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What the Iran Deal Means for Russia

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The 10 most important things you need to know on Caspian Sea Region for Monday, June 8:

1“For global policymakers, the lessons are clear: The new Silk Road must strengthen the aforementioned existing infrastructure and Azerbaijan must remain a major hub on the commercial and multicultural highway between East and West. A moderate, modern and predominantly-Muslim nation, Azerbaijan has demonstrated its importance in wartime by facilitating the travel of American supplies through its borders to Afghanistan. The country has also sent troops to Afghanistan as well as to Iraq and the Balkans. Today, Azerbaijan is proving indispensable in peacetime” writes Elin Suleymanov for the Global Post.

2If a nuclear deal is reached after ongoing negotiations between the West and Iran, there might be a “new opening” in Iran — but it’s unclear whether the US or Russia will benefit more. That depends on whether the West truly engages with Iran beyond the deal to fundamentally change its relationship with Tehran, Paul N. Schwartz, a nonresident senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says in a new paper.”The trick for the West will be to exploit the new opening with Iran to move beyond the nuclear dialogue and to engage Iran in ways that provide it with incentives to integrate more closely with the West, by exploiting this opening to increase trade with Iran and by encouraging large-scale Western investment in its economy, the West would give Iran a much greater stake in maintaining good relations.” [CSIS]

3The United States’ shale fracking industry has built up so quickly that we are now poised to enter the export market with huge amounts of liquefied natural gas. One of the target markets for U.S. Sourced gas is Europe. This is expected to pose a significant threat to Russia’s dominance of the European gas market. The U.S. expects to be a big player in export markets now this LNG is flowing. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said, “We anticipate becoming big players, and I think we’ll have a big impact. We’re going to influence the whole LNG market.” Four LNG export terminals are under construction and we may se the first exports being shipped overseas this year. One player in the European energy market the U.S. does not want to see is Iran. Iran has already offered to help Europe distance itself from Russia. That would be a strange bargain, because it is Russia that has been supporting Iran. The message here is that Iran cannot be trusted, and the U.S. is leaping forward to ensure that Europe does not have to even think about making that kind of decision.[newsblaze]

4Leaders attending the G7 summit in Bavaria have vowed to maintain a tough stance against Russia. At the end of day one of the two day meeting they agreed to keep sanctions in place until President Vladimir Putin and Moscow- backed separatists fully implement the terms of a peace deal for Ukraine. German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is hosting the summit at Schloss Elmau, an Alpine hotel in the south of the country, stressed that any easing of sanctions depended on Russia:“I think that we will send a united signal. Sanctions are not an end in themselves, but can be used when necessary. We always said that the extension or the suspension of such measures depends on the implementation of the Minsk agreements,” said the chancellor.

5A diplomatic mission of Kazakhstan has opened in Serbia. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Alexey Volkov participated in the grand opening of the mission. He was one a working visit in Serbia from 3 until 5 June, 2015. During his stay in Belgrade Volkov met with the Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and other senior officials of the country. The key event of the visit was the official opening of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Serbia with a permanent location in Belgrade and the official inauguration of the Honorary Consul of Kazakhstan in the Republic of Serbia Milanka Karic.“The diplomatic presence of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the Republic of Serbia started at this important historic moment,” the Ministry said.

6The national satellite communications system of Turkmenistan is starting its operation, the message from Turkmen government said June 6. The ceremony of commissioning Turkmenistan’s satellite communications system was held in Ashgabat. The event was attended by the representatives of Thales Alenia Space which constructed the satellite, Space Systems International-Monaco S.A.M., Turkmenistan’s partner in the project, as well as Turkmenistan’s Ministry of Communications and National Space Agency under the president of Turkmenistan.

7IMF is in a race against time. “So far, the International Monetary Fund is giving Ukraine a passing grade on early efforts at political and economic reforms as it spends a first installment from a four-year, $17.5 billion loan program. But in the end, Russian President Vladimir Putin holds the trump cards in Ukraine’s drive to extract itself from Moscow’s orbit. “The fragility of the Ukrainian state is such that if Moscow significantly ratchets up the pressure it may be very hard for the Poroshenko to deliver on ambitions for significant economic reform and changes in the political system,” Andrew Weiss of the Carnegie Endowment said. “If you take that pressure alongside of the bad habits and business-as-usual conduct of the Ukrainian elite who have led the country for most of the past 25 years, the prospects for the reformist movement in Ukraine look quite challenging.” [CNBC]

8“Russia does not speak with anyone in the conflicting tone and in such issues, like one of the political figures of the past Otto von Bismark, ‘not rumors but the potential is important'”, Putin said in the interview with Il Corriere della Sera. “Everything that we are doing is merely an answer to the threats addressed to us. We are doing this in quite a limit volume and scale but to the extent which would ensure the security of Russia”, the president said. The Russian president announced that the US submarines continue their duty at the Norwegian shore. “We have removed all our basis that have no strategic importance even from Cuba. And do you want to say that we are behaving aggressively? You have mentioned NATO’s expansion to the east. But we are not moving anywhere-it is NATO’s infrastructure that is moving to our borders, including military infrastructure. And is this the demonstration of our aggressiveness”, President Putin said.

9After a week of meetings of the OPEC in Vienna, one thing is clear: Iran and Saudi Arabia are on a collision course that could eventually break the world’s largest oil-producing group apart. Faced with Saudi Arabia’s stubborn determination to keep Opec pumping at full choke, Iran’s oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, has upped the stakes in this game of double bluff between the Middle East’s two dominant political forces. He stated confidently that the Islamic Republic will pump an additional 1m barrels per day (bpd) of crude within months of nuclear sanctions being lifted by the West. The move assumes that Iran agrees to all US demands to curb its nuclear ambitions by the deadline on June 30, and effectively fires the starting gun in a race among Opec’s most powerful producers including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq to gain a bigger share of the market. It is a race that will be run regardless of the havoc it will cause within the group’s smaller producers, which face economic meltdown. [Daily Telegraph]

10Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov expressed hope that the negotiations between Iran and the Group 5+1 would yield a deal that guarantees Tehran’s nuclear right. “A positive outcome of the Iran nuclear talks would open cooperation opportunities for Kazakhstan to further expand bilateral ties,” Idrissov said on Thursday. He also reiterated Iran’s legitimate rights to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. [FARS]

Journalist, specialized in Middle East, Russia & FSU, Terrorism and Security issues. Founder and Editor-in-chief of the Modern Diplomacy magazine.

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The importance of Iran’s membership in the SCO

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The members of Majlis (the Parliament) have approved the emergency of the plan of Iran’s commitments to achieve the position of a member state in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), – informs IRNA from Tehran.

The  emergency plan was endorsed with 161 votes in favor, two against, and three abstentions.

Ali Adyani, the deputy vice president for parliamentary affairs, said that the plan was proposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was endorsed by the cabinet members, and sent to parliament to become law.

According to the official, Iran’s membership in the SCO is of great importance in terms of economic, social, and international affairs particularly because the opportunity would help the Islamic Republic get rid of illegal sanctions and enhance economic diplomacy.

Iran has been an observer of the SCO since 2005. Then, President Ebrahim Raisi called for full membership of the Islamic country in the organization in its last summer summit in Tajikistan.

The legislators have accepted to speed up scrutinizing the plan. Earlier, the Iranian parliament had endorsed the plan of accession of the Islamic Republic to the SCO.

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Sabah: ‘The Americans have deceived themselves, the Europeans and Ukraine’

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The US is repeating the same mistakes as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. Now – in Ukraine. So it seems inevitable that Washington will face another setback as a result of its ideological obsession, – writes prominent Turkish observer Bercan Tutar at “Sabah” newspaper.

Having suffered a complete failure in the Middle East wars, the Americans sent to Ukraine not only their ineffective weapons, but also their inadequate thoughts and strategies. But no matter what they do, their chances of defeating Russia are very slim.

The 330th day of the war, which began on February 24, 2022, has already been completed. After a short retreat, Russia began redeployment. However, the fact that Russia abandoned the siege of Kyiv and focused on control over Russian-speaking regions led Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky and the United States to false conclusions.

Encouraged by Russia’s cautious military actions, the United States applied its strategy in the war on terrorism in Ukraine and. According to American experts, the current US administration is following the deadly tracks of previous military propaganda in Ukraine, which proved unsuccessful in Afghanistan and Iraq.

While Russia is pursuing a military strategy that prioritizes its political goals, we see that the US is lacking in both military and political leadership. As soon as the war in Ukraine began, the first goal of the US was to rally its NATO allies against the Russian invasion. It was a smart strategy and it worked.

However, when the US reached the first target, a further one only increased its expectations. Russia was asked to leave not only Donetsk and Lugansk (Donbass), but also Crimea. Even further, the United States began to voice maximalist demands, such as regime change in Moscow. But it is absolutely clear that these demands can arise only in conditions of a total world war.

As a result, American fantasies lead Washington to attempt strategic suicide. The Americans have deceived themselves, the Europeans and Ukraine.

Russian leader Putin said on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the breaking of the blockade of Leningrad: “We tolerated it for a long time and tried to come to an agreement. As it has recently turned out, they were messing around with us; they were lying to us. This was not the first time this has happened to us. Yet we did everything in our power to settle the problem peacefully. It has become obvious now that it was an inherently impossible mission; the enemy was only preparing to bring this conflict to the hot phase. As I have said, there was no other way than to do what we are doing now.”

In short, some geopolitical officials in the US have dragged Zelensky into a ‘no-win war’ against a nuclear-armed Russia.

Now the world is focused on two options:

– either the US and its allies will perform a ‘miracle’ in Ukraine;

– or the Russians will crush Ukraine and then break the back of the NATO alliance.

Thus, the US strategic position in Europe will come to an end and a new world order will be born, perhaps with several centers of power outside of America.

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War games will take place off Durban between South Africa, China and Russia

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South Africa’s government has finally shown its colours by inviting Russia and China for war games next month, London’s ‘Daily Mail’ writes with indignation and indignation.

SA President Cyril Ramaphosa has ditched his supposed ‘neutrality’ to the war by hosting the naval drills off the country’s east coast near Durban and Richards Bay from February 17 to 27. The move is the strongest indication yet of the strengthening relationship between South Africa, and the anti-West authoritarian regimes of China and Russia.

The drills will take place around the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and bring more focus on the refusal of South Africa – a leading voice on its continent – to side with the West and condemn Russia’s actions. The South African government said last year it had adopted a neutral stance over Ukraine and called for dialogue and diplomacy.

But the upcoming naval drills have led the country’s main opposition party to accuse the government of effectively siding with Russia.

But the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), which incorporates all of its armed forces, said next month’s naval exercise would ‘strengthen the already flourishing relations between South Africa, Russia and China’. The aim of the drills was ‘sharing operational skills and knowledge’, the SANDF said.

The three countries also conducted a similar naval exercise in 2019 in Cape Town, while Russia and China held joint naval drills in the East China Sea last month.

The United States and European Union had hoped South Africa would support the international condemnation of Russia and act as a leader for other nations in Africa. But, South Africa appealed to be one of several African countries to ‘abstain’ in a United Nations vote last year condemning Russia’s special military operation.

South Africa and Russia share a long history, after the Soviet Union gave support to the ANC in its fight to bring down apartheid, the regime of repression against the country’s black majority, writes London newspaper. (And we should remember, how the British destroyed the Boers’ Transvaal and the Orange Republic of the at the beginning of the 20th century, and planted the apartheid regime here).

Apartheid ended in 1994 when the ANC won the first democratic elections in South Africa and Nelson Mandela became president.

South Africa is also a member of BRICS, a bloc of emerging economies, alongside Brazil, Russia, India and China.

South Africa’s obligations with respect to sanctions relate only to those that are specifically adopted by the United Nations. Currently, there are no UN-imposed sanctions on the particular individual, they say in Pretoria.

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