Iran’s former ambassador to Moscow
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is the first high-ranking Russian official to travel to Iran since the incumbent Iranian administration took office. I believe this is a favorable opportunity for both countries to strengthen their bilateral, regional, and international cooperation in the face of Western pressures.
Since Russia launched its military operation against Ukraine, which jeopardized Russia’s relationship with Europe, Moscow is recruiting allies with open arms. Coincidentally, Iran has many common interests and positions with Russia in the areas of security, politics, and economy.
For one thing, both countries are under sanctions. Although, I personally believe that having faith in the long-lost efficacy of sanctions is a delusion. In reality, Europe and the US depend on Iran and Russia. Tehran and Moscow are major sources of energy for consumers globally. Europe is currently dealing with an inflation crisis, and the price of energy has gone up by 30 percent. The prolongation of this situation is not in favor of European countries, which are large consumers of oil and gas.
Despite having remarkable technological capabilities, Iran and Russia have been selling their crude oil for years while both countries could have exported petroleum products with a higher added value, bringing in more revenues. As such, Tehran and Moscow can help each other out in this respect.
In addition to the issue of energy, which is the ace in the hands of both countries against the West, Tehran and Moscow can cooperate in the field of agriculture, jointly supplying food to their friends. Both countries also have manifold opportunities for industrial cooperation. Iran manufactures many products including medication that Russia currently imports from Europe. Considering its complicated relationship with Europe, Moscow is eager to import high-quality Iranian products, which is another opportunity for Iran’s economy.
I imagine that in Lavrov’s constructive meeting with the Iranian president and foreign minister, some mechanisms will surely be worked out to increase trade volume and strengthen cooperation, thereby offsetting Western sanctions.
The Foreign Ministry acts as a compass for a country’s international relations. When experts at Iran’s Foreign Ministry have assessed that expanding cooperation with Russia will secure the country’s economic and political interests, other Iranian institutions should adjust themselves to the assessment.
Now, Tehran and Moscow evidently have a better chance to promote their cooperation, as pro-West figures in Iran and Russia are no longer in charge. On top of that, Lavrov’s visit can build up momentum for efforts to boost Iran-Russia cooperation.