Raisi Led the Charge for Russia–Iran–China’s ‘new World Order’

Source : unz.com – May 22, 2024 – Pepe Escobar


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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s eastward vision was instrumental in advancing the strategic Moscow–Tehran–Beijing nexus and bulldozing a path toward institutionalizing multipolarity.

Amidst all the sadness and grief over the loss of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, let’s take a moment to showcase the critical path he helped forge toward a new global order.

In the nearly three years since Raisi ascended to the Iranian presidency, Eurasian integration and the drive toward multipolarity have become fundamentally conducted by three major actors: Russia, China, and Iran.

Which, by no accident, are the three top “existential threats” to the hegemonic power.

At 10 pm this past Sunday in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin invited Iran’s ambassador to Moscow, Kazem Jalali, to be at the table in an impromptu meeting with the cream of the crop of Russia’s Defense Team.

That invitation reached far beyond the myopic media conjecture over whether the Iranian president’s untimely death was due to an “accidental crash” or an act of sabotage. It came from the fruits of Raisi’s tireless labor to position Iran as an east-facing nation, boldly forging strategic alliances with Asia’s major powers while sweetening Tehran’s relations with past regional foes.

Increased Eurasian integration

Back to that Sunday night table in Moscow. Everyone was there – from Defense Minister Andrei Belousov and Secretary of the Security Council Sergei Shoigu to Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, Emergencies Minister Aleksandr Kurenkov and Special Assistant to the President, Igor Levitin.

The key message portrayed was that Moscow has Tehran’s back. And Russia completely supports the stability and continuity of government in Iran, which is already fully guaranteed by Iran’s constitution and its detailed contingencies for a peaceful transition of power under even unusual circumstances.

As we are now deep into total Hybrid War mode – bordering on Hot – across most of the planet, the three civilization states shaping a new system of international relations could not be more obvious.

Russia–Iran–China (RIC) are already interlinked via bilateral, comprehensive strategic partnerships; they are members of both BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and their modus operandi was fully unveiled for the whole Global Majority to examine at Putin’s crucial summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing last week.

In short, none of the three Asian powers will allow the other partners to be destabilized by the usual suspects.

A stellar record

Late President Raisi and his top diplomat, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, leave a stellar legacy.

Under their leadership, Iran became a member of BRICS, a full member of the SCO, and a major stakeholder in the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). These are the three key multilateral organizations shaping the road to multipolarity.

Iran’s new diplomatic drive reached key Arab and African players, from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Egypt to Libya, Sudan, and Djibouti. Tehran, for the first time, conducted a sophisticated, large-scale military operation against Israel, firing a barrage of drones and missiles from Iranian territory.

Iran–Russia relations reached the next level in trade and military-political cooperation. Two years ago, Putin and Raisi agreed on a comprehensive bilateral treaty. The draft of the core document is now ready and will be signed by Iran’s next president, expanding the partnership even further.

As a member of an Iranian delegation told me last year in Moscow, when the Russians were asked what could be on the table, they replied, “You can ask us anything.” And vice versa.

So all interlocked declinations of Raisi’s “Look East” strategic shift coupled with Russia’s earlier “pivot to Asia” are being addressed by Moscow and Tehran.

The Council of Foreign Ministers of the SCO is meeting this Tuesday and Wednesday in Astana, preparing for the summit in July, when Belarus will become a full member. Crucially, Saudi Arabia’s cabinet has also approved the decision for Riyadh to join, possibly next year.

Iran’s continuity of government will be fully represented in Astana via interim Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani, who was Amir-Abdollahian’s number two. He’s bound to immediately enter the fray alongside Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to discuss the multi-layered multipolar path.

A hypersonic joint statement

The overarching charter of what a new system entails was revealed last week at the landmark Putin-Xi summit via a stunning 10-chapter joint statement, over 12,000 words long, with “cooperation” appearing no less than 130 times.

This document can correctly be interpreted as a joint hypersonic manifesto comprehensively blowing up Washington’s artificial “rules-based international order.”

This section particularly stands out:

All countries have the right to independently choose their development models and political, economic, and social systems based on their national conditions and people’s will, oppose interference in the internal affairs of sovereign countries, oppose unilateral sanctions and ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ without international law basis or UN Security Council authorization, and oppose drawing ideological lines. Both sides pointed out that neo-colonialism and hegemonism are completely contrary to the trend of the times and called for equal dialogue, the development of partnerships, and the promotion of exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations.

Iran, sanctioned to death for over four decades, is now learning directly from China and Russia about their efforts to destroy “decoupling” narratives as well as the effect of a tsunami of western sanctions on Russia.

For example, an array of China–Europe train corridors is now mostly used to ship Chinese goods to Central Asia and re-export them to Russia.

Yet amidst this trade boom, logistical bottlenecks also increase. Virtually every European port refuses to handle any shipments from or to Russia. And Russia’s largest ports continue to have problems: Vladivostok does not have capacity for large cargo ships, while St Petersburg is very far from China.

So Chapter 3 of the Russia–China joint declaration places particular emphasis on “port and transportation cooperation, including developing more logistics routes,” and deepening financial cooperation, “including via increasing the share of local currency in financial services,” and increasing industrial cooperation, “including in strategic areas such as car and boat manufacturing, metal smelting, and chemicals.”

All that applies to Russia–Iran cooperation too, for instance, in streamlining the International North–South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), especially from Astrakhan in the Caspian to Iranian ports and then via roads down to the Persian Gulf.

Iranian Foreign Minister Bagheri Kani had previously remarked that thanks to Iran’s “exceptional geopolitical location” reaching West Asia, the Persian Gulf, the Caspian Sea region, and wider Eurasia, Iran can contribute to the “economic growth and economic potential” of all regional players.

Putin’s visit to China last week included a visit to the northeastern powerhouse Harbin – which has strong geographical/historical links to Russia. A giant China–Russia Expo attracted over 5,000 commercial firms. It’s not far-fetched to imagine an equally successful Russia–Iran Expo at a Caspian port.

Promethean project

What links Russia, China, and Iran is, first and foremost, an emerging framework designed by Sovereign Civilizational States. The fateful passing of president-martyr Raisi won’t alter The Big Picture in the least.

We’re in the middle of a long process against an environment conditioned for decades by pain and fear. The process has gained immense traction these past few years, starting with the official launch of the New Silk Roads in 2013.

The New Silk Roads and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are a Promethean project that is as much geopolitical as geoeconomic. In parallel came the gradual expansion of the SCO’s role as an economic cooperation mechanism. Once again, Iran is a top BRI, SCO, and BRICS member.

After Ukraine’s Maidan coup in 2014, the Russia–China strategic partnership really started picking up speed. Soon, we also had Iran selling practically all of its oil production to China and coming under the protection of the Chinese nuclear umbrella.

Then we had the Empire humiliated in Afghanistan. And the Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine in February 2022. And the expansion of BRICS into formerly western terrains in the Global South.

During his memorable Spring 2023 visit to Moscow, Xi told Putin that “changes not seen in a hundred years” would occur and that both should be at the helm of these inevitable changes.

That was exactly the crux of their discussions last week in Beijing.

The Iranian bombing of ultra-protected Israeli territory with perfect precision – as a response to a terror attack on its diplomatic consulate in a third country – sent a crystal-clear, game-changer message, completely understood by the Global Majority: the Hegemon’s power in West Asia is coming to an end.

Losing the Rimland is anathema to perfectly American geopolitics. It must be back in its control as it knows how important it is.

New direction

The Angel of History, though, is pointing in a new direction – to China, Russia, and Iran as the natural Sovereigns shaping the re-emergence of the Heartland.

Concisely, these Three Sovereigns have the epistemological level, will, creativity, organization skills, vision, and tools of power to realize a true Promethean project.

It may sound like a miracle, but the present leadership in all three states shares this common understanding and endeavor.

For instance, what could be more enticing than the possibility of former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili as Iran’s next president to join new Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani? In the past, Jalili has been cast as too “hardline” for western palates, but the west hardly matters anymore on these shores.

After Raisi’s eastward and multipolarity grand U-turn away from former Iranian “reformist” President Hassan Rouhani’s misguided, failed westward foray, Jalili may be just the ticket for Iran’s next phase. And oh, what a perfectly dashing complement to the Xi–Putin duo that would be.

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