Scientific Diplomacy: New Dimensions in Iran-Russia Cooperation

When a delegation of 13 presidents from the leading Iranian universities with their deputies and directors of international affairs departments came to Moscow in November 2015, few people believed the trip would open a new chapter of scientific diplomacy in long-standing bilateral ties. The first meeting of the presidents of Iranian and Russian universities, held at the initiative of Moscow State University and the University of Tehran under the skillful and open-hearted guidance of their presidents Prof. Viktor Sadovnichyi and Prof. Mahmoud Nili Ahmadabadi, respectively, produced a signed memorandum whereby   all the participating universities agreed to continue the dialogue and create conditions for expanding cooperation. Also, two secretariats in Tehran and Moscow assumed responsibility for monitoring issues related to the promotion of a major bilateral partnership in science of these two countries.

The most striking impression at the four joint sessions of the presidents of Iranian and Russian universities of these two countries was the higher level of scientific cooperation in various areas. The number of programs for exchanging university teachers and students was unprecedented in the modern history of bilateral relations. The universities of the two countries are also drafting joint educational programs for the first time. Now, Iranian and Russian representatives have attended scientific conferences, educational seminars, international forums and summer schools. After years of stagnation, programs to teach Russian in Iranian universities and Farsi in Russian universities are slowly acquiring new life.

Having taken part in expanding cooperation programs between Iranian and Russian universities from the beginning, I can say that a deep scientific friendship between the university circles in both countries has taken shape in many areas. This has created favorable conditions for drafting joint research projects.

The Role of Russia, Iran and Turkey in the Post-War Reconstruction of Syria
Seyed Kazem Sajjadpour
According to Iran’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Seyed Kazem Sajjadpour, who is also president of the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS), Russia, Iran and Turkey complement each other well in the post-war reconstruction of Syria, which is a multi-dimensional process. He was interviewed by on the sidelines of the Valdai Club Middle East Conference in Moscow.
Expert Opinions

Apart from initiating an exchange of knowledge and drafting joint scientific and technical projects, we have revealed much potential for cooperation in the humanitarian and social sciences. Being Iran’s largest institution on humanitarian and social sciences, during these years Allameh Tabatabai University has hosted and organized various programs on cultural and historical bilateral ties with the participation of St Petersburg Humanitarian University, the State University of North Ossetia, Dagestan State University, the Institute of Asian and African Studies, Chelyabinsk State University, Tula State University, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University), Kazan State University, Moscow State Humanitarian University and Moscow State Linguistic University. Cooperative philosophical meetings with the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Philosophy show that relying on rich philosophical traditions, Iranian and Russian thinkers can easily conduct interesting and productive scientific dialogues.

Since many Iranian and Russian philologists are considered elite at the international level, the holding of joint in-depth philological programs between Moscow State Linguistic University and Allameh Tabatabai University was a new initiative that allowed Iranian and Russian students to study in each of these two educational and intellectual schools. These two universities were the first to organize cooperative programs on Eurasia studies at the master’s level.

Why Did Attempts to Isolate Iran Fail?
Andrey Baklitskiy
Tehran has no control over what happens in relations between Washington and Beijing, Washington and Brussels or Doha and Riyadh, though it plays a major role in Iran’s economic and political planning. The country has found itself in a tight spot. Despite the sympathy demonstrated by the international community and official statements by a majority of the world’s governments, at the end of the day Tehran is left to its own devices, and Javad Zarif surely understands this.
Expert Opinions

Obviously, scientific diplomacy and ties between civil societies in different countries play a big role in creating trust and promoting ties between states in politics, the economy and security. In the meantime, university cooperation is considered the most important factor between Iranian and Russian societies today. This cooperation will promote understanding between Iranian and Russian teachers and students and further strengthen the countries’ historical ties. In many societies university circles are regarded as the leaders of the people in general. In this context, putting Iranian and Russian scientists at the helm of scientific diplomacy in our countries appears to be the best alternative.

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