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What does Iran think about Ukraine and how Western sanctions help to build up a Russia-Iran alliance.
Ukrainian crisis is being called the first international global conflict since the Cold War which has demonstrated actual situation in our unstable changing world.
We can now witness how the Western sanctions against Russia turn out to be a trigger of the establishment of an alliance which will try to oppose the world domination of the US.
Recently new significant players which are ready to step forward against the supremacy of the US have started to appear on the international stage. The most powerful of them are Russia, China and Iran. Iran's position on the Ukrainian question is rather simple and neutral. The Iranian government calls the safety in the region, promotes the idea of mutually profitable cooperation of the sides and also believes in peaceful solution of the conflict. According to the statement of the Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, "Iran is a calm harbor in the uneasy waters of regional storms".
However, Iran is considered to be one of the most important strategic partners of Russia not because of its neutral position on the Ukrainian conflict. The thing is, Iran has its own unresolved issues with the US and the EU. For the past few years the country has been trying to get rid of the negative consequences of the Western economical sanctions imposed on it.
When Tehran refused to stop its nuclear program in 2006, UNSC adopted a resolution about the imposition of economical sanctions on Iran. Those sanctions implied a stop of supplying Iran with equipment, technology and resources for nuclear and rocket program research. Thus, the whole energy and nuclear potential of the country remained non-realized and the trade with the West became difficult. So the government started to rely on its national economy only.
The 2006 sanctions were not the only attempt of the West to lessen Iran's influence in the Near East. During the last 35 years, starting from the Iran-Iraq War, the US has been neglecting Iran's authority in solving important issues in the Near East using sanctions as an offensive weapon and promoting "iranophobia". In the opinion of the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, the beloved American instrument of solving international problems (sanctions) is "unfair, inhuman, pointed against peace and humanity", it embodies "the using of the rule of force, not the rule of law".
We can easily draw parallels between the isolation of Iran and the recent changes in Russia's position due to the latest events in Ukraine. The countries of the West also used its "powerful weapon" – sanctions – against Russia in hopes of hitting the national economy. But sooner or later isolated countries learn to overcome the consequences of the Western sanctions. They team up and use cooperation and trade in order to be able to have a great impact on the world's economy: they create a powerful alternative to Western production in the form of cheap manufactured and consumer products and energy, and this can lead to global problems for the economy of the blooming West.
And such unions have started to appear. The other day Russia and Iran signed an important treaty which was assessed by national and Western mass media as the "deal of the century".
Alliance with Russia
One side of the medal
Why Iran is considered to be one of the strategically important partners of Russia? First of all, Iran is one of the richest countries in Asia, the territories of which contain about 10% of world's oil (8 billion ton, 5th in the world) and 14% of world's gas (23 trillion cubic meters, 2nd in the world), also big reserves of iron and aluminum ore, zinc, copper and other minerals. That's why through cooperating Russia and Iran will become more influential players on the market of oil and gas.
Second of all, Russia and Iran have common strategic interests. The last two decades were marked by the rapid spread of American influence in the East: the US placed their military bases near borders of the two countries, in the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf and in the Middle Asia, thus interfering with the interests of Moscow and Tehran in their security. Both Russia and Iran are concerned about such behavior of the Americans, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin commented on this: "Americans believe in their oneness and "chosenness", in the fact that they are allowed to decide upon the world's fate". That's why it's important for Russia and Iran to strengthen their defense communications.
The deal of the century, in revenge to the USA
Moscow and Tehran have been conducting negotiations about the commodity deal since the end of the last year. According to the deal, Russia will supply Iran with technical equipment for oil product recycling and also with various consumer products. In its turn, Iran planned to supply Russia with oil that would become the property of Russian oil companies according to this treaty.
Despite the every possible pressure from the US and the statement that the deal is unacceptable as it "may change the regional and global balance and give the Iran the feeling of freedom from the sanctions", in the beginning of August, 2014 the 5-year treaty was signed, enabling the Iranian oil to be sold on the global market.
Simply speaking, as per this Russia-Iran treaty, for the following five years a part of Iran oil will be sold to Russia at the price lower than the market one. Of course, the deal would be considered unprofitable for Iran if the country wasn't drowning in the Western sanctions and the Iranian oil wasn't banned. But in the situation when the country is partly isolated from the world, any possibility of commodity export and technical equipment import is considered to be a victory. As for Russia, it is as twice as profitable, because now it controls most of Iranian oil and thus becomes an energy center of the world.
Will Iran pull the wool over Russia's eyes?
However, any economical, political or international alliance always has a weak link that is able to destroy the alliance of cooperating countries. Here this link is a connection between Iran's nuclear program and Western sanctions towards it.
In November the UNSC will once again bring up the questions about the sanctions towards Iran. What if after the commodity treaty between Russia and Iran, Tehran will agree to partly delaunch its nuclear plans which are the main reason for the sanctions? Then the country will become able to sell its own resources freely on any foreign market and get more money than it will get from Russia by the treaty. Iranian government must understand that Tehran will have to make sacrifices any way – either they realize their nuclear program and go on executing the unprofitable treaty and together with that have wide perspectives of creating a united alliance with China, or they pause the program and get a chance to free themselves from the Western sanctions, i.e. an opportunity to realize their whole energy potential and acquire "economical freedom".
This is the choice to be made by Iran.