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Geopolitics

Iran's Alliance With Russia And China Will Carry A Heavy Price

Iran's clerical regime is handing over vital economic sectors to its "allies," Russia and China. But future generations may end up paying the real price for the country's "Look to the East" philosophy.

Iran's Alliance With Russia And China Will Carry A Heavy Price

During a joint naval drill conduced by Iran, Russia, and China in the Indian Ocean

Roshanak Astaraki

-Analysis-

LONDON — Soon after the 1979 revolution, the Islamic Republic of Iran turned the popular chants of "Neither East Nor West But An Islamic Republic" and "Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic" (Esteqlal, azadi, jomhuri-e eslami) into official slogans and cornerstones of its ideology. These conveyed the new regime's desire to be firmly non-aligned in its goals and affiliations. The government even placed the first slogan over the gates of the foreign ministry in Tehran.

In actual fact, the regime has based its foreign policy on a distinctly "Not Western" foundation. The assault on the U.S. embassy in Tehran late in 1979 was a clear indication of its leanings, even if the regime did seem to sway Westward at particular and sensitive points over the next 40 years. It has been years, however, since it displayed any independence from the emblematic powers of the Eastern block, Russia and communist China.

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Geopolitics

Is Odessa Next? Putin Sees A Gateway To Moldova — And Chance For Revenge

After the fall of Mariupol, Vladimir Putin appears to have his eye on another iconic southern coastal city, with a strong identity and strategic location.

Odessa after a missile attack

Vincenzo Circosta/ZUMA
Anna Akage

Air strikes on the port city of Odessa have become more frequent over the past three weeks, most often hitting residential buildings, shopping malls, and critical infrastructure rather than military targets. The missiles arrive from naval vessels on the Black Sea and across the sea from the nearby Crimean coast, with the toll including multiple civilian deaths and a growing sense of panic. In Odessa, fears are rising that it could follow Mariupol as Vladimir Putin’s next principal target.

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Since the beginning of the war, more than half of the population — about 500,000 people — have left the city, even as others are flowing into Odessa from other war-torn regions in southern Ukraine, where the situation is even worse: people from Nikolayev, Kherson, Crimea, and even from Moldovan Transnistria.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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