This article was last updated on July 22, 2022
Russia and Iran – The Energy Giants and the End of American Dominance
While the Western media has already stated that Vladimir Putin is either dead and being replaced by a body double or is deathly ill with cancer, a Vladimir Putin-like figure recently spent time with Iran’s leadership, accomplishing a great deal in a short period of time.
Let’s start by looking at the Kremlin’s official transcript from the initial meeting between Putin and the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Sayyid Ebrahim Raise:
Here are some brief quotes from Iran’s President:
“Thank you very much for accepting our invitation to come here for bilateral and then trilateral talks in the Astana format.
After our visit and the meeting in Moscow and then in Ashgabat, everything has been developing very quickly, including our bilateral relations. Both sides have the political will needed to develop our ties and to put them into practice…
I very much hope that your official visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran will become a turning point in upgrading our relations on the regional and international agenda.“
…followed by brief quotes from Vladimir Putin:
“I am very pleased to be here today with our friends on hospitable Iranian land.
Our relations have been developing at a good pace, indeed. We boast record figures in trade growth. We are strengthening our cooperation on international security and making a tangible contribution to settling the Syrian conflict.”
Now, let’s look at what was accomplished, focusing on the issue of binational trade. To set the stage, we need to understand the economic importance of these two nations to the global economy. As such, here is a table from the 2021 edition of BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy showing global natural gas reserves by nation:
Between Iran and Russia, they control 2454.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas or 36.95 percent of the world’s total natural gas reserves. By way of comparison, in all of Europe, there are only 111.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas or 1.68 percent of the world’s total natural gas reserves and the United States, Canada and Mexico have only 535 trillion cubic feet of natural gas or 8.06 percent of the world’s total natural gas reserves. At some point, whether Western leaders like it or not, the world is going to be highly dependent on natural gas from Russia and Iran.
Here is a map showing Russia’s natural gas fields (in red) and pipeline infrastructure:
Here is a map showing Iran’s natural gas fields (in red) and pipeline infrastructure:
Now, let’s look at news from the Russia-Iran summit as reported in Iran:
1.) Mehr News Agency:
Lastly, here is one of the most interesting developments which is clearly designed to punish Washington:
This is a direct threat to the hegemony of the United States dollar in international trade. Nations that are subject to the whims of Washington’s sanctions are exploring alternatives to further blunt the effectiveness of America’s non-military punishments.
Just for fun and very slightly off topic, this is what appeared on the PressTV website after the high level meeting:
Here is a key quote with my bold:
“Iran and Russia share a common perspective concerning the sanctions that the United States has leveled against both the countries, Iran’s nuclear agreement, revisionism in the current order, and the international unilateralism. This common perspective paves the way for the countries’ cooperation. These areas [of commonality] are of such importance in the Kremlin foreign policy apparatus’ assessments that have seen Putin meet with the Iranian president on three occasions in Moscow, Ashgabat, and Tehran over the past six months.“
Let’s close with some excerpts from a media question and answer session that was held on July 19, 2022 as Putin was about to depart from Iran, showing the growing economic relationship between two of Washington’s most reviled enemy states:
“For example, as I said at the news conference, in my press statement, the main theme at the meeting with the Spiritual Leader of Iran was strategic issues, including developments in the region. This is natural, as it is the sphere of his activity. It was very important for me to hear his opinion, his assessment. I have to say that we have very similar views with Iran on many aspects. So, it was very important and very useful.
As for my meeting with President Raisi, we discussed primarily economic matters. I would like to note that Russian-Iranian trade has grown by 40 percent over the past six months. This is a very good indicator.
There are promising spheres for our cooperation, and there is a great variety of them, like infrastructure development. You may know that a deputy prime minister of the Russian Government chairs a group that is responsible for developing relations in the South Caucasus, including infrastructure projects in the South Caucasus, that is, in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia. A great deal can be achieved in this sphere in cooperation with Iran.
As you know, the first pilot train is travelling along the North-South Railway line. It is a short route to ports in the south of Iran, which further leads to the Persian Gulf and India.
There is a practical project: the Rasht-Astara railway is a short 146-kilometre line across Iran. Azerbaijan is interested in its construction. I recently met with President Aliyev during the Caspian Summit, and we discussed this matter. Iran is interested in this as well, as our Iranian partners have told us just now. Russia is interested in this, because it will connect Russia’s northern region, St Petersburg, directly to the Persian Gulf. It is a very interesting and promising project. The task now is to build this line, which is only 146 kilometres. Russia is ready to do this.“
Washington’s sanctions against both Russia and Iran have accomplished very little other than driving two members of the “evil empire” closer together both philosophically and economically. With Russia and Iran controlling over one-third of the world’s natural gas reserves that will be much-needed as the West attempts to transition to a low carbon future, it is clear that certain nations, particularly those in Europe, will be even more beholden and vulnerable to both nations for their energy security. There will be nothing like the lesson taught by a cold northern winter in 2023 to assist European consumers in seeing the tactical errors made by their elected rulers when it comes to Russia.