Yet, the immediate gains for Iran may not exceed the net losses in the long run and Tehran may have blundered by not forcefully criticizing Moscow's violation of Georgia's sovereignty. Iran and Georgia have strong historical connections: Iran was in possession of Georgia for some 400 years until the humiliating defeats at the hands of tsarist Russia in the early 19th century, culminating in the Russia-Iran Treaties of Gulistan in 1813 and Turkmanchai in 1828. Under these, about a third of Iranian territory was ceded to Russia, including Georgia and Armenia.
Then and now, Iran remains weary of Russia's imperial intentions and, more recently, this was evident seven years ago when in the aftermath of a failed summit on the division of Caspian Sea, the then-president Vladimir Putin ordered a massive naval maneuver in the Caspian Sea as a stern message to Iran.
Should Putin, now premier, succeed with his "splendid little war" in South Caucasus, Russia's neighbors to the east must expect to see more samples of Russian power projection, again a prospect that simultaneously entices and yet terrifies Iran and is bound to have contradictory policy ramifications for Tehran's decision-makers.>>>
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