Iran and Russia: Between Pragmatism and Possibilities of a Strategic Alliance
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After 2012, Russia and Iran have been actively trying to bring their bilateral relations to a new level. Yet, in spite of all efforts, it is difficult to see the dialogue between the two countries transforming into a full-fledged alliance. Although the drivers that brought Moscow and Tehran together were strong, the destiny of Russian–Iranian ‘marriage of convenience’ depends on a number of factors. Thus, the serious challenge for the continuation of interaction between Moscow and Tehran will be posed by questions related to the future of post-conflict Syria. Apart from the issue of Assad’s replacement, Russia and Iran may not come to terms about the Kurdish rights in new Syria or the country’s form of governance. Another challenge for the Russian–Iranian dialogue is related to the Russian diplomatic strategy in the Middle East which is based on the principle of balancing between the key regional players. Too close relations with Tehran might negatively affect the dynamics of Russian–Israeli or Russian–Saudi dialogues. Moreover, in many cases, Russia and Iran were forced to cooperate with each other; otherwise, they would have preferred different partners. Consequently, it is possible to conclude that by 2017 Russian–Iranian dialogue has already reached its maximum potential.
KeywordsRussia Strategic alliance Putin SCO summit Pragmatism
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