The Dangerous Russian-Iran Axis

The Dangerous Russian-Iran Axis

Two nations, each seen as significant disturbers of international peace, are increasingly cooperating in dangerous ventures.

On November 9, Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev met with Iran’s leadership.  According to a Voice Of America analysis, Raisi and Patrushev discussed various issues of Russian-Iranian cooperation in the field of security, as well as a number of international problems.

The Iran International Newsroom reports that “Russia has built Iran’s sole nuclear power plant in Bushehr and has a contract to expand the plant with the addition of two new reactors at a cost of $10 billion.” Earlier this year, according to the Washington Free Beacon, Russia’s top state-controlled energy company was set to cash in on a $10 billion contract to build out one of Iran’s most contested nuclear sites as part of concessions granted in the soon-to-be-announced nuclear agreement that will guarantee sanctions on both countries are lifted.  Russian and Iranian documents translated for the Washington Free Beacon show that Rosatom, Russia’s leading energy company, has a $10 billion contract with Iran’s atomic energy organization to expand Tehran’s Bushehr nuclear plant. Russia and the Biden administration confirmed on Tuesday that the new nuclear agreement includes carveouts that will waive sanctions on both countries so that Russia can make good on this contract.

Wall Street Journal analysis reports that “Iran and Russia are forging tighter ties than ever…There are significant economic ramifications of the Iranian-Russian semi-alliance. In July, Iran became the world’s largest buyer of Russian wheat. This month, Russia launched an Iranian satellite into space in a rare success for Tehran’s space program. And last week, Iran’s military hosted joint drone exercises with Russian forces…”

The Defense Department could not confirm news reports that Russia has asked Iran for ballistic missiles and other capabilities. However, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder did confirm that Iran has provided hundreds of unmanned aerial vehicles to Russia. And Russian forces have used them to attack Ukraine. “Iran has provided Russia with UAVs, which we anticipate they’ll likely seek more of those,” the general said. “We do have concerns that Russia may also seek to acquire additional advanced munition capabilities from Iran — for example, surface-to-surface missiles — to use in Ukraine. If we see Russia employing such capabilities on the battlefield, we’ll certainly do what we can to illuminate that.”

This “continued collusion” between Russia and Iran is disturbing, officials have stressed.

The International Research Institute finds that “Since the start of the war in Ukraine, relations between Russia and Iran have flourished. Having been hit by a new raft of tough Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, Moscow set about looking for alternative partners among other traditionally anti-Western countries—including to bypass trade restrictions—and Iran looks set to be one of the most promising. The aspect of their relationship that has attracted the most attention recently is Russia’s use of Iranian drones to terrorize Ukrainian cities. … This is far from the extent of their joint projects…”

Asia Times warns that Iran is preparing to transfer short-range ballistic missiles to Russia for use against targets in Ukraine, allegedly as part of a shipment of 1,000 additional weapons of unspecified type. Iran has allegedly already transferred a number of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Russia. Many of these drones have been used in Ukraine, although the Islamic Republic has denied involvement.

Russia’s predecessor state, the U.S.S.R, was quick to recognize the Islamic takeover of Iran in the 1970’s, as Tehran changed from a U.S. ally into an enemy.  Moscow continues to see leverage Tehran’s hatred of America.


Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy and Government

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