During a phone conversation on June 24, Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov discussed bilateral relations and the unfolding developments in Russia with the Wagner Group move toward Moscow Rostov. Abdollahian "Voiced support for the rule of law in all countries, including Russia - a neighbor and a friend... and said he was confident that Russia would get through this stage." Abdollahian emphasized the importance of rejecting any external interference in countries' internal affairs, adding that the events in Russia were of an "absolutely domestic nature."
The spokesperson of the Iranian Foreign Ministry had employed similar language to describe Tehran's response to a military rebellion led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the mercenary Wagner Group.
Tehran maintains a keen interest in monitoring the events unfolding in Russia, and its media consistently demonstrates unwavering support for President Putin and his capacity to manage the situation effectively. The relationship between Iran and Russia has seen notable improvement, particularly in the aftermath of Russia's intervention in Ukraine. Iran supplies kamikaze drones -Shahed-136 one-way attack (OWA) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) - to Russia, which are utilized by the Russian military in targeting military and civilians. Furthermore, reports emerged in March suggesting Russia considered selling advanced Su-35 fighter jets to Iran.
Conservative media have accused the West of orchestrating the rebellion. IRGCs affiliated Tasnin News Agency argued that NATO had orchestrated the rebellion to make up for "Ukraine's failed counter-offensive."
Nour News, affiliated with the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), maintained that although Wagner's group rebellion "may be "psychologically effects" It "lacks the necessary strength to challenge the Russian army." Nour also stated that Russia is a victim of a western "hybrid warfare."
Nour News also claimed that the ongoing conflict in Russia had triggered a significant response from the Western media, highlighting their strategic intent to exploit the situation. This deliberate approach indicates a coordinated psychological warfare campaign against Russia to portray the country in dire straits. Furthermore, comments from opponents, such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a well-known critic of Putin, who supports the Wagner group, have reinforced the notion of foreign interference and the ulterior motives behind recent developments.
Nour wrote that Khodorkovsky's statement, "In case of an attack on the Kremlin, even supporting the devil is legitimate," is strikingly similar to the views of certain Iranian opposition figures in Western countries. They will endorse chaos and foreign attacks on Iran to further their agendas. The fourth-wave strategy (use of interactive and personalized content to engage audiences) and combined wars centered on cognitive warfare and psychological operations have become integral components of the West's strategic policies against adversaries. These tactics aim to inflict maximum impact on the targeted countries' fourth wave alongside expanding proxy wars.
Nout went on to say that the Western scenario has been evident since the beginning of the Ukraine war, with the United States relying on Ukrainian Westerners like Zelensky and NATO members as proxies. Nour concluded that although cognitive warfare techniques have been extensively employed in this battle, it is unlikely that Russia's power structure will collapse due to such scenarios. Nevertheless, they undoubtedly pose challenges, particularly amidst the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, adding that Kremlin is unlikely to overlook the implications and consequences of these provocations.
Nematullah Ezadi, Iran's former ambassador to Russia, said that the showdown with the Wagner group was predictable and that the inherited internal problems in Russia pose significant challenges for Putin. Ezadi analyzed the dynamics within Russia, particularly regarding the Russian army and intelligence agencies. He observed that these entities had not undergone significant changes since the Soviet era, still relying on older personnel. On the other hand, militia groups like Wagner, which seek temporary benefits from exceptional situations, like what they did in Syria, operate differently from established armies. Consequently, conflicts arise between these groups, and even though the Russian army is not keen on engaging in civil wars, they sometimes find themselves compelled to participate.
The recent escalation involving Wagner and Putin, as well as the broader conflict in Ukraine, has exposed divergent viewpoints within Iran regarding the desired nature of their relationship. Ezadi opined that Iran's involvement in the war in Ukraine was "unnecessary and has been a source of trouble for the country." The war has not created favorable conditions for Iran and has only made things more difficult. The sanctions imposed on Russia have also affected Iran. If the war in Ukraine escalates, Iran will not be able to help Russia much with its internal problems. However, if the war ends, it could create a favorable situation for Iran. Perhaps if the internal differences in Russia reach a point where they are forced to adjust their policies, a better situation will emerge for Iran.
Iran and Russia, facing sanctions imposed by the United States, actively engage in various economic endeavors to circumvent these sanctions. One such approach involves seeking alternatives to using the US dollar in their financial transactions, which helps them mitigate the impact of the sanctions.