Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Growing Military Partnership Between Russia and Iran

While Washington's ongoing war of words against Iran seems to have taken a bit of a break, there has been a significant but little-reported development which could provide us with a framework for any physical war between the United States and Iran.

Here is a recent news report from PressTV, an Tehran-based affiliate of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting: 

You will note that the joint naval drills will be held in the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and, most importantly, the Strait of Hormuz, the chokepoint for oil exports through the Persian Gulf. 

In another PressTV report, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi also announced a major turning point in the ties between the militaries of Russia and Iran with the signing of a classified deal to expand co-operation though a series of projects including the aforementioned joint naval drills:

Russia's TASS news agency also reported the memorandum of understanding between Iran and Russia as shown here:

...and here:

While this is not the first time that Russia and Iran have agreed to increased military ties, it is the timing of this agreement that is key.

In the past, Iran's Navy has been a relatively ineffective part of its overall defense strategy but, in recent years, it has become clear that Iran has put increased emphasis on developing its naval capabilities in recent years.  According to Global Firepower, Iran has a total of 398 naval assets (putting their navy in 4th place overall) including the following:

Frigates - 6
Corvettes - 3
Submarines - 34
Patrol Vessels - 88
Mine Warfare Vessels -3

While some analysts project that Iran's Navy would be crushed very quickly in an American-led attack as shown here, in combination with Russia, the Iranian Navy could prove to be a significant force with Russia having  a total of 352 naval assets (putting their navy in 5th place overall) as follows:

Aircraft Carriers - 1
Frigates - 13
Destroyers - 13
Corvettes - 82
Submarines - 56
Patrol Vessels - 45
Mine Warfare Vessels - 47

This flies in the face of Washington's attempts to form a coalition force that would ensure the safety of foreign vessels sailing through the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz.
This is not the only connection between the Iranian Navy and the Russia Navy.  As shown in this news report from the English language version of the Russian Ministry of Defense website, the Depth 2019 contest of the International Army Games in the Persian Gulf was attended by key personnel of both the Russian and Iranian Navies along with delegations from China, Venezuela, South Africa and Syria:

In addition, as part of the 2019 International Army Games which are being held in Iran, Russia also sent a delegation of 15 people to participate in the Road Patrol competition: 

While the number of Russia participants in this competition is small, it is yet another example of the expanding relationship between Russia and Iran.

The growing connection between the militaries of both Russia and Iran should be worrisome to the warmongers in Washington.  Given Russia's immediate proximity to Iran (they share a border), Russia could rapidly deploy its military forces to any battle zone in the Persian Gulf, a fact that Washington seems to conveniently ignore.  The outcome of any battle with Iran is heavily dependent on the American public's willingness to see its military personnel die in another war that is being fought for nebulous reasons.


  1. Other than confidence building and learning to coordinate assets, the joint maneuvers of the Russians and Iranians do not change the fact that the US would quickly achieve both naval and air domination in the region. The Iranian navy would simply disappear.

    However, Russian presence in the Gulf does complicate America's military operations. Moreover, the fact that Russia shares a border with Iran means that Iran has a bottomless pit of weapons and other materiel. A land war in Iran would be an impossibility for the US.

    Iran's real offensive asset is its missiles, some of which could reach Djibouti. Those missiles would allow Iran to inflict heavy damage on all US bases and US allies in the region. Since much of Iran is mountainous, the missiles could be hidden easily from air attack. With aid from Russia, the missile air war could go on indefinitely, surely as long as the Vietnamese War.

    An Iranian war would not only end Trump's Presidency, it would likely so damage the US military and its allies that the Pax Americana, if it can be called Pax, would end.

  2. It seems to me that a major question is if the US can maintain a naval presence in the Persian Gulf given Iranian missiles and its submarines.

    My current bet is probably not.