Erfan Fard

Iran: Caught in the Tug-of-War of Global Powers

Iranian rally in Los Angeles; (, Photo) / Elham Sataki

As Iran stands at a pivotal juncture, its future is being shaped not just by internal forces but by the potent influences of global powerhouses: China and Russia. This dynamic is reshaping the Middle Eastern geopolitical landscape, turning Iran into a critical focal point of international strategy.

Inside Iran, the political scene is more than a mere national concern; it has become an intricate battlefield for global powers. The country’s political factions, deeply entangled in a relentless power struggle, seem to be proxies in a much larger game of geopolitical chess. This tug-of-war for influence is not only a testament to Iran’s strategic importance but also a reflection of the broader global shifts in power.

The Russophile faction, aligning with Kremlin‘s strategic ambitions, underscores Russia‘s longstanding influence in the region. Their actions hint at a desire for a Eurasian alliance that could counter Western hegemony. On the other side, the Anglophiles seek to reconnect with Western powers, a move reminiscent of Iran’s pre-revolutionary days and indicative of the ongoing tussle between traditional and modernist forces within the country.

Amidst these, the pro-China faction aims to pivot Iran towards Beijing. This move could not only reshape Iran’s foreign policy but also alter the balance of power in the Middle East. China, with its Belt and Road Initiative, views Iran as a crucial node in its ambitious plan to reorient global trade and infrastructure networks. This potential realignment poses significant implications for global trade, energy politics, and regional security dynamics.

Simultaneously, Western countries, primarily driven by economic interests, seem to have relegated human rights concerns to the back burner. This indifference towards the regime’s human rights record has emboldened Iran’s hardliners, undermined the international community’s moral authority and gave the regime leeway to continue its oppressive policies.

The irony of democratic elections in Iran is stark. The upcoming elections are widely seen as a sham, a cosmetic exercise designed to project an illusion of legitimacy. The populace, disillusioned and disenfranchised, views these elections as a hollow ritual, knowing that the real decisions are made behind closed doors by the regime’s elite. This disillusionment is a stark reminder of the chasm between the ruling class and the common people.

The Assembly of Experts election, a critical process for selecting the regime’s leadership, is marred by controversies and disqualifications. These actions are indicative of Khamenei and his inner circle’s intent to maintain their stronghold. The future of Iran, post-Khamenei, is shrouded in uncertainty. Will the Islamic Republic descend into an internal strife for power, or will it emerge with a new leadership moulded by external influencers?

The looming question is the role of China and Russia in shaping Iran’s future leadership. Both nations, with their strategic interests in Iran, might leverage their influence in this crucial transition. Russia’s agenda is clear: to maintain Iran as a key ally in its anti-Western stance. China, on the other hand, views Iran as a critical partner in its global economic ambitions. This situation leaves the Iranian populace in a precarious position, their aspirations and struggles potentially overshadowed by the machinations of international politics.

As the world watches, the struggle for Iran’s future is more than a national narrative; it is a microcosm of the shifting global order. In this high-stakes game, the Iranian people‘s pursuit of freedom and democracy risks being sidelined by the strategic objectives of global superpowers.

The outcome of this geopolitical tug-of-war will not only determine the fate of Iran but also significantly influence the future dynamics of the Middle East and beyond. Iran, at this critical crossroads, is a barometer for the changing winds of global power politics, where the echoes of its people’s voices risk being lost in the cacophony of international power plays.

The power struggle within Iran will soon become more evident than ever, even leading to the elimination of figures within the mullah’s regime itself. Different factions are willing to do anything to gain power. Unfortunately, the Iranian opposition is paralyzed and lacks the capability to enact change.

The regime’s MOIS is the main obstacle to any form of unity and joint action, a prime example of which was the grim display of coalition after Mahsa Amini‘s death. Apart from Prince Reza Pahlavi, the rest were unknown and corrupt individuals, and this ridiculous show led to the disillusionment of society and the lack of seriousness given to the opposition by foreign countries.

Nowadays, the Islamic Republic is currently managing Iran with a policy of crisis after crisis, and it is this creation of turmoil that guarantees its survival!

Iranian rally in Los Angeles; (, Photo) / Elham Sataki
About the Author
Erfan Fard is a counter-terrorism analyst and Middle East Studies researcher based in Washington, DC. He is in Middle Eastern regional security affairs with a particular focus on Iran, Counter terrorism, IRGC, MOIS and Ethnic conflicts in MENA. \He graduated in International Security Studies (London M. University, UK), and in International Relations (CSU-LA), and is fluent in Persian, Kurdish, Arabic and English. Follow him in this twitter account @EQFARD