Expert says Iran needs to consider neighbors’ interests to expand ties with them

Tehran, IRNA – International relations expert said that in order to expand ties with its neighbors, Iran needs to have a combined plan on political, economic, scientific, technological, cultural and social areas in which the interests of neighbors have been considered.

Former Iranian representative in Organization of Islamic Cooperation Sabah Zanganeh said in an interview with IRNA on Saturday that new administration in Iran would face a challenge in its ties with neighbors, as the neighboring countries have their own political, economic, and cultural requirements.

For example, he noted, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other GCC members are aligned with the Western countries and a US rejection might be a barrier in their path to cooperate with Iran.

Despite the close historical, cultural, social, and geographic ties between Iranian and Iraqi nations, Zanganeh underlined, Iran could increase even its cooperation with Iraq to a certain extent, as the US rejection, among others, is the most important the barriers in this path.

The former diplomat said that Iran-Iraq economic ties can grow to 60 billion dollars a year, but the US plays as the biggest hurdle against Iranian companies’ presence in Iraq’s oil project, so the number has been limited to 13 billion dollars annually.

He also mentioned Pakistan as another example, stating that Islamabad introduces itself as a friend of the Islamic Republic of Iran, but it avoids expanding ties beyond a particular cap.

Turkey was another example that Zanganeh pointed to, saying that Ankara, for example, buys Iran’s gas for domestic consumption, but when it comes to transiting Iranian gas to Europe, it is face with US rejection and Russia’s discontent.

Every one of Iran’s neighboring country has its own interests and requirements, the expert underlined, adding that Iran has to take into consideration these requirements and interests in order to establish a good tie with its neighbors.

He said that Iran’s current approach couldn’t make any transition; it has to formulate a combined plan on political, economic, scientific, technological, cultural and social areas and focus on relations with neighbors.

Zanganeh named a number of limitations in Iran’s economic ties with neighbors and emphasized that Tehran needs to define new formulas for its economic cooperation with neighbors, considering that the formula should meet both demands and interests of those countries.

He called on more emphasis on cultural and historical ties with nations in the region, stating that cultural ties can help optimize political-economic relations.

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