Increasing Role of Iran

 Iran_Syria_Locator.afghan tribune1.svgAfter Iranian nuclear deal with the USA and world powers, the Middle East, and South Asian region facing new political challenges and opportunities. The benefit of the nuclear deal for Iran is significant because after this deal Iran is seeking aggressively its economic and political interest. Iran is invited formally for the first time to participate in the talks about the Syrian crisis. This political recognition for Iran is a major breakthrough from the world powers.  Furthermore, Saudi Arabia and Israel have shown concerns about the increasing political role of Iran in the Middle East. After signing the nuclear deal with (P5+I), now the Iranian authorities are chasing broader political and economic space in the Middle East and South Asia and Central Asia. This new emerging scenario is offering new challenges and opportunities for the region. Through this deal, Iran is gaining access to its frozen foreign assets, participation in the international banking and trade system, larger oil and gas exports. Obama administration is also celebrating the deal as a landmark achievement of their diplomacy. One of the core areas as this deal offers coordination between the USA and Iran as known as the Syrian and Iraqi crisis.

The United States needs Iranian help to curb the ISIS, the worst extremist brand of the Wahhabi Islamic fundamentalism. Iran is also supporting Shia Houties in Yemen, Shia parties in Bahrain and also supporting the Hezbollah in Lebanon. This encirclement of Saudi Arabia is taking place very fast, especially after the nuclear deal of Iran. The Saudis, like the Israelis, believe that an unchained Iran will assert itself more aggressively. From this important political scenario, the Saudis are seeking help eagerly towards Pakistan. Historically being the front line partner of the USA in the cold war, Pakistan ties have been remained also closed with Saudi Arabia. Both Iran and Pakistan deeply involved politically in the Afghan affairs especially during Mujahidin and Taliban eras. Pakistan always supports the Sunni religious fundamentalists in Afghanistan. On the other hand, Iran also supports the Shiite extremists in Afghanistan. Both types of religious political extremism bring intolerance and destruction to the Afghan society. The recent visit of Iranian secretary of Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) to Pakistan is the proof of ambitious quest for further economic and political advantages especially in Afghanistan and Central Asia. Ironically, the Iranian secretary has praised the decision of Pakistan not to join the Saudis Arabia’s deadly military aggression against its impoverished neighbor. But at the same day, Pakistan’s Army Chief General Raheel Sharif reiterated that any threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia will evoke a strong response from Pakistan. The comment came during his visit to the national counter-terrorism center in Pabbi near Jhelum, where he witnessed the culmination of the Pak-Saudi joint training exercise- Al-Shihab. This is the clear signal that where Pakistan stands. For Afghanistan, the situation has also some opportunities as well as some challenges. Afghanistan should always choose the choices with extra care, as we need with both of our neighbors normal and non-alignment relations. We can gain more benefits from both of our neighbors, being both are extremely taking interest to reach central Asian market via Afghanistan. But we should always keep our weight on the side of more long-term economic regional’s alignment than with those still seeking power through religious proxies under the strategic and security prism.  

The Afghan Tribune Web Desk | Published: October 31, 2015 02:07 PM

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