Bahman Aghai Diba
According to many reports (1), Russia is opposed to any efforts to promote a change of regime in Iran. At the same time, the Iranian regime has welcomed the Russian position and described it as “positive.” (2).
Why, under present circumstances where the people of Iran are fed up with the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the country is on the verge of disintegration due to the peoples’ frustration over finding a way to get rid of the medieval Islamic regime, are the Russians opposed to a regime change in Iran? The answer to this has many aspects:
1- The Russians have historically been very active against the interests of the people of Iran. The Old Russian Empire tried to destroy Iran in order to devour the smaller parts one after another. Peter the Great left guidance to destroy Iran in order to get to the “warm waters” of the Persian Gulf. In 1907 and 1915, the Russians twice tried to destroy Iran in collaboration with the British. Following several unequal wars between the outdated Iranian army and the Russian army which was much more advanced, during the time of the Qajar Dynasty, the Russians separated and devoured several parts of Iran (1813), including the present territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan. (3) For a long time, the Russians of the USSR created difficulties for Iran’s exploitation of oil resources in the north (under the false pretext that those resources were connected to Russian sources, and if any concession was granted by Iran for their exploitation, it should go to the Russians).
2- The USSR always used the ideology of communism as a nationalistic policy in its favor (this can be compared to Iranians creating Shi’a Islam in order to confront the invading Arabs). The Russians of the USSR always tried to find a way to turn Iran into a communist state.
3- The Russian Federation, as the successor of the USSR, feels that it was deceived by the West and now it is using Iran as a center to retaliate. The Russians were under the impression that if they abandoned the communist policies of the previous regime, they would get many things from the West that they had been deprived of. However, system change in Russia has brought many problems, and the West is not really helping Russia to overcome any of those problems. The Russians have a sense of being cheated, and they are willing to take every opportunity (like the one of Iran) to pay back and even blackmail the West.
4- The Russian Federation has replaced the West as the main source of military hardware for Iran. Russian nuclear industries, which were on the verge of bankruptcy, are now revived due to their deals with Iran. Russians are selling all of their low-level, low-quality materials to Iran in exchange for hard currency. This is a great opportunity for the Russians, where in the absence of Western rivalry, they can sell their garbage to Iran at a price much higher than fair market prices.
5- The Iranian regime is in acute need of the ideological gibberish used by the former USSR. While the Russians have no use for such ideological gibberish anymore, they have a good market for it in Iran. You can find almost the same Soviet cold war literature being used in the Islamic regime of Iran right now. The Russians love to see Iran repeat former Russian government gibberish about Western values and policies and even culture, while they are not able to do so themselves. This is the export of gibberish by proxy for the Russians. Iranians repeat old Russian gibberish and then get the negative repercussions of doing so in the world.
6- The Iranian people (not the present regime, which does not represent the people) have a special inclination towards Americans. Unlike the government of Iran, the people of Iran are the most pro-American people in the region. The Russians know very well that the next regime of Iran will definitely pay back the Russians for their behavior, and will respond to Russian overtures according to the demands of the Iranian people.
7- The Russians are angry about the role played by the Americans in Afghanistan during the Russian occupation of that country, and now they try to retaliate using opportunities such as the one created by the Islamic regime of Iran. (4)
8- The Russians have violated the rights of Iran in the Caspian Sea. According to the existing regime of the Caspian Sea, the Russians had no right to stop Iranian ships from traveling to the northern parts of the Caspian Sea. At the moment, the Russians are imposing the formula of the Modified Median Line on all Caspian states, which gives less than 13 percent of the Caspian Sea to Iran. The Iranian Islamic regime has given a free hand to the Russians to do whatever they want, including turning the Caspian over to the center of the one of the biggest naval concentrations of Russians forces.
9- The Iranian regime has turned a blind eye to the oppression suffered by Russian Muslims, including the Chechens, while simultaneously making many contributions to the Palestinian cause and campaigning against the oppression of Palestinians.
10- The Russians are receiving concessions and advantages from both the West and Iran over Russian policies towards Iran’s nuclear case.
The Iranian people have not forgotten Russia’s backstabbing of the Iranian nation on each and every occasion. It seems that the Russians, in any capacity, be they military men of the Tsars, lackeys of Stalinism, or the remnants of a wicked empire, have one aim which has remained the same: Support the enemies of Iran inside and outside of the country, and try to disintegrate Iran.