The limits of the Russian-Iranian strategic alliance: its history and geopolitics, and the nuclear issue
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The Russian and Iranian governments define their relations as "very close" and "strategic" in many areas. The frontiers of this cooperation, in geopolitical terms, include the south Caucasus, central Asia, Afghanistan, and the oil- and natural gas-rich Caspian basin, while, at the issue level, the cooperation includes the nuclear issue, disarmament, the struggle against terrorism, the Iraqi quagmire, the Palestinian problem, and the U.S. military expansion into Eurasia. The signs of cooperation in these areas are, among others, regular political dialogue and similar attitudes in refusing to include the Lebanese Hizballah oil terrorist lists, pursuing political relations with Hamas, maintaining a pro-Arab position on the Arab-Israeli question, objecting to foreign military engagement in Eurasia, and having a common voice during the Israeli-Lebanese conflict in 2006. However, we need to discover the nature of these relations in order to decide whether the close Russian-Iranian relations can be described as a strategic alliance. What is the strategic depth of Russian-Iranian relations? Do the relations consist merely of the conjectural necessities of the post-Cold War period? What are the "red lines" in RUssian-Iranian relations? This article analyzes the relations between these two Countries from a broader perspective, to examine the meaning of the relations in bilateral, regional and international contexts.