Iran to change configuration of Eurasian Union

By Victoria Panfilova, a Nezavisimaya Gazeta columnist, exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza

 

Iran may become a new member of the Eurasian Economic Union, say experts after a meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The two leaders discussed prospects of cooperation of the Customs Union and Iran.

Rouhani started his tour around CIS countries in Kazakhstan. On Wednesday he will visit Tajikistan, where he will take part in the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on September 11-12 as an observer. Rouhani will make a state visit to Russia and Azerbaijan in September.

Tehran filed a bid to join the SCO. Kazakhstan insisted that countries under international sanctions should not get membership in the SCO. Just a little later, Kazakhstan was the one to stimulate international talks for the Iranian nuclear program. The situation started changing after that. Alexander Sobyanin, the head of the strategic planning service of the Border Cooperation Association, told Vestnik Kavkaza that Russia, China or any other country were opposed to Iran’s membership in the SCO.

Rouhani has a different goal to visit Central Asia, Iran is extricating itself from isolation and wants to form new partnership relations. No wonder Tehran chose Russia and CIS states, they are opposed to anti-Iranian sanctions.

“Lately, the situation in world policy has changed. We see a rearrangement of priorities and relations. Russia is distancing itself from the West. At the same time, Iran has gained more opportunities and will make full use of them. Economic, first of all, trade relations between Iran and Central Asia have tendencies for development. Considering that the struggle of the “giants” for influence in Central Asia made Iran a secondary subject in the region. Besides, because of harsh sanctions, it could not propose credits, investments or technologies to the countries of the region. Because of that, its role in Central Asia was abated. Now, when the situation is changing, the visit of President Rouhani is expected to improve relations between Iran and the countries of the region. Its relations with Russia are on the rise,” Lana Ravandi-Fadai, a senior scientist of the RAS Institute for Oriental Studies, told Vestnik Kavkaza.

Notably, besides problems of bilateral cooperation, Iran expressed interest in Nursultan Nazarbayev’s proposal to join the Customs Union. “We have discussed issues of easing banking contacts, intensification of other ties. We have considered prospects of cooperation between the Customs Union and Iran,” Hassan Rouhani said at a briefing with journalists.

In 2013, Tehran started talks about joining the Eurasian Economic Union (EaEU). The opportunity was discussed by the authorities of Iran and the leaders of the EaEU. In principle, Tehran may join the integration association as a “donor,” because it has already proven itself as a reliable investor in Tajikistan, where it has realized several major projects: construction of the Sangtuda-2 Dam worth 220 million dollars, the Anzob Tunnel connecting Dushanbe and Khujand. Realization of several other projects is at the preparatory stage.

“For the first time in history, Iran is changing its role from a complicated partner to a strategic ally. Maybe Iran will be a reliable partner of Russia in the Greater Middle East,” says Sobyanin. The expert reminded that Belarus was cooperating with Iran in machine engineering and petrochemistry. In particular, Tehran gives Belarusneft territories for development on oil fields. Iran is selling Russia about 500,000 barrels of oil a day in exchange for equipment and products. The deal between the two states may be worth 20 billion dollars. “It appears that the Eurasian triplet is forming a strategic partnership with Iran in different sectors, without hobbling each other, on the contrary, intensifying cooperation. Steps made by EaEU states in cooperation with Iran are viewed as more important and significant than the pace of moving towards fully unblocking Iran,” assumes Sobyanin.

Azerbaijan plays a special role in extricating Iran from isolation. After the visit of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to Tehran, the two countries formed confident relations that will bring ties between Baku and Tehran to a new level.

The sides have appointed chairmen for the bilateral intergovernmental commission that had been idle for a long time, agreed to cooperate in construction and exploitation of the Ordubad and the Marazad hydro-electric power plants on the River Araz, a tributary of the Kura. The Defense Ministers of the two states, Hossein Dehghani and Zakir Gasanov, discussed military cooperation in Tehran. The pace of improving relations is so fast that the sides may find a consensus on the status of the Caspian Sea, according to Iranian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mohsen Pak Ayin.

“Azerbaijan has its own agenda associated with Iran and has its own national interests. It is, first of all, regional security. Iran is a large regional country, the attitude of whom towards the Karabakh settlement and other threats in the region is very important. Secondly, Baku has problems with energy resources of the Caspian, this requires negotiations. Thirdly, future plans related to the North-South railway corridor involving Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia have been developed. In principle, if Iran frees itself from the sanctions of the Western countries, there are no obstacles for realization of serious projects, and Azerbaijan is interested in that. It would be abnormal for Iran to stay in it in the light of intensifying dialogue between Azerbaijan and Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Turkey,” supposes Asim Musabekov, a member of the Azerbaijani parliament and political analyst.

Azerbaijan plays a special role in reversing isolation of IranBy Victoria Panfilova, a Nezavisimaya Gazeta columnist, exclusively for Vestnik KavkazaIran may become a new member of the Eurasian Economic Union, say experts after a meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The two leaders discussed prospects of cooperation of the Customs Union and Iran.Rouhani started his tour around CIS countries in Kazakhstan. On Wednesday he will visit Tajikistan, where he will take part in the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on September 11-12 as an observer. Rouhani will make a state visit to Russia and Azerbaijan in September.Tehran filed a bid to join the SCO. Kazakhstan insisted that countries under international sanctions should not get membership in the SCO. Just a little later, Kazakhstan was the one to stimulate international talks for the Iranian nuclear program. The situation started changing after that. Alexander Sobyanin, the head of the strategic planning service of the Border Cooperation Association, told Vestnik Kavkaza that Russia, China or any other country were opposed to Iran’s membership in the SCO.Rouhani has a different goal to visit Central Asia, Iran is extricating itself from isolation and wants to form new partnership relations. No wonder Tehran chose Russia and CIS states, they are opposed to anti-Iranian sanctions.“Lately, the situation in world policy has changed. We see a rearrangement of priorities and relations. Russia is distancing itself from the West. At the same time, Iran has gained more opportunities and will make full use of them. Economic, first of all, trade relations between Iran and Central Asia have tendencies for development. Considering that the struggle of the “giants” for influence in Central Asia made Iran a secondary subject in the region. Besides, because of harsh sanctions, it could not propose credits, investments or technologies to the countries of the region. Because of that, its role in Central Asia was abated. Now, when the situation is changing, the visit of President Rouhani is expected to improve relations between Iran and the countries of the region. Its relations with Russia are on the rise,” Lana Ravandi-Fadai, a senior scientist of the RAS Institute for Oriental Studies, told Vestnik Kavkaza.Notably, besides problems of bilateral cooperation, Iran expressed interest in Nursultan Nazarbayev’s proposal to join the Customs Union. “We have discussed issues of easing banking contacts, intensification of other ties. We have considered prospects of cooperation between the Customs Union and Iran,” Hassan Rouhani said at a briefing with journalists.In 2013, Tehran started talks about joining the Eurasian Economic Union (EaEU). The opportunity was discussed by the authorities of Iran and the leaders of the EaEU. In principle, Tehran may join the integration association as a “donor,” because it has already proven itself as a reliable investor in Tajikistan, where it has realized several major projects: construction of the Sangtuda-2 Dam worth 220 million dollars, the Anzob Tunnel connecting Dushanbe and Khujand. Realization of several other projects is at the preparatory stage.“For the first time in history, Iran is changing its role from a complicated partner to a strategic ally. Maybe Iran will be a reliable partner of Russia in the Greater Middle East,” says Sobyanin. The expert reminded that Belarus was cooperating with Iran in machine engineering and petrochemistry. In particular, Tehran gives Belarusneft territories for development on oil fields. Iran is selling Russia about 500,000 barrels of oil a day in exchange for equipment and products. The deal between the two states may be worth 20 billion dollars. “It appears that the Eurasian triplet is forming a strategic partnership with Iran in different sectors, without hobbling each other, on the contrary, intensifying cooperation. Steps made by EaEU states in cooperation with Iran are viewed as more important and significant than the pace of moving towards fully unblocking Iran,” assumes Sobyanin.Azerbaijan plays a special role in extricating Iran from isolation. After the visit of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to Tehran, the two countries formed confident relations that will bring ties between Baku and Tehran to a new level.The sides have appointed chairmen for the bilateral intergovernmental commission that had been idle for a long time, agreed to cooperate in construction and exploitation of the Ordubad and the Marazad hydro-electric power plants on the River Araz, a tributary of the Kura. The Defense Ministers of the two states, Hossein Dehghani and Zakir Gasanov, discussed military cooperation in Tehran. The pace of improving relations is so fast that the sides may find a consensus on the status of the Caspian Sea, according to Iranian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mohsen Pak Ayin.“Azerbaijan has its own agenda associated with Iran and has its own national interests. It is, first of all, regional security. Iran is a large regional country, the attitude of whom towards the Karabakh settlement and other threats in the region is very important. Secondly, Baku has problems with energy resources of the Caspian, this requires negotiations. Thirdly, future plans related to the North-South railway corridor involving Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia have been developed. In principle, if Iran frees itself from the sanctions of the Western countries, there are no obstacles for realization of serious projects, and Azerbaijan is interested in that. It would be abnormal for Iran to stay in it in the light of intensifying dialogue between Azerbaijan and Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Turkey,” supposes Asim Musabekov, a member of the Azerbaijani parliament and political anal

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