9 Items

Journal Article - Middle East Policy

Iran and the SCO: The Quest For Legitimacy and Regime Preservation

| 2023

At the 2021 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, the bloc announced the approval of Iran's longstanding bid for membership. The Islamic Republic has viewed its involvement in the organization as a means of bolstering external legitimacy, fostering security-oriented regionalism, and promoting the transition toward the so-called multipolar world order. The SCO, led by Russia and China, has served as a regime-preservation network by providing Iran with a source of solidarity against external pressure. Tehran's commitment to the normative order, sustained by the SCO's discourse of noninterference, sovereignty, and countering the “three evils”—terrorism, extremism, and separatism—has galvanized the organization's role as a common front against the imposition of liberal norms and challenges to regime security.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, center, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pose for a photo at the Saadabad palace, in Tehran, Iran, July 19, 2022.

Sergei Savostyanoy via Associated Press

Analysis & Opinions - Russia Matters

Russia and Iran Get Closer While Still Competing, Amid Balancing Act With Turkey

| Aug. 03, 2022

The recent tripartite summit among the presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey yielded few tangible results, but it underscored both the growing strength of ties between Moscow and Tehran and the tricky balancing act all three countries must maintain in cooperating amid their competing interests and security concerns.

Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani

AP/Vahid Salemi

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Will Russia Torpedo the Iran Nuclear Deal?

| Mar. 10, 2022

Hamidreza Azizi and Nicole Grajewski analyze Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's recent demands  for written guarantees that Western sanctions over Ukraine "will by no means affect our right to free and full-fledged trading, economic, investment, military and technical cooperation with Iran."

People hold Ukrainian flag in front of the Ukrainian Embassy


Analysis & Opinions - Atlantic Council

As the World Shuns Russia Over its Invasion of Ukraine, Iran Strengthens its Ties with Moscow

| Mar. 07, 2022

Nicole Grajewski analyzes why Russia's international isolation and acrimonious relations with the West offer Tehran and Moscow further incentives to strengthen relations as both face strategic loneliness in the international arena. Short of full recognition of Russia's territorial claims in Ukraine, Iran will likely remain one of the few states willing to outwardly support Moscow's narrative and political justifications for invading its neighbor.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, welcomes Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Iranian Foreign Ministry via AP

Journal Article - Asian Affairs

An Illusory Entente: The Myth of a Russia-China-Iran “Axis”

| 2022

This article examines the trilateral relations between Russia, China, and Iran through their engagement in various issues from domestic, regional, and international levels. It explores the practices and coordination between Russia, China, and Iran in the international order, the Iranian Nuclear Program, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, domestic regime security, and economic connectivity. The article concludes that although Russia, China, and Iran have had overlapping interests and approaches in terms of contesting the Western created and dominated international "liberal" order, strengthening domestic regime security, defending authoritarian governance, and supporting de-dollarization, all of which have brought the three sides closer, a Russia–China-Iran axis has not thus far materialized. Rather, due to the lack of regularized and institutionalized mechanisms, the tripartite relationship remains an illusory entente, which is essentially driven by the bilateral ties followed by modest trilateral coordination in ad-hoc situations.

A Russian tank rolls during a military drills at Molkino training ground in the Krasnodar region, Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021.

AP Photo

News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Russian Troops Near Ukraine’s Border: How Should the West Respond?

With Ukrainian forces on high alert as Russia continues to amass troops on the border, we asked Belfer Center experts to outline America’s national security interests in the region and to identify any steps they believe Western forces should take to thwart Vladimir Putin’s aims.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool

Report - Center for Strategic & International Studies

The Evolution of Russian and Iranian Cooperation in Syria

| November 2021

Although Russia and Iran have converged around the overarching objective of strengthening the Assad regime, Moscow and Tehran's engagement in Syria illustrates a complex mosaic of overlapping interests, broader regional entanglements, and contending approaches to post-war reconstruction. Russia and Iran's visions on the future of Syria include diverging views on military reform and economic investment. However, these disagreements are unlikely to lead to a breakdown of the relationship.