There are strong indications suggesting that the Islamic Republic of Iran following the last year’s nuclear deal has stepped up efforts to deepen military cooperation with its closest allies and the East’s superpowers, Russia and China.
Russia and China, since Iran’s revolution in 1979, have replaced the country’s once largest supplier of arms, the US. And, after the implementation of the nuclear deal on Jan. 16, the barriers against further cooperation between the eastern allies have been removed.
Hossein Aryan, a UK-based Iranian military expert and a former officer of Iranian Navy, suggests that the Islamic Republic in the post-sanctions era appears to accelerate efforts aimed at upgrading its military capabilities.
The Minister of National Defense of China Chang Wanquan’s recent three-day official visit to Iran, inking a military agreement on cooperation between the two countries, Iran’s call for staging joint war games with China, alongside with reports on Tehran-Moscow intention to finalize a $10-million arms deal give enough grounds for observers to believe that Tehran is doing its best to gain the maximum benefits in the post-sanctions era in terms of military cooperation.
On the other hand the sides of the Iran-Russia-China triangle share geopolitical interests, which paves the ground for closer cooperation.
This is while the three countries partially oppose most of the US policies in the region and the world – a basic fact contributing to the warming up of the ties and Iran’s plans to renew its military equipment.
Nevertheless, Hossein Aryan believes that the level of closer ties between the sides of the triangle is the subject to the outcome of the US presidential election.
In case Russian President Vladimir Putin and the US president-elect Donald Trump manage to establish friendly ties, the Tehran-Moscow relations may cool down, as Russia would seek to create balance in its ties with the Islamic Republic and the White House.
Coming to Beijing, despite the fact that the US president-elect had been strongly critical of China during his campaign, the Chinese leader Xi Jinping seems curious to strengthen ties with the Western rival.
Therefore, there is again a possible scenario of search for balance in the Beijing-Tehran ties.
However, that all depends on whether the three superpowers – the US, Russia and China – choose to cement the existing fragile ties or to go on with the current sentiments, Aryan concluded.