Iranians be careful.John Bolton visited Russia yesterday, and met with Putin. Trump now has a scheduled ‘summit’ with Putin. At the same time Russia and Saudi Arabia are increasing their oil production, and Iran’s exports are being clamped down by the U.S. (telling Allies to completely stop buying Iranian oil), while oil prices peaked this week to over $75 a barrel.
Forget Marg bar Amrika (Death to America), it has to be Marg bar Rusieh (Death to Russia)! Putin, is the invisible hand behind Trump’s current wave of sanctions and verbal attacks on Iranians. If you hate Trump, you must hate Putin.
Russia is Iran greatest enemy. It has always been Iran’s enemy. My ancestors are from Georgia. We (the Bahar’s) are directly related to the Georgian king, Erekle. So, what brought the Bahars to become poets, writers and statesmen in Iran? Russia! The Russians (Peter-the-great) invaded Georgia, which was then part of Iran; and my ancestors moved south to Iran (converted to Islam, and because of their education took on important jobs in Iran).
Yes, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan were all part of Iran – really not so long ago (in the 19th Century) – before the Russians (and the Brits) splintered Iran. And it is about to happen again.
Yes, the Brits yanked Afghanistan (and parts of what is now Pakistan; roughly 20% of what was Iran in 1800’s) from Iranian hands, but all these other ‘stans (roughly 35 % of what was Iran at the turn of the 19th Century) were all part of Iran. Russia grabbed it all. Never forget that. Iran shrank 55% because of Russia and Britain. Neither ‘power’ ever loved Iran or Iranians. But it did not end 150 years ago.
Only 30 years ago, the break-up of the Soviet Union, had a massive impact on Iran. Iran was a full and equal sovereign of the Caspian Sea with the Soviet Union. i.e. controlled 50% of the Caspian Sea. Today, Iran barely controls 13% of the Sea. Yes, the Brits stole Iranian oil for half a century, but the Russians have been full partners in the exploitation of Azeri, Uzbek and Turkmen fields in the Caspian. Literally millions of barrels of oil and millions of cubic feet of natural gas are being exported from what were once Iranian fields, by Russian and British oil companies, using British pipelines to the Mediterranean (across Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey).
But there is a new – today – twist to Russia’s attacks on Iran. Its “Putin” no less.
We know now, that Trump’s election was manipulated by Putin. Trump has become Putin’s puppet. And to help Trump, Putin just choreographed Trump photo-op spectacle with Kim in Singapore (with a fake promise to de-nuclearize). Trump needs all the political capital he can get, while Mueller investigates the collusion. Russia sees Iran as its greatest competitor in supplying natural gas to Europe and is doing everything it can to ‘contain’ Iran and keep it out of the European market. Trump’s pull out from the JCPOA is not to somehow protect U.S. national interests, but is in defense of Russian, Israeli and Saudi economic interests. It’s all Putin’s invisible hand.
And the Europeans are livid. All this leaves Western Europe without a second source for energy! And, Britain, has been quietly working behind the scenes, to supplement Russian sales with Azerbaijan’s and other fields in adjacent countries (that it controls). The truth is “American Sanctions” serve Russian and British interests – not American or European interests.
Interestingly, many Russian companies already do business with Iran. With the presence of sanctions, they can continue doing business in Iran as if nothing happened at all – in oil, gas and nuclear energy – while European companies are too engaged in the U.S. economy to take a chance doing business with Iran. So, Russians have an advantage over the Europeans, who, like Total or Airbus, have major businesses in the US and are listed on American exchanges.
Before Trump’s new sanctions on Iran, Iran had planned to purchase 100 planes from Boeing, 80 from Airbus and another 20 from the Franco-Italian ATR. The Russian Sukhoi SuperJet-100 and Irkut MC-21 models are designed to compete with similar models manufactured by Boeing and Airbus and now Iran has shifted to buying MC-21 jets from Russia – instead. Two Iranian airlines have signed deals to buy 40 passenger planes from Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company, amid slow progress with orders of western-built aircraft. In April, Iran’s Aseman Airlines has agreed to buy 20 of the Sukhoi SuperJet 100 planes while Iran Air Tours, a subsidiary of national carrier Iran Air, ordered 20 of these planes. Further orders for the MC-21 are expected soon.
Russia’s energy minister confirmed recently that Russia delivered over 1200 railway carriages and planned to deliver about 3,000 this year; and in a recent meeting with Iranian counterparts had discussed additional sales of Russian-made buses, as well as vehicles produced by Russia’s KAMAZ and UAZ plants.
If you look back 30 or so years, all this business (historically) had gone to the U.S. and Europe. Its now going to Russia for one reason and one reason only – U.S. driven sanctions initiated by Trump.
Since Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA, (and his threats prior) the whole of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018 was a period of unprecedented intense activity for Russian business in Iran. In effect, Russia has won out big from Trump’s Iran sanctions and pull out from the JCPOA! And the U.S. has lost.
Russia also stands to gain politically. Trump seems to be reinforcing Putin’s ambitions. Russia as a self-perceived superpower has always viewed itself on a par with the United States. The Kremlin has historically used Tehran as a counterweight or source of leverage to balance its relations with Western powers, particularly Washington. Today is no exception and Iran has fallen victim to the Russian desire for big power recognition and respect as soon as a strategic opportunity presents itself to Moscow.
The recent history clearly demonstrates that Russian-Iranian ties have been a dependent variable of Russian-American relations, and like it did in the past, the Kremlin will take advantage of Iran to further its bargaining position vis-a-vis the US. And to this end, Israel’s vast influence and lobbying power in Washington can serve as a useful catalyst.
Tensions between the US and EU over the JCPOA provided the Kremlin with an opportunity to restore dialogue with the Europeans. Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron paid visits to Russia in the past few months and it seemed that Moscow’s status as a signatory of the JCPOA could be used to create a split in the Western anti-Russia camp.
Trump has in effect created a space for Russia to operate economically and politically without competitors in Iran. And, one thing is certain, Russia has doubled down in its business and political connections with Iran. And this, my friends, is not fundamentally in Iran’s interests. Russians are not doing this to further Iranian interests – its only their own interests at play.
All western alliances are in flux. The U.S. is reconsidering all its alliances. It is very feasible that the U.S. may completely abandon the EU and NATO in favor of a completely different alliance with Britain and Russia. Together they can control Europe’s energy market, splinter Iran – grab Iran’s oil and gas and then dominate the middle east (especially Turkey and Syria). Its all part of a larger strategic framework being pushed in the U.S. to counter Germany and China’s growing economic power. The EU has become a defacto take over of Europe by Germany. And well, China, is eating America’s lunch globally – providing a competing agenda to U.S. influence everywhere from Africa to the Philippines.
By aligning with Russia, the U.S. stands to reassert itself in this multi-polar world. And Iran, my friends, is the strategic casualty of this larger game!
Iranians beware, Russia is about to throw Iran under the bus.