November 27, 2021

Insider Release

Geopolitical Blog

Relations Between The US And Iran – Influences On The Geopolitical Scenario

In the coming months it will be important to monitor international relations between the US and Iran, indicators of geopolitical factors of the utmost importance.  One of the events that is pushing for accelerated changes in scenarios, projects and relationships is definitely the decision of the US and NATO to withdraw from Afghanistan’s theatre of operations.

World
Credit: Greg Rosenke

As reported by the “Atlantic Council”: The US-Iranian relationship has experienced significant challenges over the past forty years. The lack of diplomatic relations, changes in both the US and Iranian administrations, repeated US military interventions in the region as well as Iran’s support for militant groups and increasingly harsh rhetoric on both sides have further undermined chances for reconciliation. Through a balanced approach of engagement and containment, there is a need to push back against Iranian intervention while promoting US interests, regional conflict resolution, and the well-being of the Iranian people.

In order to reconstruct the puzzle, we could analyse Iran’s international relations with other influential powers in the territory under consideration.

Iran-India relations

India and Iran had in the past entered into numerous economic and cooperative agreements.  However, India’s decision, following the US sanctions imposed on Iran, to stop oil imports and slow down its support for the construction of the port of Chabahar was taken in 2019.  This port is in fact an important logistical point on Iranian territory, which should have consolidated trade relations between India, Iran and Afghanistan, facilitating and increasing trade.  However, since the beginning of 2021, it appears that India has resumed operations in support of the project.

On the other hand, Tehran seems to have kept India out of plans to upgrade the Farzad B gas field (this field had been found by ONGC Videsh, the foreign arm of Oil PSU, Oil and Natural Gas Company).

New Delhi reacted by saying that Iran would include India at a later stage in improving Farzad B.

Gravitas: Is China driving India out of Iran? | Chabahar Port

Relations between the two nations are certainly not hostile but nevertheless, at the moment, they do not seem to be growing positively. Relations between The US and Iran have a great impact on this issue.

Iran-Pakistan relations

Relations between Pakistan and Iran have seen a marked improvement in recent times.

Firstly, there has been a sharp cooling in Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.  It is important to underline that Iran and Saudi Arabia have had no diplomatic relations following an attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran in January 2016 after Saudi Arabia executed Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a Shia cleric.

Secondly, to be considered is the long-term alliance between Iran and China recently signed, including the extension of the CPEC project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Iran.  Tehran announced its readiness to become a major player in the CPEC project.

China has also shown growing interest in Afghanistan, as a significant part of the CPEC.  Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian in May 2021, said China, Pakistan and Afghanistan are working together to solve several logistical problems identified in the expansion of roads and highways from Pakistan to Afghanistan.

US-Pakistan Relations after US Withdrawal from Afghanistan –Hudson Institute

Confirming the positive extension of relations between Pakistan and Iran, the Iranian Consul General in Karachi Hassan Nourian recently declared that the two nations are linked by great historical and religious ties and that their relations are developed on principles of mutual respect and sincerity.

Iran-China Relations

As reported by report of the Institute For National Security Studies: “The Islamic Republic of Iran and the People’s Republic of China embody the main strategic threats facing, respectively, Israel and its major power ally, the US.”

Continuing the analysis of the report, in the chapter “Strategic Considerations, Convergences, and Constraints” it said that: “China and Iran’s conduct bears a number of similarities, evolving as both states have from separate revolutionary beginnings, the one in 1949, the other in 1979. There is, as a result, a certain convergence of interests. Yet, the divergences are hardly negligible, and it is these which impose constraints on the future trajectory of bilateral relations, with US policy constituting what is arguably the single most important external factor and source of interference. “

In the chapter that analyses economic and commercial exchanges, it is reported that:

“Economic relations with Iran are among China’s most significant in the West Asia region. Iran is an energy supergiant in proven oil and gas reserves, a sizable consumer market, and a key east-west land bridge along China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). At the same time, China has become Iran’s largest trade partner, energy client and source of investments and foreign construction contracts.”

Without digging further, relations between the two nations are excellent, although there are issues of interference on which differences could arise in the future. Relations between The US and Iran and US and China have a great impact on this issue.

Conclusion

Relations between the US and Iran have a strong impact on a whole range of other state alliances. The international chessboard of alliances is constantly changing.  The current events linked to the international pandemic crisis caused by Covid-19, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, reduced trade and resource shortages, climate emergencies and financial crises are all factors that are reflected and driving the geopolitical changes under way.

The analysis of the future scenario is very complex and uncertain, given the countless forces and unknowns that are at play in the nowadays international scenario.

Adriano Margarone for

Insider Release

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