The Limits of the Iran-Russia Alliance

(Reuters) Bozorgmehr Sharafedin and Lidia Kelly - The Kremlin's decision a year ago to press ahead with the stalled sale to Iran of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system was evidence of a growing partnership between Russia and Iran that has turned the tide in Syria's civil war and is testing U.S. influence in the Middle East. But the delay in implementation of the deal also points to the limitations of the relationship, and Russia is showing signs of reluctance to let the alliance develop much more, according to diplomats, officials and analysts. Russia is now weighing the financial and diplomatic benefits of arms sales to Tehran against the risk of upsetting other countries including Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and Israel, or seeing Iran become too powerful. "On a geopolitical level, Iran and Russia can only form a tactical short-term alliance, not a strategic one. I think the ideological differences between the two are just too deep," said Maziar Behrooz, associate professor of Mideast and Islamic history at San Francisco State University. Some Iranian officials are also wary of getting too close to Russia, which fought Britain for domination of 19th century Iran and occupied the country during both World Wars.

2016-04-28 00:00:00

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