Policy Paper

Global Power Shifts

This paper addresses the increasingly close relations between Russia and Iran, particularly since Russia's aggressive war against Ukraine. The new power dynamic is a crucial element in Russia's strategic alignment with systemic partners to redefine the international world order.

Specifically, Iran's production and delivery of UAVs in support of Russia's war objectives in Ukraine have shifted the power balance from Iran's weaker position to an exchange now occurring on almost equal footing. This includes the delivery of Shahed drones and the establishment of a production facility in Russia, the supply of ammunition, and possibly medium-range and Fateh-110 ballistic missiles with a range of 300-700 km. Conversely, Russia supplies Iran with Sukhoi Su-35 multirole fighter aircraft and is negotiating the sale of the Russian S-400 air defense system. Additionally, reports indicate that Russia is delivering confiscated Western (NATO) weapons systems from Ukraine to Iran, which Iran then attempts to reverse-engineer, such as the Javelin anti-tank missile, or identify weaknesses to help Russia counter American and NATO weapons systems.

Given that Russia is on track to "outperform" European arms production by a wide margin, this collaboration is highly relevant. The analysis also explores the Russo-Iranian cooperation in space. Russia has already assisted Iran with the launch of remote sensing satellites (Khayyam) and discussed the transfer of further technologies for the planning and production of remote sensing satellites. In this way, Russia is helping Iran bridge significant gaps in its satellite capabilities. These satellites can be used for gathering intelligence, monitoring border regions, observing military activities, and detecting illegal activities such as illegal fishing, deforestation, and smuggling.

The paper outlines the complex relationships, considering developments since the Cold War, the conflict lines between Israel and Syria, Israel and ISIS, Israel and Russia, and Israel and Iran. Among other things, it highlights Russia's goal of becoming a maritime power—with the help of closer ties to Iran, India, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia—as a strategic element.