Iran intends to strengthen its positions in Central Asia
Azerbaijan, Baku, March 7 / Trend /
Arzu Naghiyev, Trend expert
One of the major challenges facing Iran which is in international isolation is to overcome the blockade of the country. An important part of this strategy is associated with the development of bilateral relations with its neighbors in Central Asia.
Iran and Central Asia have long been linked by friendship threads. The population and economic potential of Iran is several times greater than the total population and the potential of Central Asia.
Based on economic considerations, Iran seeks to use the Central Asian countries as mediators to access the European market.
In addition, Iran's interests intersect with the interests of both Russia and the Central Asian countries on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Despite wealth hydrocarbon resources in the domestic market, Iran once again feels the lack of and need for them. Oil and gas are mainly exported, but there is no enough power (obsolete, outdated equipment, etc.) and skilled workers for processing. Therefore, Iran spends $3 billion dollars to buy fuel abroad.
Today we can state the positive dynamics of trade and economic and financial relations of Iran with the Central Asian countries, but the best partner and neighbor, rich in energy resources, is Turkmenistan. It is known that the IRI is a major exporter of Turkmen oil, supplying it to the port of Neka.
Iran has several objectives, developing relations with Turkmenistan - to strengthen its positions in Central Asia, use the region's energy resources and take advantage of the favorable geopolitical position of Turkmenistan.
Despite the fact that in 1992 the bilateral trade volume between Iran and Turkmenistan was only $52,000, today this figure reached $2 billion. As a result of cooperation in technical and economic spheres Turkmenistan received construction materials, advanced technologies in the fields of fiber-optic communication, pharmacology, chemical water treatment, etc.
Through the Tedzhent-Sarahs-Mashhad (Bandar Abbas) railway the shortest route, not only for Turkmenistan, but also for Central Asia, China, from the Middle East to the Persian Gulf opens. In the future, India may also take advantage of this route. And the intersection with the Mashhad-Tehran road can provide opportunities to create direct links between Beijing and Tehran via Urumqi and Almaty, and Tashkent.
Through investments of Iranian companies in Tajikistan major economic projects in the construction of power plants, transportation, communications, and agriculture are being carried out. With the participation of Iranian companies construction of Sanqtudin HES-2 and Istiqlol road tunnels is underway.
Despite the fact that the processes around Iran, do not affect seriously economy of Tajikistan, due to the closure of channels of money transfers from Iranian banks, which were carried out mainly by American and European banks reduction of the investment flows from Iran is expected.
In 2011 the trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $204.1 million, and in January, 2012 this figure amounted to approximately $16 million. In 2001, the Iranian side invested $ 14.2 million in Tajikistan.
Iran ranks fourth in the market of Tajikistan in terms of foreign trade turnover. Food products, clothes, cars are imported from Iran, and cotton and fiber are exported.
But at the same time, Iran faces several challenges in its relations with other countries of Central Asia. Thus, Kazakhstan favors the pro-Western and pro-Russian policy and pays great attention to China's economy.
The main reason for the fact that Uzbekistan eschews establishing ties with Iran is the Islamic radicalism policy pursued by Tehran.
In 2011 the trade turnover between Tehran and Astana was $1.3 billion, Tashkent - $609 million Kyrgyzstan- $17 million. The turnover with all three countries consists mainly of trade in consumer goods, confectionery, carpets, clothing, building materials, agricultural products, as well as trucking, construction of roads, houses and mediation services.