Regional Power Rivalries in the New Eurasia: Russia, Turkey, and Iran

By Alvin Z. Rubinstein; Oles M. Smolansky | Go to book overview

5
Iran and Tajikistan

Mohiaddin Mesbahi

The collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991 and the subsequent emergence of the new independent states in Central Asia and the Caucasus have presented Iran with a host of challenges and opportunities unprecedented in the contemporary history of its foreign policy, especially in the most recent stage since 1979. While the traditional focus of Iran's foreign policy has always been a southern thrust ( Persian Gulf and the Middle East), the new northern tier openings in Central Asia and the Caucasus have presented Iran with significant breathing space and have opened up possibilities for political influence and economic and ideological gains. The new northern frontier also presents Iran with an opportunity to break out of its regional isolation in the south. This seems particularly critical in view of U.S.-Iranian hostility and Washington's dual containment policy, which has focused, in addition to Iraq, principally on Iran.

While the overall direction of the U.S. containment policy against Iran has been stretched recently to cover Central Asia--as Washington clearly prefers and advocates a distance between Central Asian states and Tehran-- Iran will look to Central Asia as a new space through which to break out from isolation and containment. In addition, Central Asia (and the Caucasus) and especially its linkages with the Middle East, from Tehran's perspective, present important changes and modifications in both the political and cultural dynamics of the "new" Middle East. The inclusion of more non-Arab, Islamic ethnic elements further dilutes the predominantly Arab character of the Iranian regional subsystem.

-112-

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Regional Power Rivalries in the New Eurasia: Russia, Turkey, and Iran
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • About the Editors And Contributors vii
  • Preface ix
  • Note xii
  • Part I- Old Rivals, New Relationships 1
  • 1: The Russian Federation and Turkey 3
  • 2: Moscow and Tehran The Wary Accommodation 26
  • Part II- Cis and Iran 63
  • 3: Ukraine and Iran 65
  • 4: Azerbaijan and Iran 93
  • 5: Iran and Tajikistan 112
  • Part III- The Turkish Factor 145
  • 6: Iran and Turkey Confrontation Across An Ideological Divide 147
  • 7: Turkey and Central Asia Reality Comes Calling 169
  • Part IV A Russian "Monroe Doctrine" In the Making? 199
  • 8: Russia and Transcaucasia The Case of Nagorno-Karabakh 201
  • 9: Russia and Tajikistan 231
  • 10: The Asian Interior The Geopolitical Pull on Russia 252
  • Conclusion 271
  • Index 279
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