Iran and Russia have little in common alongcultural, ethnic, and religious lines.
Iran is an Islamic Republic, while Russiahas a long history of secularism.
Yet the two are close geopolitical allies,for one simple reason: The United States.
Conflict throughout the Middle East and CentralAsia has pit the US against both Iran and Russia, as all three seek greater power inthose regions.
So, what exactly makes up the alliance betweenRussia and Iran, and what does it have to do with the United States? Well, notably, Russia and Iran have both heldunfriendly relations with the US for decades.
For Iran, this began largely due to a CIA-backedcoup, which replaced the appointed Prime Minister, with a US-friendly Shah in 1953.
Roughly 26 years later, the Shah was overthrownin the Islamic Revolution, ending US relations.
As for Russia, negative and competing relationwith the United States following World War Two ultimately culminated in a half centurylong Cold War, lasting until the fall of the Soviet Union.
Although political disagreements between themhave continued to this day.
As such, the US has placed economic sanctionson both countries, most recently in Iran for violating details of an agreement on nuclearproliferation, and in Russia for the invasion of Crimea in Ukraine.
In light of these sanctions, the two countrieswere forced to rely on each other for certain types of trade, like oil.
In fact, in recent years, they’ve workedon an “oil for goods” deal that could be worth as much as $20 billion dollars, andwould help Iran dispense with its excess of oil.
Since the two share a border via the CaspianSea, they are able to cooperate militarily as well.
Russia’s Collective Security Treaty Organization,which serves as an affront to NATO, and features predominantly post-Soviet states, has invitedIran to join.
Additionally, the two are primary foundersof the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, which represents roughly 70% of the world’s naturalgas.
Due to military sanctions against Iran, thecountry also relies on Russia for armaments.
In 2010, a UN resolution banned the sale ofmissile systems and other heavy weaponry to Iran, forcing Russia to go back on a dealfor long range surface-to-air missiles.
However, following completion of the Irannuclear deal between Iran and the United Nations Security Council, the missile delivery wasreinstated.
The two countries also work together on security,particularly against ISIS.
The so called “four plus one coalition”,made up of Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon have shared intelligence in orderto fight the terror group.
However, the United States has pushed backon this coalition, saying it aids not just anti-ISIS efforts, but pro-Syria efforts,particularly by Russia and Iran.
Both been allies of the Syrian governmentfor decades.
By some accounts, Iran is more of a pawn forRussia to wield its influence, rather than a fully equal partner in their relationship.
One thing is certain however, this generallyfavorable relationship has done plenty to rebuff the United States, while both Iranand Russia see mutually beneficial results from their alliance.
Besides the 1953 CIA-backed coup, Iran hasplenty of other reasons to dislike and distrust the United States.
You can learn more about the history of theirmutual conflict, and where they stand today by watching this video right here.
On November 4th of that same year, protestersstormed the U.
embassy in Iran, and the Iranian government held 52 Americans hostagefor more than a year.
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