By Mehdi Sepahvand, Katya Bohdan, Ali Kushki 

Iran should not put all eggs in one basket: professor 

February 14, 2017

TEHRAN – Iran should not put all its eggs in one basket and it is necessary to establish “good ties” with all countries, says Davoud Hermidas Bavand, a politics professor at the University of Tehran. 

For example, Bavand says, Iran “ought to have good relations with Russia” but it is not in interest of Iran to adopt a “strategic relationship with Russia”.

The professor believes that Russia “utilizes Iran for the realization of its political objectives.” 

Below is the first part of the Tehran Times’ interview with Bavand. 

Q: Iran has been hailing its ties with Russia as strategic. How strategic do you think these relations are?

A: We should have good relationship with all countries. There’s no doubt about that. But I do not take the current relations with Russia as strategic. We are neighbors with Russia, so we should have good relationship with Russia. But at the same time we have to bear in mind that Russia uses and utilizes Iran, primarily as a means for realization of its political objectives. For instance, with regard to nuclear technology, we adopted a sort of Ost-Politics Cooperation with Russia, China and India, but we all witnessed in the International Atomic Energy Agency that Russia and China supported the resolution of the Council and supported wholeheartedly the resolution of the Security Council. And even if you do remember, the last two resolutions, the resolutions of the Security Council were unconfined to the nuclear deal. 

It was expanded to the missile situation and even defensive situation. And also declaration of the activities of Iran in Air Force and some other areas in the high seas. With regard to North Korea, China opposed any investigation and observation in the high seas. But contrariwise, neither Russia nor China supported the concentration. 

“Approaching the EU is a good choice for Iran. We are doing that and we ought to do that.”So, I do not believe that we genuinely have strategic relationship. Russia most often utilizes Iran as a means to its ends. With regard to the Caspian Sea situation, Russia adopted a totally different approach vis-a-vis Iran and I do not believe we have to put all of our eggs in one basket. We ought to have good relations with Russia, but I do not believe it is in interest of Iran to adopt strategic relationship with Russia.

In regards to Russia, we do have, inevitably, certain relations, because Russia is a neighboring state, at least through the Caspian Sea. After the Islamic Revolution our defense necessities turned toward Russia, so in that sense we do have some relations with Russia. Russia is very selective. We do have certain amount of economic relations with Russia. Russia might make certain statements in favor of Iran, but beyond statements, in the area of action, it adopts a very conservative position.

Q: Iran has been trying to approach the EU. But last year the German minister of economy while visiting Iran said his country, and maybe Europe in general, would establish stronger ties with Iran if Iran softens its stance on Israel. How large do you think Israel looms in Iran’s foreign relations?

A: Approaching the EU is a good choice for Iran. We are doing that and we ought to do that. We ought to believe that there is matter of certainty and matter of degree. The EU have extensive relations with the U.S. So they ought to observe the views of the U.S. I do believe we ought to support the Palestinian issue in all international forums and international conventions wherever and whenever it is. We used to support it even before the Islamic revolution… we have suffered a very strong damage to our foreign policy (for supporting Palestinians). We have paid and continue to pay. We ought to support the Palestinian question at every international forum. …bearing in mind at the same time (some countries within) the Arab union never appreciate Iran’s approach. As far as Hamas is concerned, at the beginning of the Arab Spring it shifted toward Saudi Arabia and Turkey, but then when it could not get anywhere, it shifted back to Iran. So it is trying to move toward the realization of its own objectives and interests and is not subject to Iran’s will and wish.

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