6 June 2014, 14:39

Strategic cooperation between Russia and Iran

Strategic cooperation between Russia and Iran
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In a recent televised interview, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said there would be "a new dynamic" in relations between Tehran and Moscow.

Diplomatic exchanges between Russia and Iran have been on the rise over the past few months, with President Putin and Rouhani maintaining close contact.

The two leaders first met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Bishkek last September, reiterating their intention to expand bilateral cooperation. Addressing his Iranian counterpart, Mr. Putin noted that relations between Moscow and Tehran were developing steadily at different levels.

"We know that the Iranian nuclear issue has become a focus of attention in world affairs today, but we in Russia also know that Iran is our country's good neighbor. There has always been considerable cooperation between our countries and this will no doubt continue to be so," President Putin said.

The two countries have witnessed an increase in diplomatic and commercial ties during the post-Soviet era. Now they share a common stance on such pressing issues as the Syrian crisis, counter-terrorism and regional security.

Russia and Iran could further bolster their ties what with the Ukraine crisis and Moscow's strained relations with the West, particularly with the United States. That's according to Seyed Mohammad Marandi, Professor of North American Studies and Dean of the Faculty of World Studies at the University of Tehran.

"The fact that the US has simultaneously antagonized so many important players in the international community has brought many of these countries closer to one another. By antagonizing Russia, the US drew Russia towards China, towards Iran. By antagonizing China, the US pushed it towards Russia and Iran. And the same is true with Iran as well," Seyed Mohammad Marandi said.

Meanwhile, Moscow and Tehran are determined to enhance cooperation in such strategic areas as petroleum and nuclear energy. Earlier this year, the two countries Russia and Iran have reached a preliminary agreement to build at least two new nuclear power plants in the Islamic Republic in exchange for thousands of barrels of oil. The two power stations are due to be built in the city of Bushehr, the country's first nuclear power facility built with Russia's assistance.

Moscow has repeatedly supported Iran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and this support may become a crucial factor in shaping the strategic relationship between the two countries in the foreseeable future.

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