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Georgia makes friends with US foe2010-05-24 22:58
What is it: Tbilisi and Tehran abolishing visa barriers, presenting new opportunities for mutual investments, solving gas issues? Even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - the fiercest critic of US - is planning to pay a visit to Georgia that only recently stopped being considered as a potential base for US blows on Iran? Experts are completely at a loss. It is believed in Georgia that this is Mikheil Saakashvili's attempt to provoke jealousy of alienating Americans who abandoned Georgia in exchange for sanctions against Tehran. At home Barack Obama is criticized for weakness. In Britain his actions are viewed as steps toward a multipolar world. Russian media suspect that via Georgia Iran is setting
up contacts with the USA to spike Russia.
All of a sudden Georgia became a priority item in Iran's policies as directly stated by Iran's deputy FM Ramin Mehmand Farasti on his visit to Tbilisi.
It took the delegation from this Islamic country two days to turn the arrangement of forces in South Caucasus and Middle East completely upside down on their visit to Tbilisi. Two states on opposite vectors of development (a religious ideology versus democratic values) attracted to two opposite geographical world centers (Russia and the USA) have grown incredibly close.
Georgia and Iran have decided to cancel visa regime under a relevant agreement, now in the making. Ajaria will host an additional diplomatic representation - a consulate office in Batumi. Ministries of Foreign Relations will cooperate in media sphere. Tehran promises to invest in Georgia's hydro power industry and agriculture and "consider the issue of natural gas supplies".
Iranian FM Manuchehr Mottaki is coming to Georgia in June. There is a probability that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will come next! According to Kommersant newspaper (Russia) the head of the Islamic Republic has long been dreaming of visiting Tbilisi but he got a surprise invitation only a week ago.
This turn of events seemed real earlier in the year when Georgian FM Grigol Vashadze favored Iran's nuclear program despite US distrust over its peaceful use. It was the time when Russia made it clear that it might adhere to UN sanctions against Iran. In reply Ahmadinejad acknowledged support for Georgia's integrity and expressed wish to join Nabucco project.
Georgia has long been diversifying its foreign policies in the region secretly by developing relations not only with Turkey and Israel - US favorites - but with Arab states too. Abovementioned Iran helped Georgia with gas when supplies of Russian fuel were halted because of explosions on gas pipelines in 2005. However, then Americans put a ban on contracts for continuous supply of "Islamic gas" to "the young democracy" like they object to using Iranian deposits for Nabucco now.
But never before has Tbilisi been so demonstrative in its drift away from the White House's policies "flirting" with Iran, the most uncompromising critic of US hegemony.
According to Georgian experts, Mikheil Saakashvili needs friendship with Iran to attract attention of the USA. "Our authorities feel openly offended by the West and US who, as they think, have offered insufficient support in struggle against Russia", - Georgy Khukhashvili comments on rapprochement between Iran and Georgia.