During a television political talk show, senior Lebanese political analyst Anees Naqqash commented on the significance of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s visit to Russia on the 21st of July, 2020, to reportedly discuss the extension of a decades-long strategic agreement between Tehran and Moscow by a further 20 years.
Zarif’s visit occurred around about the same time that reports emerged regarding the imminent signing of a 25-year comprehensive strategic partnership between Iran and China.
Naqqash discussed both agreements, and said they and similar treaties involving additional states indicate the emergence of a global alliance led by Iran, Russia and China that will challenge American hegemony and in fact transform the global balance of power.
Source: Al Mayadeen News
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After the war of rumours – so to speak – that targeted the relationship between Moscow and Damascus, and how this relates to Tehran, this visit (Zarif’s visit to Russia) was highly important. In a letter to Putin, Zarif (Iran’s foreign minister) said: “we held detailed discussions with Lavrov (Russia’s foreign minister) regarding bilateral cooperation and regional and international coordination, and extending the cooperation agreement between Moscow and Tehran’. (Zarif was referring to) the agreement that was signed (between Moscow and Tehran) in the 1990s. At the time, there was a shift in the world order. Today, it seems like we are witnessing a similar scene as the global influence of the United States is no longer the same. What conclusions can we draw from this situation?
You have mentioned the rumours. A while ago, media campaigns were launched against us over two issues: (1) the Iranian presence in Syria, and (2) Russian-Syrian relations. However, the latest events and facts have come to refute all these rumours, that is, the recent Iranian-Syrian agreement, the recent positions defended by Russia and confirmed by Syria, and the Iranian-Russian meeting today. It has been proven that, contrary to the rumours, relations between these countries are becoming stronger. Today he (Zarif) confirms that this is his most important visit (to Russia). Why is this his most important visit? Not only because of the subjects that were discussed during the meeting, but because of the solid foundation that this meeting is built on.
That is to say: we (Iran and Russia) are allies. We trust each other. We know our capabilities and our interests. First, we are in total agreement that the United States should be deterred for its lack of respect for international law. It must obey international law. It must respect the sovereignty of states. It should no longer compromise the security of states and try to divide them, nor overthrow regimes. The agreement between Russia and Iran is strong and can clearly be seen by (their cooperation) in Syria.
Second, they – Iran, Russia, China and other countries – are all being subjected to (US) economic sanctions; and these sanctions are escalating. It has become clear, as the Chinese foreign minister has said more than once, that “the United States seems to have lost its mind.” This is the reality we have to face. Our opponent has lost its bearings and its mind. So what can we do to maintain international security, protect our interests and defend regional systems? We ought to build a regional and international alliance that would form the club that Mr. Zarif talked about. This political club will guarantee not only strategic agreements between these countries, but also form joint cultural and economic action through which US sanctions will collapse.
This club will lay a solid foundation for something more important, something we have talked about on this episode of your show, i.e. “what will happen to the US”. When there is a certain balance of power in the world, and the internal security and future of a great power such as the United States is at risk, the world must be prepared. It must create alternative systems to protect its people during this great collapse. Otherwise, if we do not prepare ourselves for this collapse – there will be (terrible) surprises (in the future). We may be very happy that the US has been torn apart and is being ravished by a civil war, or that it lost its power in (our) region; but what about international security? Therefore, this club will have a fundamental role in shaping the future of the world and creating (a new) international balance.
This is important. I wish to ask (the other guest, Russian political analyst) Matuzov about it, about the attributes these countries should have to form an effective club that would stand against the US. However, the time chosen to sign the agreement is also important, especially after the war of rumours. This agreement reinforced the foundations of the (old) strategic cooperation between Russia and Iran. 20 years (the duration of the new agreement) is not a short period of time…
This coincides with the Chinese-Iranian agreement as well. These two agreements complement each other: a major 25-year agreement (with China) and a 20-year agreement (with Russia). The United States was hoping to extend the arms embargo against Iran, in two or three months. However, this agreement came to cut (this embargo) short and say “It’s already done. We renewed the agreement and we will continue with it.”
These three countries have attributes that fit together like a puzzle to form a club that would be at the forefront of the (global) confrontation (with the US). They possess (certain) attributes. They have a common threat – i.e. the United States of America. However, we are talking about a strategic club, front or alliance, not a tactical alliance (usually shorter-term). Right?
One hundred percent. This alliance is much more than a strategic issue. Let me give you (more) information about what is going on between China and Iran. It is true that the agreement has not yet been concluded and has not reached the Iranian Parliament. However, the plans and information regarding most of the projects that were being negotiated are available today. Some Chinese companies are now moving to Iran to prepare for these constructions (projects). Once the signature is done, the construction will begin.
As for (the agreement) between Russia and Iran, trains are traveling via the (Iranian) Chabahar Port route to the Russian border. They are connected to the Russian railway systems and they even reach Afghanistan. This is a major shift in geopolitics, transportation, etc. Agreements regarding the Iranian nuclear reactors are also very important – if they are concluded.
The paradigm shift will be after November when the embargo on the sale and purchase of weapons from Iran ends. Iran will be able to export the weapons it manufactures, and to buy anything from Russia and China, which would come as a severe blow to the US. This is what Israel and other countries fear. They fear the increase of Iran’s military capability that was demonstrated when it shot down the (US advanced spy) plane and struck the (American) Ain Al-Assad Base (in Iraq).
However, there will be coordination (once the agreements are concluded). There are agreements surrounding security cooperation between these countries. Therefore, we are heading towards a global alliance that will use a payment system other than SWIFT; that will replace the dollar currency (with another currency in transactions and trade); and even change the overall strategic military balance of the world.
Judging by the current regional scene, what do you mean when you talk about the overall military balance? Some of the countries that we are discussing in relation to forming a (global) front are now taking part in hotly contested files. Please explain further…
The battle in Syria is fierce. Today, Russia and Iran are fighting side-by-side against terrorism in Syria. When we say against “terrorism”, we mean against the project conceived by the Gulf and the West. This terrorism did not come out of the blue. It is a plot by the West and the Gulf. Hence, foiling this plot is thwarting a major conspiracy that did not only target Syria. President Putin said in more than four speeches at international conferences: ‘We went to Syria to defeat terrorism, because if terrorism prevailed in Syria, it would have reached our country’. (Putin) was taking a pre-emptive measure to safeguard Russia’s national security.
4,000 Uyghurs came with their women and children to fight in Syria. They came all the way from China. What are they doing in Syria? The defeat (of Uyghurs) in Syria is also to prevent the scourge of terrorism in China. They, Russia and China, realized that this battle is integral to ensure their national security. These are not theoretical battles. Bullets are being fired and battles are raging. China has not yet participated in armed engagement, but its role in the economic field may be equally important, as it complements and protects military victories.