The question about whether Iran and Russia can sustain the recent elevation in relations is hotly debated in Tehran. This urgency is brought about as the Iranians and the Russians are pushing ahead to see if they can coordinate their policies on the question of a political settlement for the Syrian war that will satisfy both Moscow and also Tehran’s objectives.
Historically, the Iranian view on Russia has been dominated by suspicion about Moscow’s intentions. This is a reflection of centuries of Iranian losses at the hands of the Russians. Today, however, a new trend is emerging among the hardliners in the Iranian regime that is urging for Moscow to be considered as a partner in the context of Iran’s present regional ambitions and for Iran-Russia relations not to be held back due to past grievances. In fact, many Iranian commentators are starting to dismiss suggestions that Moscow and Tehran’s cooperation in Syria will be a one-off tactical convergence of interests.
One such commentator called any suggestions of an imminent rupture in relations over Syria to be part of “Western psychological warfare” against Iranian and Russian relations. According to this commentator who was speaking to Javan News, an outlet close to the IRGC, “[Iran] does not work with the Russians only on Syria. We [Iran] have strategic cooperation with the Russians in Yemen, in Iraq and elsewhere in the region,” the observer pointed out.