mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
The Deal
Why Did Russia Back the Iran Deal?
Features Icon
Features
show comments
  • f1b0nacc1

    Another possibility (or rather an additional reason) is that Putin realized that sales to Iran are probably going to happen anyway, even within the next 5 years, while pushing back on all of this wasn’t going to get him anything anyway.

  • wigwag

    “Iran’s rulers may be radical Islamists as intolerant and imperialist as ISIS, but Russia sees the Shi’a Islamism of Iran as an ally against what it really fears: radical Sunni Islamist groups that start to operate inside Russia itself — in the still-restive Caucasus, as well as in other regions of great interest to Russia in the former Soviet Union countries of Central Asia. Iran sees Sunni jihadis as rivals and, Russians believe, has been helpful in preventing Sunni jihadis from entering Russian territory through the lower Caucasus.” (Walter Russell Mead)

    “Who can hold a fire in his hand by thinking on the frosty Caucasus? Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite by bare imagination of a feast? (William Shakespeare, Richard, II, Act 1, Scene 3)

  • Dhako

    Walter,

    As a well-versed Geo-strategical theoretician, I found it rather disappointed where your argument is concern. Particularly when in fact, one knows how easy to read the larger strategical game Russia is playing with Iran deal. In other words, even, knowing you being a someone who is out there looking out for American’s interest, who therefore, in turn wouldn’t like to advertise the long-term consequences of this Iran deal, since it will rebound in the positive sense to the Russian’s position in the global scale as well as diminish US’s position in a commensurate proportion, one find it difficult to believe you are this blind when it comes to reading the larger tea-leaves of this deal.

    And by that, I mean, granted, this deal will bring forth a larger oil output for Iran in the immediate time-scale that is ahead of us. But, put that side-by-side to the larger outcome it will bring forth, will mean, the Russians are a net strategical gainers of this deal.

    And, by that I mean, the Iranian – regardless of whether this deal stays in the book in so far as the US is concern, which means, Hillary when she becomes a president by 2017 will elect to continue in faithfully abiding by it – will always be at best a lukewarm friend with the US (or at least a superficial friend), or at worse, it will be a strategical competitor in the cold sense of that word. Hence, it’s unlikely that stars will ever align for the US and Iran when it comes to them seeing the world, in the manner China and US saw things when USSR was still an enemy of both of them.

    Consequently, that large gap of common interest makes the Iranian will always lean on Russia (strategically) and China on economical terms, so that together, they will be her insurance policy against any mischief-making by hostile US’s government down the line, or at least, seeing to it, that once this sanctions are lifted, then, there will be impossible to be reimposed them against, since, Russia will always use her veto at the UNSC at the behest of Iran. And, that means, effectively, IRAN will be a junior partner in the Middle-East for Russian’s interest, as much as Syria does that role now.

    Hence the fact that Russia will lose in economical sense from Iran’s Oil is simple fades into insignificant when you compare it what Russia will gain from cementing strategical alignment with Iran, in-terms of getting her on Russia side withing the competing powers of the Middle-East.

    So, in that sense, it’s a well considered investment for Russia, since gaining nation into your strategical column is priceless in money-wise, since, US would be helping a future Russian’s friend to become an economical power house in the region that country will exist.

    In other words, US is adding a new queen into the chess-board, but instead of that queen piece being on her side of the board, the US has seen fit to add that piece on the Russian’s side of the board, and all Russia is doing to get that “helpful” hand from the US, is that she is paying up-front cost for that privilege, so that, in the longer time-scale the Russian will have an extra piece on the chess-board to which to compete against the US. This is the game the Russians are playing. Hence, the reason the Russians are not that disturb about the up-front cost this re-alignment is likely to cost them.

  • Anthony

    WRM, your piece brings to mind (consideration nee “acts of power”) concept instant focus of relevant totality. That is, Russia (Putin) may have acted from instantaneous apprehension of the totality – while recognizing all pertinent players (striking and maneuvering some label it). That said, there is no need to belabor the common sense admonition of seeing the big picture or getting the full story but a review of comparative strategy is always instructive.

  • Fat_Man

    I would not cite Sunni Shi’a conflicts uncritically. Hamas is Sunni, and Iran has no problem backing them.

  • Sarastro92

    Russia has skin in the game, namely the sale of more reactors in Iran. Iran can also provide agricultural products that will allow Russia to skirt the sanctions regime. It’s good that Russia is diversifying this way.

    Secondly, if there is a US-Israel plan to attack Iran, Russia can play a deterrent role if the Chinese are part of an alliance… which they will be if they’re investing heavily in Iran.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service