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Why Iran isn't rattled by Turkey-Russia turnabout

Post-coup Turkey raced to patch up ties with Russia, but Iran does not seem concerned that the rapprochement will be at its expense.
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during a news conference following their meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, August 9, 2016.  REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin - RTSM49Z
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TEHRAN, Iran — The politics of the Middle East are undergoing rapid changes, as demonstrated by recent developments in Turkey's domestic and foreign policies. These shifts will undoubtedly impact the regional and foreign policies of Turkey's neighbors, in particular those of Iran. For Tehran, the two primary factors are Turkey’s decision to redefine its ties with Israel and Russia and the diminishing of Ankara’s power as a key player in the Middle East and a rival of Iran.

These days, Iran sees itself as Russia's strategic partner in the Middle East. Of importance, the two countries are supporting the same side in the Syrian war. “Neither West nor East” remains part of the Islamic Republic's lexicon, but Russia has always enjoyed a better position in the country relative to the United States and other Western powers. In this vein, increased military cooperation between Moscow and Tehran is evidence of how important this partnership is for Iran. This month, the Islamic Republic for the first time allowed Russia to conduct military air operations from one of its air bases, perhaps a show of Tehran’s wish to maintain its pivotal position in Moscow's regional policies.

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