by Emad Abshenass *
When the former Soviet Union collapsed, and the eastern bloc called the “Warsaw Pact” collapsed, there was hope to end the role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and start a new era of international relations, based on dealings between countries instead of hostility, with the starting point of competition between them to build a new world where the people that live in it are at peace without fear of the outbreak of new wars in which weapons of mass destruction are used, which could uproot humanity from its foundation. Many countries even opened their doors and policies to such a new situation.
During the era of the former Iranian President, Mohammad Khatami, Tehran offered to start a dialogue of civilizations and registered this project with the United Nations. Russia offered to dismantle and destroy all nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, so that it came to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the time to offer Russia’s accession to NATO if there was a fear of a return of Russia’s hostility to the member states of this alliance.
However, what happened is that the greed of the ruling body behind the scenes in the United States of America and Western countries preferred to exploit the new situation in order to include new countries in their sphere of influence, and to steal the resources of these countries through neo-colonial policies.
The new colonial policies are based on Machiavellian ideas, whereby these countries, through them, do not need to occupy other countries, but rather need to impose client rulers from among the people of the country in order to implement the demands.
In practice, even the ruling lobbies in Western countries work on the basis of this policy as well, as they do not waste their time and go public to assume government positions, but rather install political figures and manage them from behind.
The occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya; the war that led to the fragmentation of Yugoslavia and Sudan; the color revolutions such as those that broke out in Ukraine, Georgia, Iran, Syria, China and Russia; and the collapse of the regimes of some Arab countries, Latin America, East Asia and Eastern Europe, were all the result of NATO’s new policies, which were working to re-shuffle the cards and reformulate a new system based on serving American interests, first and foremost. Some of them yielded results, as happened in Ukraine, others required military intervention by NATO, such as Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, and others failed relatively or completely, like Syria. Perhaps we need detailed articles on each of these revolutions and the collapse of regimes in order to understand the subject, in a detailed manner.
The continuation of the United States – which controls NATO – in its policies of extending the influence of the alliance to the east has led to the collapse of all that humanity had hoped for. Of course, countries find their national interests represented in confronting this expansion, because if they do not confront it now, tomorrow their turn will come. Accordingly, a group of these countries were able to escape American attempts to destroy and fragment them, such as Iran, Russia, China, India and several other countries.
It can be said that had it not been for the establishment of a resistance front to confront the American presence in Western Asia, the United States would have been able to impose its plan to divide the region into small states that would endlessly fight each other. It is the plan based on what was drawn by Bernard Lewis in 1974, and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defined it as the Road Plan, and the Atlantic newspaper titled it “Blood Borders”. It can be said that the war in Eastern Europe today is an extension of the war in Western Asia.
Although it was Russia that started the war in Ukraine, by starting its own operation in this country, we cannot deny that the Russian attack was not without backgrounds and factors that forced the Russians to take this decision.
Whoever is familiar with the situation of both Russia and Ukraine knows very well that Ukraine, for Russians, has its own peculiarity, as it represents a historical symbol for the Russian people, in addition to being considered the soft flank of Russia. If the United States is able to include Ukraine into NATO, this means breaking Russia’s back and will lead to its collapse, because NATO will be able to cross through Georgia and reach the former republics of the former Soviet Union and besiege Russia with ease.
In this context, other countries, such as Iran and China, are also interested in this situation. NATO’s expansion to the former republics of the Soviet Union means NATO’s access to the borders of these countries as well.
The first NATO provocations, with regard to Russia, China and Iran, began through Kazakhstan, where they tried to overthrow the regime there in 2022, and control this country that mediates the three countries. After Russia intervened, the attempt failed, and Russia was provoced, when in Ukraine, neo-Nazis were incited to attack Ukrainians of Russian origin, and Kiev carrying out joint military maneuvers with the United States and Britain in preparation for the occupation of Crimea and control over Russian-majority areas.
In any case, what matters to Iran is NATO’s permanent attempts to expand to the east, which threatens Iranian and Russian interests. On this basis, Russia and Iran have common strategic interests in confronting such projects, thus the strategic partnership that automatically led to rapprochement between the two countries. This partnership and this cooperation did not begin with confronting NATO’s expansion in Eastern Europe, but rather began with confronting NATO’s expansion in Western Asia.
In addition to all of the above, we must point out that, despite the the fact that some prefer to gravitate towards the West in Iran, whether on the social, cultural or even political level, the US exit from the nuclear agreement, and not returning to it, weakened the position of the politicians calling for the need for rapprochement between Iran and the West and strengthened Iranian politicians who support expanding and deepening cooperation with the East. And these, in addition to some economists, call for finding a global economic and banking formula outside the framework of the control of the United States and the West. Here, it can be said that the Western sanctions against Russia came to confirm the correctness of the position that called for a pivot to the east and these calls for such pivot, not only at the level of Iran, but also at the level of China, become more compelling.
Therefore, after several years of waiting, Iran was able to enter the Shanghai Organization with strong support from Russia, and today it is a candidate to enter other economic organizations, such as BRICS as well. It can be said that this is one of the side-benefits of the war between Russia and NATO for Iran, which has begun to accelerate cooperation with Russia, turning its southern ports in warm waters into ports that Russia benefits from for importing and exporting goods, and a port for Moscow to the world.
Cooperation between the two countries was not limited to import and export, but rather reached the limits of oil and gas exploration, and benefiting from Russian expertise in this field, in return for giving Iran vast lands inside Russia to invest and cultivate in order to address the drought it suffers from and cover its agricultural needs, in addition to securing Russia’s needs of agricultural materials as well.
Perhaps one of the most important topics these days is the increase in military cooperation between Iran and Russia in all fields.
While Russia was preparing for a conventional military confrontation with the West, Iran was preparing for an unconventional confrontation with the West. Therefore, while Russia was working, for example, on manufacturing highly technologically advanced and practically expensive drones and missiles, Iran was investing in the quantitative production of inexpensive drones and missiles. It believed that if it entered a war with the United States, the huge amount of these weapons would overshadow the relative development of the weapons of the opposing side.
While Russia was trying to win the war in Ukraine through conventional warfare, NATO benefited from its experiences in unconventional warfare. However, Russia and NATO are now facing a shortage of the weapons they need in battle.
Currently, the only source that can change the tide in the Ukrainian war is Iran, so that if it decides to open its stores and help Russia, it can provide it with tens of thousands of drones and missiles, which NATO will not be able to afford to confront.
Therefore, conflicting reports began to circulate that Iran had provided Russia with some of these weapons to test hem during the current phase of the war, and then transferred the technology of manufacturing these weapons to Russia, so that Russia could manufacture them.
Joseph Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy coordinator, in his recent meeting with the Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian in Jordan, reflected this apprehension remarkably, by raising the issue several times on the table, repeatedly.
On the other hand, Russia also has weapons that Iran lacks in its defense arsenal, such as advanced combat aircraft and special types of missiles and manufacturing technology. And what is being circulated today as rumors is that Russia has provided Iran with dozens of advanced Sukhoi 35 aircraft.
It can be argued that, while Iran is not officially present in Russia’s war with NATO, it is highly influential. This influence may expand in the future.
In the end, it seems that some Iranians have not lost hope in reviving the nuclear deal and lifting sanctions on Iran. Therefore, they do not want Tehran to enter into a confrontation with NATO directly. However, certainly, if the United States and European countries continue their policy of manipulation in this field, or, for example, announce the death of the nuclear agreement, then Iran may use the cards in its hand, including turning the equation in Ukraine for the benefit of its ally Russia, by providing it with drones and the missiles Russia needs.
* Dr. Emad Abshenass is Journalist, Writer and Political Science Professor.
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