Last month, Gazprom, a Russian state-owned multinational energy corporation, and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) signed a $40 billion memorandum of understanding (MoU) that would enable the two countries to dominate the world market for natural gas and set the prices.
As of 2019, with sales over $120,000,000,000 representing twelve percent of the global output of natural gas, Gazprom was ranked as the world’s largest publicly listed natural gas company and the largest company in Russia by revenue.
According to the Iran Petroleum Ministry, Iran’s proved natural gas reserves represent about 17.8% of the world’s total reserves, the world’s second-largest reserves after Russia. Iran still has enormous potential for new significant gas discoveries.
The impact of the alliance is expected to increase as the use of natural gas is on the rise.
“Gas is widely seen as the optimal product in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, so controlling as much of the global flow of that will be the key to energy-based power over the next ten to twenty years,” according to a statement last week from Hamid Hosseini, chairman of Iran’s Oil, Gas, and Petrochemical Products Exporters’ Union, in Tehran, after the Gazprom-NIOC MoU had been signed. “Now the Russians have come to the conclusion that the consumption of gas in the world will increase and the tendency towards consumption of LNG has increased, and they alone are not able to meet the world’s demand, so there is no room left for gas competition [between Russia and Iran].”
The two countries are focused on opposing the US.
“The winner of the Russia-Ukraine war is the United States, and it will capture the European market, so if Iran and Russia can reduce the influence of the United States in the oil, gas, and product markets by working together, it will benefit both countries,” he added.
This anti-American alliance is, of course, a result of Russia’s faltering war in Ukraine. Isolated from Western nations by sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned to other nations in a similar situation. Iran clearly falls into this category. This was underscored on July 19 when Putin paid official visits to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
In addition to the gas deal, Putin acquired drones for use in Ukraine from Iran. Intelligence organizations in many countries have speculated that, in return, Russia will help facilitate an Iranian nuclear weapons program. As Putin said at the “Army-2022” international military conference, “[We] are ready to offer our allies the most modern types of weapons.”
This was recently emphasized when Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday that his military’s SU-24 warplanes had been modified to carry nuclear weapons and that he would not hesitate to use them =if the Western nations interfered with Russia’s war in Ukraine.
With the new ga deal, Russia has a powerful interest in a strong, even nuclear-armed, Iran. Given Iran’s aggressive policy of regional expansionism, a nuclear prospect is deeply concerning. Given Iran’s Shiite fanaticism, the targets of their intended aggression are clear. As the ‘little Satan,’ Israel is clearly in the crosshairs. But Saudi Arabia, the leader of the Sunni world, is also an enemy of the Iranian regime.
While Iran’s nuclear weapons program may (or may not) have been hindered by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, its development of intercontinental ballistic missiles has not. And this should be of grave concern to the “great Satan,” i.e. the United States.