Photo Credit: Screenshot
Presidents Putin, Raisi, and Erdogan in Tehran, July 19, 2022.

A bone-chilling event such as Tuesday’s “axis of evil” summit in Tehran with the presidents of Russia, Turkey, and Iran, should result in apocalyptic predictions from around the civilized world. But some Wednesday morning pundits suggested whatever happened in Tehran could be a good thing. We’ll get to that.

The three heads of state – President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, and President of the Republic of Türkiye (that’s how they’ve started to spell Turkey, maybe to avoid comparisons to that delicious Thanksgiving bird) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – concluded their “Tripartite Summit” with some unwavering demands:

  • They “emphasized their unwavering commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic,” which Russia, Iran, and Turkey have been using as a front for their individual animosities, Russia against the US, Iran against Israel, and Turkey against the Kurds.
  • “Condemned increased presence and activities of terrorist groups and their affiliates under different names in various parts of Syria, including the attacks targeting civilian facilities, which result in loss of innocent lives.” That’s Israel and its maddeningly accurate espionage network.
  • “Discussed the situation in the north of Syria, emphasized that security and stability in this region can only be achieved based on preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and decided to coordinate their efforts to this end.” This means the Turks can continue to control northern Syria with its invading army, but make a phone call before they go on a new rampage.
  • “Condemned the continuing Israeli military attacks in Syria including civilian infrastructures. Considered it as violating the international law, international humanitarian law, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, and recognized it as destabilizing and intensifying the tension in the region.” Well, that one goes without question. They also said Israel should return the Golan Heights to the Syrians. Spoiler alert: not gonna happen.

On Wednesday morning, the Russian news agency TASS reported, quoting the commander of the Iranian Army’s Ground Forces Brigadier General Kioumars Heydari that “Iran is ready to export advanced armaments, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), to friendly states.”

This confirms what National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on July 11: Iran was planning to hand over to Russia several hundreds of armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Sullivan also said Iran was training Russian forces to use these drones.

With all these war drums pounding, it was therefore surprising to discover a story in TASS Wednesday morning, headlined “Iran may benefit from closer relations between Turkey and Israel.” It quoted Russian presidential envoy for Syrian settlement Alexander Lavrentyev, who said on Tuesday: “The matter is that relations between Israel and Iran are quite clear – they are currently at a very strained stage, but Turkey and Iran, indeed, have been demonstrating reciprocal steps. And I think Iran may also benefit from it to a certain extent.”

Lavrentyev answered a reporter’s question as to whether the new closer relations between Israel and Turkey are a catastrophe for Iran. He didn’t go into specifics, and the headline was more than a bit exaggerated, more wishful thinking than news, but it showed the Kremlin’s positive attitude regarding Israeli-Turkish improved ties, and that’s a nice relief considering the Tehran meeting.

Kan 11 correspondent Amichai Stein on Wednesday cited Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, who stood up and shook the hands of President Putin warmly at the beginning of their meeting on Tuesday. Later, when they sat down again, Khamenei praised Putin for his steadfast stand against Israel, declaring: “We are on Russia’s side when it comes to the war in Ukraine.”

By which the supreme was referring to those hundreds of war drones his country is selling the Russians, and which Stein believes is a good thing because the Americans have already threatened that there would be a harsh response and sanctions if this deal goes through––although it’s hard to figure what else can they take away from the Russians? A recall of Rosemary Clooney albums? Force them to take back those McDonald’s franchises and destroy their health?

Stern believes Israeli security officials were delighted to hear about Iran’s confirmation of the UAV deal, because this Russian-Iranian cooperation will push Tehran deeper into the axis of evil, and cited one of them who said: “If the Americans still somehow manage to publicly ignore Iran’s uranium enrichment and progress on the nuclear program, Tehran’s aid to Moscow in its war with Ukraine is a red sheet in Washington.”

So, as I said, everybody is happy for very different reasons (except the US, which isn’t happy at all), but, you know, happiness is such a rare commodity these days, we should be happy they’re happy – because tomorrow they’ll be back to bombing civilians and enriching uranium and all that jazz.


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