Russia and Iran: New Mechanisms for Regional Security and Cooperation

Iran respects the "inclusive" approach toward the formation of a circle of participants in the future system of a new regional order, including the Russian initiative to create a regional security system in the Persian Gulf region, writes Andrey Baklanov, professor at the Higher School of Economics and Deputy Chairman of the Association of Russian Diplomats.

The Middle East Conference of the Valdai Discussion Club, which was held in Moscow on March 30-31, reflected the commitment of the countries of the region to end the protracted period of turbulence and to move on, to create new mechanisms for regional security and cooperation.

Therefore, quite naturally, the discussion centred on the Russian initiative to establish a regional security system in the Persian Gulf region as the first step towards the formation of such structures in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa.

The work of the conference was open and constructive and there were a lot of polemics; there were serious differences between the positions of experts from different countries, and this is only natural.

The polemics continued even after the end of the conference.

In this regard, it could be worth noticing a publication produced by well-known experts, Hanna Notte and Hamidreza Azizi, the main thesis of which was the presumable existence of insurmountable differences between Moscow and Tehran on security issues.

Will Iran Accept Russia’s Ideas for a Middle East Regional Security Process?
Hanna Notte, Hamidreza Azizi
At first sight, Russia and Iran seem to have compatible – or even similar – approaches to the JCPOA and regional security. Moscow’s emphasis on the need for all parties to return to the nuclear deal in its original form and avoid raising new demands at this stage is in line with Tehran’s view that the JCPOA is “concluded and sealed” and cannot be renegotiated. However, the more Russian officials elaborate on their views on regional security, the less attractive they appear to become to the Iranian side, Valdai Club experts Hanna Notte and Hamidreza Azizi write.

The authors came to the conclusion, that the Russian idea of ​​connecting all regional countries to the future security system contradicts Tehran's approach, which will "never" agree to jointly discuss any issues with Israel.

Meanwhile, the Iranian leadership and Iranian diplomats pointed to the full acceptability of the Russian proposals for Tehran.

No reservations were expressed in this regard. This means that "by default" Iran respects the "inclusive" approach to the formation of a circle of participants in the future system of a new regional order.

It seems that the opinions of experts should not only fix the positions of various parties, but also form a psychological climate favourable for the search for peace, and develop projects to resolve complex situations in the region.

We hope that our esteemed colleagues will take into account our principled position, and join in the search for optimal options to address mutual concerns from regional countries, including Iran and Israel.

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