Western inaction, Iran’s look to the east policy

Tehran, IRNA - The Look to the East policy has been one of the most important foreign policy approaches of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the new administration has adopted the approach to protect Iran’s interest at the international level.

A glance at Iran’s last three decades indicates that the look-to-the-East policy was strengthened after the eight-year war with Iraq and the Soviet disintegration. The look to the West policy temporarily gained weight in Iran’s foreign policy, but the measures taken by the US and Western countries convinced Iran to revive the previous approach and improve relations with Russia and China.

The look-to-the-East policy seeks to balance Iran’s political and economic relationship with the West and Southeast Asia.

After the new administration took office in August 2021, the policy was further formalized and the administration seriously put it on the agenda.

Meanwhile, Iran’s long-awaited permanent membership in Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was accepted, providing an opportunity for the new administration for further strengthening ties with neighbors and Asian economic powers like China, Russia, and India, as members of the SCO.

Iran also signed a free trade agreement with Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) to boost economic ties with its member sates: Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. Iran’s foreign trade with the EAEU members saw a 93-percent increase in Q2 of 2021.

The EAEU has increased the share of national currencies in the trade between member states and non-member trade partners to 70 percent. This could help Iran decrease dependency on dollar in foreign trade which would mitigate the impact of US sanctions.

Another event that could be considered pivotal to Iran’s look-to-the-East policy was the signing of a 25-year comprehensive strategic cooperation document with China, which also improved Iran’s economic position in the SCO.

Attracting a lot of attention in the international arena, the document was widely deemed as a measure to counter US policy against Iran, as Chinese investment would pour fresh blood into the Iranian economy.

The document has outlined a road map for extensive economic and security cooperation between Tehran and Beijing, paving the way for billions of dollars of Chinese investment in energy, banking, communications, ports, railroads, and several other sectors.

The strategic cooperation will also benefit Iran in China-Pakistan corridor and China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

All this has been achieved by Iran in a time that the Western countries failed to comply with their commitments in the 2015 nuclear deal, while Iran fully implemented the deal and remained compliant with it even after the US withdrawal which led to restoring the sanctions removed by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015.

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