Iran can claim for cooperation only with three Central Asian countries

Azerbaijan, Baku, April 25 / Trend V.Zhavoronkova /

Iran will not be able to spread its influence on all five countries of the Central Asia, the chief specialist of the Centre for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Vafo Niyatbekov, believes.

Iran has recently activated its cooperation with the Central Asian countries. During the latest weeks the official Tehran repeatedly stated its willingness to invest in a number of regional projects as well as cooperate in the energy sphere.

However, Niyatbekov believes, Iran is not able to cover all the countries of the region.

At the moment Iran's major regional partners are Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, the expert said.

Iran plans to invest in an important regional project - the construction of a China- Kyrgyzstan - Tajikistan - Afghanistan - Iran railway.

"The investment cooperation of Tajikistan and Iran is not new, the two countries have common history, culture and language," Niyatbekov told Trend by telephone from Dushanbe.

The expert said Kyrgyzstan and Iran are brought together by Tehran's willingness to create closer cooperation with China.

"One should not forget that Iran is one of the major hydrocarbons suppliers to China," he added.

In addition, Iran's decision to allocate funds to the reconstruction of plants on Kyrgyz territory is connected with the construction of a new railway from China to Iran through Kyrgyzstan, Niyatbekov said.

The expert believes that this railway will also be connected with existing parts of regional rail roads and it will open new markets for Iranian producers.

Iranian cooperation with Turkmenistan is mainly focused on energy issues.

According to Niyatbekov, it is unlikely that Tehran will spread its influence further to the region into Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

"Kazakhstan is a member of Customs Union with Russia and Belarus and Moscow is likely to prevent the entrance of Iranian capital to Kazakhstan," he said.

The cooperation of Iran and Uzbekistan is also to be hardly successful due to tight relations between Dushanbe and Tashkent, the expert believes.

"Iran has a great deal of problems now so it will be financially hard for Tehran to further integrate into the region," he added.

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