Iran is worried. It sees an emerging alliance between Turkey and Azerbaijan as well as between Azerbaijan and Israel as potentially cutting it off from a land route to Russia. It is concerned that Turkey and Azerbaijan will then work directly with China and push Iran aside, weakening it economically at a time when Tehran is already weak.  

Now Iran wants to ask the Russians if they realize what is happening in their own backyard. That was the subject of a Fars News analysis on Russia’s policies that likely reflects how Iran’s rulers see the challenge. What plans does Turkey have for Russia in the Caucasus, the article asks. “Russia has traditionally played a very important role in the Caucasus region, and this role can be influenced by Turkey’s efforts to bring about geopolitical change in the region.” 
When Iran says “geopolitical” it tends to hint at Israeli involvement and also Turkey’s push for expanding ties with Baku. “The Caucasus region is undoubtedly one of the main areas of Russian national security,” the article says.

But it notes that “Russia’s priority has often been to prevent Western and American influence in the region, especially in the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus. In the first decade of the 21st century, the Americans made great efforts to be present in the Caspian region under the pretext of securing this region.” Iran wanted the US to be removed and it hoped Russia would agree. That is why Tehran was happy to see America leave Afghanistan and see US influence rolled back. 
“New moves by Ankara and Baku to disrupt the geopolitical order in the region could, to some extent, turn the tide to the detriment of the Russians; however, it seems that Russia is currently assessing the situation.” Iran wants Russia to know that it should be wary of only working with Turkey on issues like the S-400 deals and that it is time Moscow care about Iran as well. In short, Iran wants Russia to stop compartmentalizing everything with Turkey as Ankara grows more provocative. 

TEHRAN UNDERSTANDS that Moscow has traded the S-400s for prying Turkey away from the West. But this suits Turkey’s interests. “The Russians have made great efforts over the years to keep Turkey as far away from the Western front as possible. The sale of the S-400 missile defense system to Turkey was part of this strategy.” Iran knows that the “Russians continue to show interest in selling newer military equipment to Turkey.” Iran is wondering: What about us? 
Iran argues that Russia and Turkey do not agree on Syria and Libya. “Turkey also has an extensive network of security and intelligence communications with NATO members, particularly the United States, which Washington uses as a platform for gathering important data on the region. Turkey, for example, continues to deploy part of the US radar system in the region to counter any type of ballistic missile launch in the region.”  
Iran notes that Turkey still has US troops at the Incerlik base. “It even seems that US nuclear weapons are still in the concrete bases of the base,” Iran’s Fars news says. “All these signs are enough to make us believe that Turkey’s dependence on the United States and NATO is something that can be eliminated with just a few political differences.” READ MORE

Iran wants to goad Russia into Caucasus tensions - analysis

Josh Toupos

This post was originally published on this site