Russo-Iranian Relations

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Russo-Iranian Relations

Russo-Iranian Relations


In the past two decades, relations between Russia and Iran have improved considerably owing to their mutual interests of containing U.S hegemony in the world. The Iranian revolution of 1979 saw Iran turned from a close ally of the west to one of its fiercest adversary that posed a challenge to its interests. The post-1979 era saw major de-westernization steps in Iran that abruptly ended the western influence. The relations between Iran and Russia as such turned out to be greatly determined by the relations of both these countries with the western world. When Russia had strong relations with the west for a brief period during the 1990s, Russo-Iranian relations could not flourish. However, with the shift in Russian foreign policy by the mid of 1990s that focused on an independent one, the relations between the two states began to grow.

Russia has proved to be the staunchest supporter of Iran at international forums like the U.N and IAEA. Iran too has reciprocated by maintaining silence over the Russian onslaught in Chechnya and by a number of other steps.

Relations received a setback in 2010, when Russia announced the cancellation of the sale of S-300 system to Iran in the face of new U.N sanctions imposed on Iran. The sanctions were a result of Iran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment. The Russian President banned the sale of armed vehicles, helicopters and war planes to Iran which led to the Iranian president criticizing Russia for giving into U.S demands. However, lately in 2011, Russia opposed additional layers of sanctions on Iran. Russia has also been vocal against the threat of a western strike on Iran's nuclear site.


Diplomatic contact between Iran and Russia initiated in the second half of the fifteenth century. Commerce between the two countries gradually increased after 1552 when Russia, under Ivan the terrible, conquered the Kazan area that allowed for an opening of routes between the two states. Trade kept increasing till the seventeenth century. By the second half of the seventeenth century, Russia, occupied with other matters such as the schism of the church and internal rebellions severed its trade ties with Iran. However despite numerous obstacles trade kept continuing till the eighteenth century (Atkin, 1980). With the assumption of power by Peter the great, Russia began to look for an increase in trade with Iran. Modern relations between the two countries date to the late eighteenth century when the two states resorted to warfare for control of Caucasian borderlands. In the end, Russia was eventually successful, and the Caucasian borderlands fell to Russia. Russian desire to expand its trade resulted in the war. Russia was intent on hindering the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. In 1828, the second war between Iran and Russia resulted in Russia gaining the political, territorial and commercial allowances it had since long been seeking from Iran (Atkin, 1980).

Russian dominance increased by the end of the nineteenth century as Russia controlled a few Iranian cities and the central government had to look towards ...
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