Iran is Playing U.S. and Russia Off Against Each Other to Further Its Hegemonic Ambitions​

The Iranian Regime is attempting to pit Russia and the U.S. against each other in order to divert global attention away from the threat posed by the Iranian Regime, particularly its regional aggression and expansionism, according to a leading Iran expert, Iran News Update reports.

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist, wrote an op-ed to explain why the Iranian Regime is attempting to come between the two world powers and how improved U.S.-Russia relations could help defeat the Iranian Regime.

The U.S. and Russia are currently divided on many issues from involvement in Syria to the 2016 American elections, but Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has hit out at the U.S. and said that America should strengthen its ties with NATO members.

Then Iranian leaders dragged Russia into the issue, with Rouhani stating on Iranian TV: “The Americans are shamelessly threatening Russia.” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also attempted to use his classic tactic of fear-mongering by pointing out that U.S. policy is “bringing humankind closer to annihilation.”

So, a fight between the two powers may distract the world’s media attention but how does it benefit the Iranian Regime? First, it will increase ties between Russia and Iran who are both fighting on behalf of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

“The Iranian regime benefits from any heightened tension between Russia and the U.S. because Moscow would then be obliged to strengthen its alliances against Washington. It follows that Russia will boost its military and political cooperation with Tehran and support a regime that holds anti-Americanism at the top of its foreign policy agenda,” Dr. Majid Rafizadeh wrote.

This is important to the Iranian Regime because they desperately need Russian military, geopolitical and technological assistance, as the Iranian military is nowhere near advanced enough to have that themselves, although the Regime can supply armed forces in the form of its secret police the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), paramilitaries like the Quds Force, and terrorist proxies like Hezbollah.

Second, Iran needs Russia in order bypass international sanctions, gain global “legitimacy”, and obtain the most advanced weaponry and nuclear technology.

“This helps the regime evade responsibility and accountability for its aggression in the region and its human rights violations… Maintaining strategic, economic and geopolitical relationships with Russia is so critical for Iran that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who rarely meets with world leaders, has met with representatives of the Kremlin several times,” Dr. Majid Rafizadeh wrote.

The Iranian Regime has used many tactics over the years to keep Russia aside, such as allowing the Russian military to have a base in Iran to bomb Syria. To keep Russia’s alliance, the Iranian regime has used other tactics besides inflaming tensions between the U.S. and Moscow. For example, like Assad’s regime, Iran has granted Russia a foothold in the Middle East.

The Iranian regime even violated its own Constitution’s Article 146, which stipulates, “The establishment of any kind of foreign military base in Iran, even for peaceful purposes, is forbidden.”

No foreign power has used Iran’s soil or territories as a base for military operations since the Second World War, but Tehran has allowed Russia to use its Hamadan Airbase as a military base to bomb Syria.

What can be done to stop Iran from succeeding? The West should remind Russia that its economic and political relationships with the U.S. and European countries far outstrip its ties to Iran and that Iran poses a threat to Russia as well by reducing its oil revenues.

“Improved ties between the U.S. and Russia could endanger the Iranian regime’s revolutionary objectives, but the Iranian regime is playing its cards wisely. By playing the U.S. and Russia off against each other, Tehran is ultimately advancing its regional hegemonic ambitions,” Dr. Majid Rafizadeh wrote.