If there’s one concept Iran incongruously uses to justify actions which should otherwise be considered belligerent, warmongering, and destabilizing, it’s “sovereignty.” As we have pointed out in the past, in the name of (ostensibly) protecting this right, Iran has hypocritically strewn chaos and crisis across the Middle East and the world, including by arming its proxies, adopting neo-imperialist policies and aims, exacerbating regional conflicts, and sponsoring terror attacks throughout the globe (impinging on other countries’ sovereignty in the process). Meanwhile, Iran constantly threatens the West – with which it is supposedly pursuing “rapprochement” and normalization – with retribution for any perceived threats to its sovereignty. The recent string of altercations between Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf, as well as the capture and humiliation of US sailors earlier this year, are just two such examples.
As if this doublespeak were not enough, Iran’s latest move proves beyond all doubt that its’ hyperbole on sovereignty is just empty rhetoric. This year, Iran allowed Russia to establish a foreign military presence on its soil – negating not just the Islamic republic’s main excuse for its continued hostility towards the West, but its very own constitution, which stipulates that “the establishment of any kind of foreign military base in Iran, even for peaceful purposes, is forbidden” (this does not, of course, prevent Iran from establishing foreign military bases and proxies of its own).
The purpose of the Russian military presence in Iran was – once again, hypocritically and ironically – to undermine the sovereignty of a third country, Syria, in the name of “fighting terrorism” (or, more precisely, propping up Syrian President Bashar Assad while putting innocent civilians like 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh at risk). But while some reports pointed to “signs of strain” in the military alliance between Iran and Russia, others suggested that Russia’s use of the Hamadan air base was in fact “profitable for Iran,” allowing it to boost its defense capabilities with Moscow’s aid – “sovereignty” notwithstanding.