sovereignty. Iran and Russia have always shown an inclination toward synergizing and deepening their efforts and relations with each other. It appears as if they both have deemed necessary and inevitable establishing close and friendly relations with each other.
Thus, in addition to the originality of their longstanding neighborly ties, the political events and developments have placed Iran and Russia in a united front where they prevent hegemonic powers from gaining access to the region’s resources. Iran and Russia have currently gone beyond conventional domains in their bilateral ties and have taken effective steps toward designing and laying the foundations for forming partnerships in strategic fields.
They even have had effective cooperation in the fields of fighting terrorism and extremism and establishing peace and stability in West Asia. Today, Western countries have to take into account the interests and considerations of Iran and Russia when formulating their regional policies.
Given Russia’s role in developing the technology for Iranian nuclear power plants, some maintain that the two countries’ cooperation in this field may create distrust among some neighboring states toward Tehran. What’s your take on this?
We defend and encourage maximum transparency and international supervision in and over our nuclear activities and have always acted in accordance with international mechanisms. Nuclear collaborations between Iran and Russia are transparent, legal and under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Naturally, Russia would not cooperate with Iran if it were not in coordination with the IAEA and compliance with its regulations. If the new nuclear activities of some of our neighbors have the same level of transparency, trust will be built among our countries.
What message can cooperation between Iran and Russia, and their agreement to strengthen relations under the present circumstances, have for the US? To what extent can such cooperation reduce the impacts of the sanctions?
By linking their complementary trade, economic, financial and technological sectors, Iran and Russia, both under US economic pressures, have proved that Washington’s sanctions will fail to produce favorable results for the White House. The US has also realized that the policy of pressures and sanctions against Iran and Russia has not only ended in failure, but also promoted greater unity between Tehran and Moscow, which are the targets of Washington’s illegal penalties. Fostering national solidarity and relying on domestic capabilities are the most important tools for minimizing the impacts of the sanctions. In addition, forming coalitions with countries of the same attitude and stance is a solution for promoting national resilience. The era of US’ uncontested dominance over the world is coming to an end; the paradigm of power is shifting.