Fyodor Lukyanov: Old World System Is Shattered, Russia and Iran Must Work to Build a New One

Over the past year, the context of the world order has changed significantly, and this pushes Russia and Iran to cooperate on specific issues, Fyodor Lukyanov, Research director of the Valdai Discussion Club, said in his comments on the results of the Russian-Iranian dialogue, which was held in Tehran on April 9. According to him, the two countries need to act jointly to construct a new world system, which is inevitably to arise, since the old one is completely shattered.

In the year since the first Russian-Iranian dialogue, the context of the world order has changed significantly. On the one hand, there has been close cooperation in Syria, which demonstrated the capability of Russia and Iran to work effectively on various issues, on the other – the transformation of the US from a malevolent observer into an active side attacking both Russia and Iran, which pushes the two countries to interact on specific issues. And this was very noticeable at our event.

There are some disagreements and different understanding of interests, but this is inevitable, because we are talking about two powers with a very long diplomatic, political and geopolitical tradition. In addition, “Syria for Russia” and “Syria for Iran” are two different topics. That means that the significance of this country in both cases is great, but it may differ. 

Russia and Iran: Seeking for Mutual Trust and Better Knowledge of Each Other
On April 9, 2018, leading experts from Russia and Iran took part in the Russian-Iranian dialogue, organized, for the first time in Tehran, by the Valdai Discussion Club in partnership with the Tehran-based Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS). The first round of the dialogue was held in Moscow in April 2017. Its goal is to harmonize the two countries’ policies and develop flexible approaches to the solution of international problems.

All of this was already clear two years ago, but now it became obvious that the parties are ready to overcome their contradictions and misunderstandings. 

The actual question raised by all the officials who hosted the Russian delegation was shifting from tactical interaction to a strategic one. That means that we could not use the Syrian topic forever, that we must leave it one day; this is a situational topic, albeit extremely profound. 

As a result of the Russian-Iranian dialogue, it became evident that the agenda, the assortment of questions raised, will be expanded, and not only in the economy – we are notoriously lagging behind on economic cooperation – but also in the political sphere. In a situation characterized as a new Cold War absolutely different priorities emerge. 

The question is not even to confront the US, which is secondary. The main thing is to act jointly to construct a new world system, which is inevitably to arise, since the old one is completely shattered. All sides contributed to this, but US President Donald Trump has actively completed the process. We did not end on an optimistic note, but we are confident that this is the beginning of a long journey.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.