What will Ahmadinejad take to Iraq?

MOSCOW. (Political scientist Ilgar Velizade /Azerbaijan/ for RIA Novosti) - It is already clear that the Iranian president's upcoming visit to Iraq will not be just a regional event.

This is a visit by the leader of a once hostile state, of U.S. enemy number one, to the country which is practically controlled by the U.S. Current relations between Iran and Iraq will largely determine developments in the Middle East and surrounding areas. In general, Ahmadinejad's intention to go to Baghdad and his tour last year of several Arab countries show that Iran is seriously revising its policy in the region. Iran wants the world to perceive it differently, and is persistently working on its international image.

In order to understand Iran's role, it is enough to look at its relations with neighbors. Since times immemorial, Iran has not had close friends in the region. It has always asserted itself as the regional leader and resisted any encroachments on this status. The Persians were fighting against Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Turkomans, and the British. Now Iran is a pain in the neck for the United States. The Iranians tend to see themselves as an exclusive nation with providential privileges. This faith has struck deep root in their minds, and become a foundation of their statehood. It has become an instrument uniting dozens of big and small ethnic groups into a single community, which is called the Iranian nation.

However, this striving to stand out against the general background has always spoiled Iran's ties with its neighbors. Sunni Arabs have criticized it for splitting the Arab world. The Turks are suspicious of Iran's attempts to enhance its influenced in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Pakistan, that also claims the role of a regional power, is closely watching Iran's actions, in particular as regards Afghanistan. In turn, the latter sees Iran as a major center of political influence.

Iran's opponents, primarily the United States, are trying to exploit these contradictions. However, recently Iranian diplomats have launched a vigorous onslaught and managed to destroy some of America's plans in the region. I will not venture to affirm that it was last year's Arab tour by Ahmadinejad that compelled U.S. President George W. Bush to make a similar trip in the beginning of this year, but there is no doubt that the Iranian president's tour prompted Bush to choose particular subjects for discussion.

As for the Iranian president's talks with his regional counterparts, one or two of his positions are always emphasized at them. The first one is an appeal to be friends without being hostile to anybody, and the second one is that Iran should not be feared and the Iranian nuclear program is not that dangerous as it is painted.

Judging by the results of the last trip, Ahmadinejad has managed to persuade Arab leaders that they will benefit from friendship with Iran, and that its nuclear program is no less dangerous than that of Pakistan.

It is hard to predict what he will discuss with Jalal Talabani, one of the longest serving figures in Kurdish politics, but the talks are not long in coming. It is clear that both countries need dialogue. For this reason, the Iranian leader will try to attract less attention to Shiite problems, if not skip them altogether. Tehran has one more concern - compensation for the damage sustained in the Iranian-Iraqi war of 1980-1988. Baghdad is trying to avoid its discussion on the grounds that it is not going to pay for Saddam Hussein's mistakes. Relations between the two neighbors are also periodically spoiled by the notorious Kurdish problem.

Pejak, a terrorist organization of anti-Iranian Kurdish guerrillas is operating in the north of Iraq together with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan - PKK), which is making regular inroads into Turkey. Pejak is suspected of being financed by the U.S. State Department through proxy funds and non-governmental agencies. Although the Kurdish leaders of Iraq are doing all they can to disassociate themselves from Pejak, they do not sound very convincing, at least for Tehran.

In principle, Tehran is not very keen on accusing Baghdad of all sins. The Iranian leaders are aiming their angry rhetoric primarily at the United States. They have said more than once that the United States is taking vigorous steps to sow Sunni-Shiite discord not only in Iraq, but also on a global scale. Tehran has also blamed Washington for trying to weaken Iran's regional positions by fanning Sunni-Shiite strife. When Washington blamed Iran for explosions in Iraqi Shiite mosques, which killed dozens of worshippers, Tehran sent a strong message to the U.S. Administration.

Representatives of the Iranian ruling elite and supreme Muslim leaders urged for Sunni-Shiite unity both in Iraq and the rest of the region in the face of an outside threat. Iranian Parliament Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel bluntly accused the "occupants" of attempts to split Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq. He said that acts of terror in Iraqi Shiite mosques "will not make Muslims fall out with their Imams," and emphasized that the motives behind them were abundantly clear - to sidetrack attention from the failure of occupational policy in Iraq, and destabilize the situation in that country and neighboring regions.

To summarize, Iran is taking measures to create the image of a country, which does not threaten its neighbors but wants to develop honest and mutually advantageous relations with them. But it remains unclear how it is going to seek these goals, having bad relations with Israel and the United States.

As all regional oil-producers, Iran continues accumulating wealth. It has money for everything, even for foreign policy, which is becoming increasingly costly. But the United States is still the main client for the Arab countries, and they are not too enthusiastic about changing the existing system of relations. In this situation, Iran has to look for other opportunities for persuading its neighbors.

Eastern diplomacy is an exchange of benefits. One always has to have something up one's sleeve, which would be too tempting for its partner. Iran has to pay dearly for such proposals, but it is displaying its readiness to do so. Tehran has declared that it will create conditions for the growth of investment from the region's countries, and will promote multilateral and bilateral contacts with them in every possible way.

Be that as it may, it is important for Iran to be understood and supported in the context of events in the Middle East, and particularly because its nuclear program has been a key international issue in the last few years. In this case, Iran will play what it considers a befitting role in the region and the rest of the world, using its growing possibilities. To an extent, success of these efforts will depend on the Iranian leader's visit to Iraq.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of Trend

U.S. private payrolls rise less than expected in February
U.S. private payrolls rise less than expected in February
Croatian 'green energy' companies could contribute to dev't of Azerbaijani liberated lands
Croatian 'green energy' companies could contribute to dev't of Azerbaijani liberated lands
Growth of trade turnover observed between Turkey and Uzbekistan
Growth of trade turnover observed between Turkey and Uzbekistan
Loading Bars
Metallurgical production may increase in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan's foreign trade balance with Israel remains positive in Jan. 2021
Venezuela always supported Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity - Ambassador
Azerbaijan, Pakistan discuss areas of military cooperation (VIDEO)
Bio-smart pavilion ready for integration with Smart City project network - Azerbaijan Innovation Agency
Georgia makes rapid progress on its commitments under Energy Community - Green for Growth Fund
Azerbaijani State Customs Committee develops new portal for visualizing customs statistics
'Uzbekistan GTL' plant receives fuel gas for first time
All deals with corporate securities in Azerbaijan fell on secondary market - BSE
Most transactions on state securities in Azerbaijan accounts for primary market
Azerbaijan plans to expand geography of wine export
U.S. private payrolls rise less than expected in February
Prosecutor's Office talks details of mine explosion accident in Aghdam
Loan portfolio of trade and services sector increases in Azerbaijan
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price starts to rise in Iran
Azerbaijan announces net foreign assets of commercial banks for January
Croatian 'green energy' companies could contribute to dev't of Azerbaijani liberated lands
President Aliyev receives in video format delegation led by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee of Pakistan (PHOTO)
Next equipment from India will be brought to Iran’s Chabahar port
Silk Way Technics company has been keeping aircraft flying safely for 15 years
Turkmenistan has potential to benefit from future co-op with EU
Uzbek currency rates for March 4
Azerbaijani, Italian FMs discuss prospects for comprehensive development of relations
Iran plans to increase mushroom production and exports
Growth of trade turnover observed between Turkey and Uzbekistan
Azerbaijan's experience of implementing 'smart' projects to be presented in Belarus
PayPal in talks to buy Israeli co Curv
Kazakhstan expects recovery of business activity in 1Q2021
Chief of Azerbaijani Aghdam's Irrigation Department heavily injured in mine explosion (PHOTO)
OPEC+ considers oil output roll over for April
Azerbaijani police officers find air defense systems left by Armenians in Fuzuli (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Kazakhstan's Home Credit and Finance Bank may face additional asset quality pressure
Iran's exports to Turkmenistan via railways increase
Turkish revenues from export of defense-related products grow
Turkey increases steel exports to Azerbaijan since early 2021
Turkey plans to increase trade turnover volume with Georgia
Hungarian Globalia Kft to support solar park creation in Kazakhstan
Significant number of people receive unemployment benefits in Georgia
Turkey attaches importance to Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey trilateral format of co-op - FM
Uzbek-Chinese JV to buy gas piston power station via tender
Azerbaijan’s PASHA Bank to continue to improve digital products
Fruits and vegetables make up majority of Azerbaijan's export of non-oil products since early 2021
EU to promote local entrepreneurship in Georgian Adjara
Georgia's Batumi sees decrease in real estate transactions
Number of apartment transactions down in Georgia's Tbilisi - Colliers International
Major Azerbaijani state companies' revenues from non-oil products' export up in Jan.2021
Belarusian Belavia Airlines extends suspension of flights to Turkmenistan
Sales of Iranian mining companies soar
Moody's unveils current account balance in Azerbaijan's GDP for 2021
Uzbekistan’s economic activity index drops significantly
French Senate interested in strengthening bilateral co-op with Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan enters list of world’s largest cotton producers
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for March 3
Russia's Rosselkhoznadzor allows imports of apples, tomatoes from some Azerbaijani enterprises
Bosnian journalist talks parallel between genocides in Srebrenica and Azerbaijani Khojaly
Azerbaijan confirms 161 more COVID-19 recoveries
Approving FATF related bills in Iran's interest - Iranian President
No Mystery, Top American Pandemic Expert Lists 9 Govt Actions Behind Plummeting Covid Cases in India
Georgian VTB Bank to maintain adequate capitalization with RAC - S&P Global Ratings
Union of OIC News Agencies and ICD through THIQAH sign MoC to enhance cooperation in media field
Azerbaijan shares data on 2020 int'l cargo transportation by rail
Kazakhstan Railways opens tender for equipment repair
Georgian citizens can enter Turkey only if they have negative PCR test
Demand for notes of Azerbaijan's Central Bank surpasses supply
Moody’s says Azerbaijan’s economy to grow in 2021
Over 14 million Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in India: Government
India's women scientists breaking barriers in space exploration
Number of Mastercard products and operations increases in Azerbaijan
Crucial lessons to be learnt from Covid-19 outbreak
India's oil demand set to hit record high as recovery from Covid sets in
UK To Receive 10 Million AstraZeneca Covid Vaccine Doses From India: Report
Iran expects the US to take serious steps toward JCPOA
Biden appoints Indian-American Maju Varghese as Director of White House Military Office
India to invest $82 billion in port projects by 2035: PM Modi
Zarif announces mechanism of returning Iran's funds blocked in S.Korea
Indian Air Force arrives for participation in 70th SLAF Anniversary
Former Nepal PM thanks India for COVID-19 vaccines
India to deliver 1,000 metric tonnes rice, 1 lakh HCQ tablets to drought-hit Madagascar
Kazakhstan boosts locally-made goods export to Belgium
Development Bank of Kazakhstan expands support for renewable energy projects
Iran shares data on loaded and unloaded cargo at Noshahr port
Iran's Bandar Abbas Company attaches importance to domestic production of spare parts
Uzbekistan approves introduction of gender-responsive regulatory impact assessment system
Parliamentarians in some countries put their interests above ensuring peace - Azerbaijan's MFA
New OPEC+ deal likely to be more on Saudi terms
Iran's Bandar Abbas Oil Refining Company talks implementation of project
Turkmenistan resumes operation of number of trade facilities
Enterprises of Russian Bryansk region may start exporting goods to Azerbaijan
Iran's Expediency Council to choose one of several proposals on joining CFT, Palermo Conventions
Kazakhstan reports decrease in cargo transshipment via seaports in 2020
Iranian Home Appliance Industry Association discusses domestic production
Iranian energy minister talks expenses in water and electricity sectors
Azerbaijani Oil Fund discloses incomes from selling condensate from Shah Deniz field
Turkmen enterprise talks depth of rock penetrations carried out
Uzbekneftegaz attracts foreign companies to implement gas projects over 2020-2025
Kazakhstan looks to limit interest on microcredits
Volume of cashless transactions in Azerbaijan growing
Deutsche Bank AG talks cooperation with Turkmenistan amid COVID-19
Footage from Azerbaijani Zangilan district's Beshdali village (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Iran`s Expediency Council asks gov't to play major role in reconstruction of Azerbaijan's Karabakh
All news