Russia has joined China in calling for a policy of non-interference in Iran’s domestic affairs after a week of unrest has gripped multiple major cities and towns across the country in what started as protests over economic grievances, but which have since increasingly turned to riots and calls for President Rouhani and the clerical regime to step down, resulting in the deaths of at least 22 people, including at least one police officer who was shot dead.
In remarks given to Russia’s TASS news agency Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov expressly warned the US “against attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” while stressing, “What is happening there is an internal affair, which attracts the attention of the international community.” Russia’s stance is similar to that of China’s voiced previously on Tuesday. When asked about the Iran protests at a regularly scheduled press conference, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang simply gave a one-sentence answer, saying, “China hopes that Iran can maintain stability and achieve development.”
Both Russia and China – permanent members of the UN Security Council – have already signed deals worth billions to develop sectors related to travel, energy, and infrastructure, soon after international sanctions were lifted in January 2016 as part of the 2015 nuclear deal brokered by the United Kingdom, United States, France, Russia, China, and Germany. Last August Russia and Iran signed a $2.5 billion deal to jump start the rebuilding of Iran’s ailing rail lines. Forbes described Iran as poised for an “infrastructure building bonanza” at a moment when trade with Russia doubled over the course of 2016, which has included the sale of military equipment such as helicopters and various rocket systems, and has also seen Russian oil and gas giants such as Gazprom quickly move into Iran.
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