23 April: Iran and Russia Boost Strategic Partnership Amid Western Sanctions
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi paid a visit to Moscow on Friday, where he met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and discussed various issues of mutual interest, such as trade, energy, security, and regional developments.
The two leaders expressed their satisfaction with the level and quality of cooperation between the two countries, especially in the face of Western sanctions and pressures. They also signed several agreements and projects that aim to enhance their economic and strategic ties.
One of the main outcomes of the visit was the agreement to use national currencies in trade transactions, instead of the US dollar or other foreign currencies. This move is expected to facilitate bilateral trade and reduce the impact of US sanctions on both countries.
Another important achievement was the progress on the North-South Transport Corridor, a multimodal network of rail, road, and sea routes that connects India, Iran, Russia, and other Eurasian countries. The project is seen as a way to boost trade and connectivity in the region, as well as to counter the US-led Indo-Pacific strategy.
The two sides also agreed to cooperate on the construction of a second unit of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran, which is expected to be completed by 2026. The project is part of a broader nuclear cooperation agreement between Iran and Russia, which is in line with the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers.
Moreover, Iran and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to work together on resolving the Syrian crisis and the Afghan peace process. They stressed the need for a political solution that respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both countries, as well as the interests of all regional actors.
The visit was seen as a sign of the strategic partnership that has developed between Iran and Russia in recent years. The two countries share common interests and views on many global and regional issues, such as opposing US hegemony, supporting multipolarity, and defending their national sovereignty.
However, the visit also highlighted some of the challenges or disagreements that may affect Iran-Russia relations in the future. For instance, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, where Russia is accused of invading and annexing parts of its neighbor’s territory, has raised concerns among some Iranian officials and analysts about Moscow’s intentions and reliability.
Another issue that may complicate Iran-Russia relations is the nuclear talks with the West, which have been stalled for months due to disagreements over sanctions relief and verification measures. While Russia supports Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy, it also wants to preserve its own interests and relations with other parties involved in the negotiations.
Furthermore, the human rights situation in both countries may also pose a challenge for their relationship. Both Iran and Russia face criticism from international organizations and civil society groups for their violations of human rights and democratic principles. This may limit their ability to gain legitimacy and support from other countries or actors.
In conclusion, Iran and Russia have strengthened their strategic partnership amid Western sanctions and pressures. They have achieved several successes in various fields of cooperation, such as trade, energy, security, and regional developments. However, they also face some potential challenges or disagreements that may affect their relationship in the future. They will need to balance their interests and values with those of other stakeholders in order to maintain their partnership and influence in the international arena.