Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Bear, The Dragon, And The Persian Cat

Esfandyar Batmanghelidj,

Image from
“Today, Russia and China effectively shelter Iran from complete isolation and provide it with political support, defence assistance, and economic ties it cannot receive elsewhere.” That is the primary contention of a new book by Dina Esfandiary, a research fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and Ariane Tabatabai, an assistant professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Triple Axis (I.B. Tauris) explores “Iran’s ability to leverage its relations with Russia and China” as part of the Islamic Republic’s “struggle to challenge the world order.” ...

Although Triple Axis makes the content of Russian and Chinese public diplomacy [JB emphasis] towards Iran clear, it remains less clear to what extent Russian and Chinese strategic designs diverge with the image publicly presented. Iranian officials are clearly worried about this divergence in both political and economic spheres, viewing Russia and China as “untrustworthy partners.” Esfandiary and Tabatabai point to the sources of this distrust. On the warfront in Syria, Iranian officials “continued to view Russia with suspicion,” for instance that it might make a deal with the West to Iran’s detriment. Meanwhile, concerning Chinese investments, Iranians had their own grievances about lackluster project management and the low quality of imported goods. ...

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