NEW YORK, September 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
After meeting his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow last week, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters that "on the issue of the nuclear talks between Tehran and world powers, with the realistic viewpoint that the powers have had, and will have, we will be able to reach a positive result with the help of our Russian friends."
With the establishment of the Islamic republic regime 35 years ago, Russian foreign policy towards Iran has had to balance a multifaceted set of goals in their relations with Tehran, including support for nonproliferation, averting regime change through coups and wars, minimizing or diluting the effects of international sanctions, enhancing Moscow's diplomatic leverage on international affairs based on limiting U.S. influence in the Middle East, and advancing energy and economic cooperation.
Naturally, as a world power constantly engaged in pursuing its own interests at the cost of others, the order of these objectives varies depending on changing circumstances.
As such, for the last eight years the Russian support for the Islamic republic regime has been focused on exploiting the ongoing nuclear dispute between Tehran and the international community by softening opposition to Iran's nuclear activities, while at the same time persuading Iran's deluded leaders that they are one step closer to fulfilling their dream of developing nuclear weapons capability.
However, the military and economic benefits Russia has derived from Iran under the ayatollahs is part of a wider and more complex consideration than a simple strategy of fanning animosities between Tehran and the Western powers.
Behind this course of action lies the Putin administration's close links with major Russian business enterprises and overseas corporations, which have turned it into acting almost as a powerful lobbying force and thereby one of the main features of Russian foreign policy.
In Iran, Russia has taken full advantage of the paranoia of the religious leadership regarding the West by supplying Iran's repressive state apparatus with second-rate military equipment while charging Tehran astronomical sums in return; and it trains Iran's troops to a standard guaranteed never to pose a threat to Russia.
Having invoiced Iran 800 million dollars to supply the country's army with its sophisticated long-range S-300 air defence missiles system seven years ago, Russia decided in 2010 to call off the sale, citing "international sanctions" on Tehran for its decision - conveniently ignoring the fact that Russia's continued support for Iran's nuclear program was what led to the imposition of sanctions in the first place.
Further plundering of the Iranian people's money by the Russians can of course be seen in the billions of dollars paid for the Bushehr nuclear power plant, eternally unfinished but perhaps one day powerful enough to heat a samovar.
To discover how this egregious collaboration will end we need look no further than the fate of other authoritarian regimes foolish enough to have embraced Russia as an ally.
In Syria, devastated after three years of a bloody civil war, at least 150,000 people have been killed and millions more made refugees thanks to Russia - Iran's continued support of Assad's regime.
And if this brief but dreadful history of Russia's abuse of Iranian people's rights were not enough, President Rouhani of Iran has called for stronger political and commercial ties between the two countries, describing the current level of bilateral relations as "insufficient".
Dissent at ground level in Iran is meanwhile stirring against such naivety amongst its leaders. Along with the devastating economic, social and political damage of the current nuclear crisis that the religious rulers of Iran have inflicted on the country - with the direct and indirect aid of the Russian and Chinese oligarchs - the Iranian people's democracy movement has been going through many ups and downs in recent years. However, all signs indicate that it will inevitably rise up again in the not too distant future.
When it does, Moscow can only sit back and watch the emergence of another "Ukrainian revolution" on its southern border, against a regime that wishfully intends to turn Iran into a Russian satellite state. Then, if Iran turns toward the West, what will Russia do?