Until just a few months ago the official commentariat in Tehran
was building a lot of pies in the sky with the prospect of a new axis to oppose the global influence of the American “Great Satan.” The axis would consist of Venezuela, Russia, China and the Islamic Republic.
With its experience of challenging the United States throughout the Cold War, Russia was supposed to play a central role in the imagined axis.
Now, however, it seems as if Russia is being out of the imagined axis to be included in the “the club of Iran’s enemies”, according to a commentary published by IRNA, the official news agency on 12 July.
In that commentary, President Dmitri Medvedev is described as an American “puppet” and advised to listen to “the wise counsel of Russia’s elder statesmen”, presumably including Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The initial reason for Tehran’s anger was Russia’s decision to vote for new United Nations’ sanctions against the Khomeinist regime. That was compounded by President Medvedev’s assertions that Tehran was, indeed, trying to build a nuclear arsenal and that Russia would not allow that to happen.
Playing the Russian card formed a major part of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s strategy from the start of his mandate in 2005.