What did Putin say to Rouhani in a historic phone call?

Nahed Hatar

What did President Putin discuss with his Iranian counterpart
President Hassan Rouhani during the phone call that was held between
them shortly after agreeing to extend Iran's nuclear talks in Vienna?
Almost certainly, this was the most important event.

According to the Kremlin statement, though it did not provide
sufficient details about the phone conversation, the two presidents
discussed the "substantial progress" in the last round of talks in
Vienna and stressed the necessity of clinching a comprehensive nuclear

"They also discussed current issues in key areas of bilateral
cooperation, including the implementation of the joint projects".
However, "Al-Mayadeen" News TV quoted some "sources", most probably
Iranians, as saying that Putin assured Rouhani that Russia will not
allow the nuclear negotiations to continue for a long time, and will
not also allow removal of the sanctions imposed against Iran to be
delayed any longer.

As stated by "Al-Mayadden", Moscow showed readiness to strengthen
strategic bilateral alliance, including coordination with China to
break the sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic. Moreover,
with reference to President Rouhani's initiative to call his Russian
counterpart, does this initiative in this sensitive time reflect the
fact that the Iranian president has a tendency of establishing
strategic ties or is it merely a diplomatic step to thank Moscow for
its tireless efforts to save the Vienna negotiations? Perhaps the
answer to the two aforementioned questions depicts the features of the
next phase, regionally and internationally.

Russia is also at present facing Western sanctions which cost the
Russians, in a few months, more than one hundred billion dollars.
Definitely, they will not accept to go on with this economic and
financial attrition. Moscow will thus be in front of two options:
either accepting a "subordinate" role to the major Western powers
politically that leads accordingly to losing the strategic
achievements accomplished during President Putin's era, or heading
hastily towards building a self-reliant global economic and financial
system and renouncing the Western one.

Of course, in the context of this option, Iran will most likely play a
key role in building a solid trio with Russia and China in the
framework of the BRICS group of fast-growing, major non-Western
economies, which include also India, Brazil and South Africa. A
question remains, why is Iran enjoying this advantage exclusively?
This comes because it does not only act as an economic value, but also
as a strategic, military and defense-based one; especially regarding
its Arab allies in Syria, Lebanon-Hezbollah, and Iraq. It is
noteworthy that Syria is Russia's old ally, and the Russians consider
Hezbollah as a regional power and an ally and they are seeking to
restore their positions in Iraq.

Possibly, the tendency towards creating strategic alliance with Iran
is already settled in Russia, for it is, in essence, an expression of
a strategic need for preserving the Russian growing influence. Yet, is
this the case in Iran too? It is well known that the current Iranian
policy is the product of disagreement between two movements: the
Revolutionary movement led by Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, and the
Liberal movement, led by Rouhani. The two movements most prominently
disagree on files related to the position on Syria and the Iranian
aids to the Syrians.

The Revolutionary movement seeks to provide Damascus with further
multi-format support, while the Liberal movement seeks the opposite.
Perhaps its aim behind this is not only saving the cost of Syria's
support, so as to improve the domestic spending, but also courting the
West to reach an agreement on the nuclear issue, allowing by this the
lifting of sanctions on Iran and overcoming the economic and financial

Doubtless, it has tactical relations with Moscow and it is benefiting
from them to improve the conditions for reconciliation talks with the
West. Yet, Russia is facing a complex problem with these two
movements. The Revolutionary movement is a strategic ally with no
uncertainty or hesitation in the face of the West, but it disagrees
with Moscow on issues related to several files, including, for
example, the position on political Islam, on the regime of the
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and on the authority in
Ramallah. This comes particularly since Moscow believes that the
Palestinian authority is its ally and thus it supports its political

The dispute over these files would never remain a theoretical or
collapsible one, but it would be transformed into a political dispute.
However, the Rouhani liberal movement seems to be in harmony with
Russia in its way of mastering the world and the era, but it is
untrustworthy in terms of looking forward to reaching understanding
with the West on the one hand and in terms of supporting Syria, which
constitutes the jewel of the Russian crown, on the other hand. At the
moment, it is a golden international opportunity for Iran to
reposition itself as part of a Russian-Chinese Alliance that would fix
the Iranian internal contradiction.

This re-positioning allows Iran, at the same time, to maintain its
independence and to preserve its policies regarding the West, as well
as to solve its economic and financial problems. Hence, are we going
to witness an internal understanding within the Iranian policy that
would adopt this approach, or we are going to witness a struggle that
paralyzes the possibility of taking advantage of the opportunity

I believe that the two parties, Russia and Iran, could gain profound
insight into the strategic relationship that existed between the
Soviets and Abdul Nasser's Egypt. It was a strategic relationship,
despite the ideological differences, and was even at times a political
one between the two sides. The West does not intend to establish
peaceful relations and to cooperate with Russia and Iran, but rather
intends to weaken both of them internally. In actual fact, those who
do not want to realize this are deluded, and those who do not
prioritize the bilateral alliance are waiving the principal interests
of the country and its future.

Source: Newspapers
29-11-2014 - 13:18 Last updated 29-11-2014 - 13:18
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