The intensity of Moscow’s current contact with Tehran is unprecedented in Russia’s post-Soviet history. Yet despite the potential for improvement, there are serious obstacles that may hamper or even halt cooperation.
The Ukraine crisis has made Europeans see Greek foreign policy as particularly threatening and divisive. In reality, Greece is simply acting in line with its long-standing political traditions. The question of European unity still lies in the hands of Brussels and Berlin.
It will take Iran a long time to make up the ground it has lost in the South Caucasus since the end of the Soviet Union.
The risk of a failure to reach a comprehensive deal with Iran is growing. However, a gradualist approach is the most realistic option for solving the nuclear issue.
A Greater Asia, stretching from Shanghai to St. Petersburg, could transform the entire continent of Eurasia and have a significant impact on the global balance of power.
Though largely overlooked by international media, Russia has signed several significant nuclear energy agreements over the last several months. These agreements give Russia an opportunity to develop nuclear cooperation with India, Turkey, and Iran, as well as Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Egypt, where Russia plans to build nuclear plants too.
The danger for the EU in the rapprochement between Russia and China lies in the fortification of the Russian economy against sanctions and in an increased assertiveness for China.
The year 2014 ended the period of cooperation between Russia and the West. A new period has begun, marked by rivalry and competition. At the same time, Russia has been seeking ways to strengthen ties with leading non-Western powers.
Calling time on the South Stream pipeline project, Putin announced a new Black Sea pipeline to Turkey instead. The new project could be a competitor to Azerbaijan gas ambitions, but, at the same time, it may require more collaboration in the future.
In reduced economic circumstances the big test for Russia is whether it will be forced to retrench, or whether Vladimir Putin will take his chances on expansionist foreign policy at a moment when there’s less money to go around to combat legitimate threats.