On December 27, Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan gave a lengthy interview about Iranian regional policy objectives. In his remarks, Dehghan made it clear that Russia can count on access to military sites on Iranian soil should circumstances require it. “We have not signed an agreement with Russia on this issue as such but we happen to be on the same side [in the conflict in Syria] and will consider each Russian request to use our bases as circumstances require it,” he said. In the same interview, Dehghan again defended Iran and Hezbollah’s military intervention in Syria while condemning Turkish and Gulf Arab support for the Syrian opposition.
At the birth of the Islamic Republic in 1979, the Islamist rulers in Tehran wrote a new constitution and vowed to stand with “downtrodden Muslims anywhere in the world.” Foreign militaries were banned from Iranian soil. Today, however, the Islamic Republic’s biggest allies in the Syrian war are the secular and Baathist regime of Bashar Al Assad and the Russian Federation, a Christian-majority country. In other words, the constant Iranian claims to be the defender of “downtrodden Muslims” ring very hollow in the context of its behavior in Syria. Tehran pursues it expansionist geopolitical agenda coldheartedly and is prepared to enter into a partnership of convenience whenever its interests dictate it.