Analysis & Opinions - Emissary

The Iran-Russia Friendship Won't Wither Under Raisi's Successor

| May 21, 2024

Moscow and Tehran's partnership has been growing since 2015 and only increased since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

On Sunday at 10 p.m. in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin convened an emergency meeting with Iran's envoy to Russia, Kazem Jalali. The other attendees included some of the most influential figures in Russia's corridors of power: newly appointed Russian Defense Minister Andrei Belousov, Security Council Head Sergei Shoigu, and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov. The meeting's nominal purpose was to offer Moscow's unequivocal support for Iran's ongoing efforts to locate the downed helicopter of President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. The underlying message of the uncharacteristically high-level gathering was unequivocal: Russia's commitment to Iran would not be tied to a single president.

Within hours of the meeting's conclusion, two planes and about fifty special rescue forces were dispatched from Moscow to the Iranian city of Tabriz. Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations released multiple videos of the preparations. Although Iran had already officially announced the deaths of both Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian by the time the Russian planes landed, Tehran's faith in its partnership with Russia must have been reinforced by this display of solidarity.

Russia's outreach in the initial stages of the search and rescue operations reflected the importance Russia has placed on its ties to Iran since the onset of its 2022 war in Ukraine. Moscow has relied on Iranian drones and munitions to support its war machine. Facing Western sanctions, Russia has looked to Iran for tactics and access to black market networks to weather the economic storm. Aside from the immediate exigencies of the war in Ukraine, Russia and Iran have found common ground in their efforts to repress internal dissent—a hallmark of Raisi's tenure as president....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Grajewski, Nicole.“The Iran-Russia Friendship Won't Wither Under Raisi's Successor.” Emissary, May 21, 2024.

The Author

Nicole Grajewski