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Iranians and Russians, between incentives and threats

There are conflicting reports about S-300 missiles that Russia promised to supply Iran.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

There are conflicting reports about S-300 missiles that Russia promised to supply Iran. Tehran said they were shipped, but Moscow denied that and Iran’s claim that it fully paid for them. This raises speculation over whether Russia has supplied the missiles, and if not, whether it will do so.

Their bilateral relations are strange. They are both willing to confront the West in the region, using one another in a temporary alliance. However, their interests are different, particularly in light of Iranian rapprochement with the West.

They are both willing to confront the West in the region, using one another in a temporary alliance. However, their interests are different, particularly in light of Iranian rapprochement with the West

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

The extremist wing of the Tehran regime believes rapprochement will be at the expense of its domestic influence and come with regional conditions. That is why this wing told the Kremlin some two weeks ago that it would spend $8 billion on more Russian arms.

Money talks?

Perhaps Iran thinks it can buy the Russians while reconciling with Washington. However, if Tehran is betting on tempting Moscow with money and military deals, it will be disappointed because it is competing with three richer countries: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar.

However, if Iran is trying to build a regional military and political alliance with Russia, this will benefit Gulf countries because such an alliance will thwart U.S. rapprochement and cooperation with Tehran. Options are more difficult for Tehran than for its neighbors.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Feb. 24, 2016.
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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.