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On November 24, 2014, Moscow hosted the conference "Development of Strategic Partnership between Russia and Iran" sponsored by LUKOIL and organized jointly by Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), Center for Energy and Security Studies, Iranian Embassy in Moscow and Institute of Iran Eurasian Studies (IRAS), Tehran. This was the first event organized by RIAC in partnership with the Iranian party.

On November 24, 2014, Moscow hosted the conference "Development of Strategic Partnership between Russia and Iran" sponsored by LUKOIL and organized jointly by Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), Center for Energy and Security Studies, Iranian Embassy in Moscow and Institute of Iran Eurasian Studies (IRAS), Tehran. This was the first event organized by RIAC in partnership with the Iranian party.

The plenary session of the conference was opened by RIAC President Igor Ivanov and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hadi Soleimanpour, who underlined the need to reexamine the existing world order, the role of international institutions, as well as understanding of force and power of the state. The swiftly changing global environment, emergence of new common worldwide and regional challenges, and similarity of the "sanctioned" status of Iran and Russia are driving the two countries to common approaches. "The key task seems to be providing the bilateral relationship with substantive content in the interests of the two states and their interaction in the world arena," said Igor Ivanov. 

The most acute for Iran is definitely the issue of its nuclear program. According to Dr. Ivanov, "it is erroneous to believe that the Western tough line even vaguely fits Russia's interests… as if in isolation from the West Tehran will be compelled to expand cooperation with Russia… A strategic partnership with Iran cannot rest on politics that may offer a foundation too wobbly and unreliable."

Mr. Soleimanpour also stressed the significance of the values-based Iran-Russia rapprochement, which implies the development of mutual understanding of the basics for the modern world order, accumulation of knowledge about each other, respect and understanding of each other's interests and motives. Dr. Ivanov stressed that the heart of the matter lies in the mutual trust that requires dialogue and co-working.  

Within three sessions, the participants covered the future of Russia-Iran partnership on the global, regional and bilateral levels. The regional segment included the challenges emanating from the Islamic State, Syria, rising instability in Afghanistan, and religious extremism, with the attitudes of pundits from both sides mostly similar, which may imply future partnership in handling these matters. On the bilateral relationship, the focus was on the untapped trade potential and hurdles to closer economic cooperation, among them absence of proper mechanisms for mutual settlements, customs restrictions and red tape.

In conclusion, Director of Center for Energy and Security Studies Anton Khlopkov emphasized that despite some mutual misunderstanding of interests and historical memory that sometimes impedes setting aside the grievances and conflicts of the past, development of the strategic partnership should start with outlining the list of future deeds and pinpointed projects whose  joint implementation may lay the grounds for future rapprochement and mutually beneficial cooperation. "This is something we can bring into life."

Iran's Ambassador in Moscow Mehdi Sanai spoke on the need for joint analytical and information work, which is the prerequisite for a strategic partnership. Today, experts of both countries often learn about each other from Western sources, which is absolutely unacceptable and should be changed through meaningful joint efforts. This is exactly what the RIAC and its Iranian partners, i.e. IRAS and Institute for Political and International Studies, are doing. The conference is expected to entail a series of bilateral expert-level events.

Along with top officials of Iran's Foreign Ministry, the conference was attended by prominent Iranian analysts on Eurasia and Russia, among them Ali Akramifar, Director of the Presidential Center for Innovations and technology Cooperation; Keyan Barzegar, Director of the Institute for Middle East Strategic Studies; Nasser Heydian-Jazi, Professor of Law and Political Science at Tehran University, Mandana Tisheher, IRAS Acting Director; Jahangir Karami, Visiting Professor at Tehran University; Bahram Amirahmadian, Academic Council Member at IRAS, Mahmud Shuri, Member of Center for Strategic Research, Tehran; Mahdi Amiri, Head of Foreign Policy Committee at the Parliamentary Research Center; and Farhad Parand, Member of Academic Council at IRAS.    

The Russian side was represented by the Foreign Ministry, Security Council, Presidential Administration, Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Russia-Iran Business Council, RIAC members and experts, RAS Institute for Oriental Studies, Diplomatic Academy of the Foreign Ministry, Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University and other Russian universities and colleges, as well as by the business community.

Conference "Development of Strategic Partnership between Russia and Iran"

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Poll conducted

  1. Korean Peninsula Crisis Has no Military Solution. How Can It Be Solved?
    Demilitarization of the region based on Russia-China "Dual Freeze" proposal  
     36 (35%)
    Restoring multilateral negotiation process without any preliminary conditions  
     27 (26%)
    While the situation benefits Kim Jong-un's and Trump's domestic agenda, there will be no solution  
     22 (21%)
    Armed conflict still cannot be avoided  
     12 (12%)
    Stonger deterrence on behalf of the U.S. through modernization of military infrastructure in the region  
     4 (4%)
    Toughening economic sanctions against North Korea  
     2 (2%)
 
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