There are days when the Mullahs spout out lines written by the IRGC (following a Russian agenda) about closing the straits of Hormuz, supporting the regime in Syria AND then in terms of real actions there are 140 flights to Iraq every week, and Iran is reinforcing the ‘stability in Iraq’ with sale of electricity and key commodities and promise 400 Million dollars in Afghan reconstruction funds that in effect reinforce U.S. policy in the region. So what is it? Is Iran following a Russian or American Agenda?
If the Mullahs did not exist, it’s pretty clear that the West would have created them. They are simultaneously providing the West with an excuse to sustain their defense industries alive and at the same time ‘contain’ Iran so they can get free pass to all this oil and gas in regions Iran – where arguably Iran has real territorial claims. Clearly, Iran, has been following a western agenda for 30 years.
But, in this process of ‘containing Iran’, the West has also thrown Iran into the laps of the Russians and for now, like pure opportunists, the Russians are taking ‘cautious’ advantage – selling their wares.
Thus, within the IRI there are two competing camps – one camp connecting with Russia and another camp, privately engaged with the West. We always knew who these cast of characters were right? Rafsanjani, Karoubi, the Larijani brothers, and the current mayor of Tehran Bagher Ghalibaf (a recent western media darling) and a hand full of others at the top; and then there are key elements inside Iran’s defense establishment – such as the IRGC – that keep buying overpriced, second hand Russian planes, submarines etc. and advocating a very hostile and belligerent military program that for now is helping bolster Oil prices (which ultimately helps the Russians).
Containing Iran has tremendous value for the West. And so does ‘arming’ Iran. Without Iran there would be no enemy to fight, no news to scare the U.S. public. There would be no opportunity to tell the public around the world to make sacrifices, so that their tax money could be spent on elaborate (but ultimately useless) military programs. And containing Iran means that basically the U.S. (and Britain) can walk into Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and siphon off trillions of dollars of oil and gas in major parts of the Caspian Sea that only 30 years ago were fully under Iranian control. Containing Iran, means that they can set up pipelines to China, India and Western Europe and monopolize energy sales to these major economies without any competition or interference from Iran. Containing Iran, has meant the creation of major new economic regions like Dubai and Doha – both former British colonies – making huge profits by transshipping goods to Iran.
There is no reason for the West to liberate Iran or Iranians right now. Doing so puts all their investments in Central Asia, Persian Gulf, and even in military hardware at risk. No, the West likes the situation as it is. The Mullahs are either ‘directly or indirectly’ serving Western interests. The Mullahs too, have been able to claim ‘nationalist’ platforms while ultimately serving western strategic goals. They have been full participants in ‘helping’ the west with its containment policies. They can spout out anti-western rhetoric while actually ultimately serving Western Interests. (By the way, do you remember how Rafsanjani was calling the U.S. an evil empire in the Tehran University Friday Prayer speeches in the 80’s while secretly receiving a bible from Reagan and hosting Oliver North and Mcfarlane in Tehran?)
Meanwhile, the west has its people inside the regime and is monitoring Russian opportunism, but for now it seems they believe there is more benefit to their policies of sanctioning and containing Iran rather than doing direct business with the Mullahs.
The Russians are playing a game of opportunism – trying to take the most advantage of the situation as they can. And they too have their people inside the regime, looking for more opportunities.
The Russians have to walk a narrow field of maximizing their economic opportunities while at that same time NOT polarizing their relationship with West too. While they have had a green light to sell nuclear power plants to Iran and Turkey – they have agreed not to sell S-300 missiles to the regime (so far).
The battle inside Iran has been largely won by the West, with the Russians being thrown only a bone in the past 30 years. U.S. and its allies have captured all the major regional prizes: Iraq (the world’s second largest oil and gas fields), Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan (for trans-shipment) …
Russian airplane and power plant sales in Iran pale in comparison with what the Trillions of dollars in resources the West has gained. But I believe that the outcome of this ‘war inside Iran’ is now threatened by the battle inside Syria.
Russia recently announced that it is re-opening naval bases in Cuba and Vietnam. Russia also sees the impending drop in the price of oil to below $85 dollars (largely engineered by the West) as a clear attempt to bankrupting Putin’s regime. The outcome of this polarization is likely to involve Iran very soon – in my opinion.
Whichever way the battle in Syria is decided, it will not be good for Iran and Iranians. If the battle in Syria is decided in favor or the U.S. and its allies and Russia finally loses out in its last foothold in the Middle East, then I am sure Russia will refocus on Iran and double up its efforts to ‘dominate’ Iran. If Assad survives, it will bolster Russian confidence and they will also want to consolidate on the win and try to enhance their relationship with Iran even further. Either way, if the Russian penetrate Iran further, it will be very challenging for the West and in the end, ultimately, the West may have no choice but to confront the Russians directly on Iranian soil.
Either outcome in Syria – virtually guarantees a war with Iran. In fact, my prediction at this point is that Assad will fall, but it will take time (maybe as much as a year); and then soon after that Israel will invade Lebanon which will draw Iran into battle. Israel will then take Iran on directly. When that happens the West, notably U.S. will enter the game and it will be over. American supported Mullahs will find refuge in the West, the others will be killed. And soon after Iran will be cut up into 5 sub-ethnic pieces and Iran as we know it will be gone. There will NOT be an Iran any more.
I don’t think a Nuclear bomb armed Iran will be able to save Iran. And I also think the Russians will ultimately back down from a direct confrontation with the West. They need Western support to be able to sell their oil and gas, and they need western technology to extract their oil and gas, and they know that a dream of an Imperial Russia is long gone – with a declining population, and what is essentially a third world economy of selling natural resources to underpin their economic viability, Russia is truly in no position to fight. They are on the losing side of history or any confrontation. Russia is NOT in fact a super-power any more. And Iranian Mullahs are foolish to allow Iran to be used a pawn in their battle with the West.
The only way out of this hell, today, is for the regime in Tehran to make a major shift and do everything necessary to establish clean and strong relations with the West and not allow itself to become the final battle ground of the Super powers. The only way to ‘win’ for Iran is to NOT allow the West’s policy of containment and sanctions to continue. This policy ultimately is NOT in Iran or Iranian interests. It siphons off Iranian money to Dubai and the Brits. It ultimately does NOT allow Iran to participate in Caspian Sea exploration or to even make even more revenues by selling goods and services to its newly rich neighbors (so what if they are stealing Iranian oil, Iran can make even greater profits selling cars, clothing, etc. to these countries – NOT ALL IRANIAN REVENUE HAS TO COME FROM OIL AND GAS). Iran can become a strong ally, a partner in the region (just like Turkey has become) and profit from it all – instead of being isolated and contained. There are alternative, positive policies that are in fact better for Iran than the path being pursued today.
Why should Iran become the battle ground of the super powers? There is a better way. The mullahs need to really think about it.