…by Nahed al Husaini — VT Damascus with Sources in Russia and Iran
According to senior sources close to the Iranian regime, Russia plans to use Iranian ports in Bushehr and Chekhbehar as advanced military bases for warships and nuclear submarines.
Warships will be guarded by special forces soldiers under the guise of “military advisers.” In addition, Russia intends to use the air base near Bushehr as a base airport for 35 Su-57 fighters.
The next round of joint military exercises in the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Hormuz will mark the beginning of military expansion in Iran, while Iran will allow Russian ships to use facilities in Bushehr and Chekhbehar. Depending on the domestic and international reaction to these events, these ships and special forces will remain in place, and their number will be increased over the next 50 years.
This is a gradual build-up of Russian potential in the country – a proven tactic of the Kremlin. In exchange for economic and political support, Moscow gets the opportunity to effectively use this country as one large multi-level military base.
Why did Iran agree to a deal?
Considering Iran’s failures in relations with Russia – primarily in relation to oil and gas rights in the Caspian Sea – Iran’s decision to conclude the last deal may seem surprising to many, but it is due to two main reasons. First, Iran has no one else to choose as its geopolitical ally in its current struggle against sanctions and political marginalization.
There are only five permanent members in the UN Security Council: the USA (the main initiator of sanctions against Iran), the UK and France (both countries adhere to the US position), China (whose support depends on its own plans) and Russia.
“If you don’t have the opportunity to buy food at the supermarket ten miles from here, you just have to shop at the store around the corner, despite the quality,” said one of Iranian senior OilPrice.com sources last week.
The second reason is that President Rouhani and his moderate pro-Western supporters have lost the confidence of those who voted for him. He failed to ensure economic prosperity, which, as he promised, would be the result of a nuclear deal agreed in 2015 and entered into force on January 16, 2016.
“It’s about [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei, who supported Rouhani for the first few years, but now he has no choice but to agree with the recommendations of the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), and this Russian deal plays a central role here.” , – noted a senior source in Iran.
Why is the IRGC supporting this deal with Russia, given that its leaders are skilled people and seasoned officers, well aware of the problems this deal could lead to on a global scale?
“Firstly, they [IRGC] sincerely believe that the financial deal agreed with Russia last year is the only way to help Iran avoid the revolutionary scenario, and secondly, some of the most senior figures in the IRGC will also win in cash attitude from cooperation with Russia, ”a source in Iran said.
The deal was based on a 22-point memorandum of understanding signed by Iran’s Deputy Minister of Oil Amir Hossein Zamaniniya and Russia’s Deputy Minister of Energy Kirill Molodtsov, at the same time it was about closer cooperation between the two countries in all areas.
Essence of the question
In particular, Russia will allocate $ 50 billion a year to the oil and gas sector for at least five years to complete priority oil and gas projects in accordance with Western standards, which are estimated at about $ 250 billion. Over the next five years, Iran will be provided another $ 250 billion to develop other sectors of the economy.
In exchange for this, Iran should give preference to Russian companies in all future oil and gas exploration and development deals, in addition to the seven already agreed projects. In addition, and this is crucial for military plans, Iran also agreed to buy the Russian S-400 missile defense system, allowed Russia to increase the number of listening posts in Iran and double the number of senior IRGC officers who will be trained in Moscow to 120-130 people .
According to the terms of the agreement, Iran cannot impose fines against any Russian development company in case of slow progress at any field over the next 10 years. However, he cannot re-include these deposits in new tenders, even in the absence of any results. Within 10 years, Russia will be able to decide how much oil to extract at each field, when and to whom to sell it, and for what amount.
“In addition, there was one more clause in the contracts: Russia will be able to buy oil and gas, which are produced at fields developed by its companies, for 55-72% of the market value over the next 10 years,” Iran said.
Moreover, Russia recently – despite the fact that it prevented Iran from gaining, possibly, its rightful share in the Caspian Sea – has proposed to extract oil and gas from the Iranian sector in the Caspian and sell them on international markets.
Thus, Russia not only has unhindered access to all oil and gas reserves on land, on the shelf and in the Caspian sector of Iran to sell them at its discretion, but also intends to use two strategic ports and adjacent areas in the most significant oil and gas point in the world, which allow her to actually control the Strait of Hormuz.
Of course, Hormuz remains the most important oil corridor in the world – and the key route from the Persian Gulf to Southeast Asia through the Indian Ocean. At the same time, about 35% of all sea oil transportation and about a third of the global supply of liquefied natural gas pass through the strait.
“Bushir and Chekhbekhar will probably allow Russia to take a dominant position in the Persian Gulf and in the Indian Ocean, which will make it easier for it to conduct joint naval operations with China in the sphere of US influence in the East, including near Japan and South Korea and the Philippines, ”said a London analyst.
In his opinion, the fact that Russia also intends to use these ports not only for warships, but also for nuclear submarines during the period of ice formation in its more northern ports, will help Russia strengthen its position with regard to the West as a whole and the United States in particular.