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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Saving Face in Tehran

Saving Face in Tehran

by Paul R. Pillar
Well, that didn’t last long, did it? Barely a week after the announcement that Russian warplanes were using a base in Iran to launch airstrikes in Syria, Iran withdrew its permission to use the base. This development underscores how the Russian use of the base did not indicate some new “alliance”, as much commentary suggested. Iranian officials were not using that term. As I wrote after the announcement, Russians and Iranians were still not buddies. Use of the base was instead an instance of how two countries that are at least as much adversaries as allies nonetheless can find areas of practical cooperation based on parallel interests. Mark Katz provides a good summary of the many troubles in the Russian-Iranian relationship that extend from czarist times through the Soviet era to events of this year.

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