Iran and Russia getting much closer
Iran President Rouhani announced recently that he expects Russian relations to improve substantially, especially after the planned Intergovernmental Committee meeting scheduled for Dec 13, 2016.
A few days earlier, the Iran Minister of Defense announced that Russian war planes may, if necessary, use Iranian air bases. Additionally, Russian analysts have opined that Iran may be ready to change its legislation to allow Russia to rent a permanent air base for 5 or more years.
The news of Iran’s intent to buy $ 10 Billion of Su-30 war planes, has been rumored, announced and discussed throughout this year. However, a few days ago, Iran’s Minister of Defense denied such a deal, stating that Iran plans to, eventually, modernize its air force.
Tactically, Iran has to counter the possibility that the US reverses the signed Nuclear Accord and re-imposes hurtful sanctions. Also, without the cover of a nuclear agreement and a UN “good conduct certificate”, Iran may again find itself in the crosshairs of an Israeli, long desired, air attack. On top of that, Iran has its well-publicized regional difficulties.
If the “Very Strong” and the “Strong” are against you, an alliance with an opposing “Very Strong” party may be a good tactical move.
Potential Benefits of a Russian Ally:
1) Enemies will have to think twice before attacking you.
2) Iran may not be legally able to buy Russian jets without UN Security Council approval, and if it does apply, its request is likely to be vetoed by the US. The next best thing, is to have the Russian jets in Iran – in an Iranian Russian base?
3) With a Russian base, Russia can install a variety of, not only the S300 very sophisticated missile defense system, but also the top-of-the line new S400 system (as it is for installed for a Russian base). And later, probably, the newer S500 system. This will really complicate and frustrate any belligerent intent by one and all.
4) Turkish / Iranian relations are slowly improving, but can always flare up. Especially when, after their liberation from Daesh, the issue of Mosul and northern & west Iraq sovereignty arises. The Russian known position against Turkish de facto control of these territories, would be a big asset.
5) China, another “Very Strong” party is already very close to Russia, and is also likely to support Iran, tacitly or explicitly.
a) It would encourage more trade with Russia. This is a two-way trade of manufactured goods, grain and fresh produce.
b) Possible oil swaps to increase Russian oil sales shipped out of Iranian Ports.
c) The much discussed “Great Shipping Canal” from the Caspian Sea to the Gulf. Together with OBOR (the new China Silk Road) it will certainly change the world trade patterns, and Iran is getting onboard at a very early stage.
d) Russian tourism to Iran is beginning to develop, and could rapidly compete as a destination with Egypt and Turkey.
e) Iran is already in or about to join a variety of Russian led or instigated, Asian trade agreements and banking & development institutions.
f) Iran has joined Russia and China in the de-Dollarization of their trade into their local currencies.
The above addresses Iran’s possible tactical actions and plans. As for its strategy, that is something different.