The trilateral meeting between the presidents of Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan is significant because of the timing of the meet, Seyed Marandi, Associate Professor of English Literature and Orientalism, University of Tehran, told valdaiclub.com.
“Iran and Russia, along with the Syrians and Hezbollah, have been able to defeat ISIS, while other extremist groups like al-Qaeda have been severely weakened in Syria. This is an important time for them to meet and discuss the future stability of the region. We also see that thanks to the efforts of Russia and Iran and their allies in Syria, the Iraqi government has been able to much more easily consolidate themselves and to strengthen the central government in Baghdad,” Marandi said.
According to Marandi, the fact that sovereignty of the central governments of Iraq and Syria has been strengthened is also an achievement for Iran and Russia, as the two states fight ISIS (banned in Russia).
“On the other hand, both Russia and Iran are facing American hostility. New US sanctions against Iran and Russia are an attempt to weaken the two countries economically and to weaken their influence across the region and beyond. This is a good opportunity for the two countries to increase their bilateral ties, their economic relationship with each other, and to discuss ways in which Iran and Russia together can overcome the attempts by the US to use the global financial system to weaken Russia and Iran,” Marandi added.
Discussing Azerbaijan’s role in the meeting, Marandi noted that the South Caucasus states are important for Russian-Iranian cooperation. In this case, Azerbaijan is important as a country that would facilitate more trade between Iran and Russia, particularly with economic pressure via sanctions from the United States and some of its allies.“At the moment, trade between Iran and Russia is limited, although it has increased significantly over the past few years, in absolute numbers it is still quite low. The pace of change in the relationship between Iran and Russia is going to have a significant impact on the economic relationship as well. The link between Iran and Russia through Azerbaijan is going to become increasingly important,” Marandi concluded.