How to Cuddle the Russian Bear

Those following the development of Russo-Iranian relations may have been surprised by the current intensification of exchanges between the two neighbors.

Since the start of this year, the two sides have exchanged no fewer than 40 high-level official visits including some at ministerial and presidential levels. There have also been exchanges at various levels of the two nations’ top brass, albeit without a formal pattern emerging.

To highlight the new upgrading of relations, Russia has started delivering the S-300 anti-aircraft defense systems that Iran ordered and paid for almost a decade ago; ending what had been an undeclared embargo on the supply of high grade weaponry to the Islamic Republic.

Russia has also provided Iran with credit lines worth $5 billion, a largely symbolic figure but the biggest loan that Iran has ever taken from its northern neighbor. Contracts have also been signed for Russia to build two more nuclear power stations in southern Iran, dashing China’s hopes of getting a share in the Iranian nuclear industry.

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