Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist, wrote an op-ed to explain why the Iranian Regime is attempting to come between the two world powers and how improved US-Russia relations could help defeat the Iranian Regime.
The US and Russia are currently divided on many issues from involvement in Syria to the 2016 American elections, but Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has hit out at the US and said that America should strengthen its ties with NATO members, while Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has accused the US of threatening Russia.
So, a fight between the two powers may distract the world’s media attention but how does it benefit the Iranian Regime?
First, it will increase ties between Russia and Iran who are both fighting on behalf of Bashar Assad in Syria.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh wrote: “The Iranian regime benefits from any heightened tension between Russia and the US because Moscow would then be obliged to strengthen its alliances against Washington. It follows that Russia will boost its military and political cooperation with Tehran and support a regime that holds anti-Americanism at the top of its foreign policy agenda.”
This is important to the Iranian Regime because they desperately need Russian military, geopolitical and technological assistance, as the Iranian military is nowhere near advanced enough to have that themselves, although the Regime can supply armed forces in the form of its secret police the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), paramilitaries like the Quds Force, and terrorist proxies like Hezbollah.
Second, Iran needs Russia in order bypass international sanctions, gain global “legitimacy”, and obtain the most advanced weaponry and nuclear technology.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh wrote: “This helps the regime evade responsibility and accountability for its aggression in the region and its human rights violations… Maintaining strategic, economic and geopolitical relationships with Russia is so critical for Iran that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who rarely meets with world leaders, has met with representatives of the Kremlin several times.”
The Iranian Regime has used many tactics over the years to keep Russia on side, such as allowing the Russian military to have a base in Iran to bomb Syria.
What can be done to stop Iran from succeeding?
The West should remind Russia that its economic and political relationships with the US and European countries far outstrip its ties to Iran and that Iran poses a threat to Russia as well by reducing its oil revenues.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh wrote: “Improved ties between the US and Russia could endanger the Iranian regime’s revolutionary objectives, but the Iranian regime is playing its cards wisely. By playing the US and Russia off against each other, Tehran is ultimately advancing its regional hegemonic ambitions.”