Iran’s win-win regional diplomacy

Iran’s win-win regional diplomacy
Wed Dec 11, 2013 07:21:18

In the aftermath of President Hassan Rouhani’s election in June and last month’s historic nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of major powers, Tehran has focused on improvement of its cooperation with regional countries as part of its opening to the world.

In recent weeks, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and top officials from other countries have visited the Iranian capital and met high-ranking Iranian officials to cement already strong political and economic ties and discuss regional problems.

President Karzai has offered to ink a strategic “long-term friendship and cooperation pact” with Iran, at a time when Kabul said “no” to security agreement with the United States. There are many commonalities between the two sides, including their common language and religious affinities besides geographical proximity. Hence, Afghanistan is a natural ally of Iran and therefore it is quite natural for both states to count on each other at the time of need - a friend in need is a friend indeed.

During his talks with Karzai on Monday, President Rouhani said that Iran was against the presence of foreign forces in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere in the region.

Iran’s regional move is complemented by its eastward and northward drives. China and Russia, two members of the P5+1 group which signed the deal with Iran, also sent top diplomats to Tehran to prepare the grounds for full implementation of the interim deal and assessment of the latest regional developments, including the ongoing crisis in the Syria.

China’s State Councilor and former foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, met President Rouhani on Monday, during which meeting both sides called for mutual strategic relations.

The top Chinese envoy also hailed Iran for defending its ‘rights’ in the course of nuclear negotiations in Geneva, which according to him was a victory for Iran.

“This result was achieved by Iran’s new administration through wisdom and prudence in the talks. We respect Iran’s right to nuclear energy and uranium enrichment,” Yang said.

Iran’s new foreign policy and its attempts to develop constructive interaction with other countries have paid off. “China considers Iran a close friend and a good and strategic partner,” Yang said.

Although Russia has been on the side of Iran for a long time, it seems that Iran’s new policy has entailed more consultation with an old friend. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is in Tehran for consultations on Geneva nuclear agreement and the planned Geneva II talks aimed at ending the nearly three years of conflict in Syria.

Before his departure for Tehran, Lavrov stressed that Iran’s presence in the peace talks on Syria is necessary.

The recent visits underline the fact that Iran has started moving on the path of progress and development under Rouhani’s administration.

Without any doubt, Iran is an influential regional power. Rouhani’s policies have provided a suitable platform for regional countries and big powers to use Iran’s political and economic potentials in their attempt to resolve problems facing the region in the interest of sustainable regional peace, security and development.

As for the United States and its allies, President Barak Obama’s pragmatism matches Iran’s new foreign policy. Pragmatism calls for meaningful cooperation with Iran – free from the adverse effects of Zionist lobby – to put an end to protracted wars of attrition in the region and help repair America’s self-inflicted wounds in the region. Iran’s regional win-win diplomacy is compatible with its win-win nuclear diplomacy.

By Davood Baqeri, Al-Alam Editor-in-Chief

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