Iran, known anciently as Persia and Elam, does not appear to be a part of the Kings of the East, but nonetheless get along with them (Isaiah 21:2) as they have in the past (ie the Medo-Persian empire). In Jeremiah 25:25 we see in the day of their punishment at the end-time they are mentioned separately from the kings of Russia (Media), ostensibly showing that they are not technically considered a part of the eastern conglomeration.
Russia recently said it would support Iran’s bid to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an emerging economic and political alliance led by China. Its membership includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Last year, India and Pakistan also signed the memorandum of obligations and are expected to become full members sometime this year. The bloc has expanded into a military organization over the last few years and has run joint military exercises in the past.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Iran now fully fits the criteria for membership and that discussions on its bid to join will take place this summer.
What is especially notable about this alliance, however, is the fact that the U.S. was rejected from gaining observer status in 2004, which, as Newsweek reports, reinforces “the impression that its goal is to exist in opposition to Western political and military alliances.”
As the world is seemingly preparing for a third world war between NATO and the growing Eastern bloc, we are witnessing the strengthening of alliances as well as the switching of some very strategic ones.