For the first time since 1979, Iran has given a foreign power the right to conduct military operations from its soil. Russia is now operating Tu-22M3 long-range bombers from an Iranian airbase. The purported goal is only limited to joint Iranian-Russian operations against anti-Assad rebels inside Syria. But while an Iranian-Russian partnership to keep President Bashar al-Assad alive has been in place as long as the Syrian war has raged, this latest upswing in military collaboration might be a prelude to a greater strategic pivot.
The Middle East Institute’s IranObserved project provides daily tracking and analysis of Iranian policies and actions at home and abroad. The project aims to help policy makers and practitioners, as well as all organizations and individuals interested in the Middle East, to identify and understand the Islamic Republic’s soft power and hard power strategies, Iran’s regional proxies and support networks, major sociopolitical developments inside Iran, and Iranian political and military leaders that shape and implement Tehran’s domestic and external actions. The reports and analysis are drawn directly from the Farsi-language press and media published inside Iran.