Ahmadinejad as a Caucasian peacemaker13.10.2010 | 18:03
As it turned out, the idea of a peaceful Caucasus is dear not only to those living in the unstable region. Iran has also aired its desire to help all the Caucasians. Of course, one cannot deny the fact that the Muslim republic has got common border with Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey. Teheran's positive sentiments are also obvious. But what is the reason for Ahmadinejad's unexpected and pathetic care about his near neighbors?
One of these days, Head of Iranian Ministry of Defense Ahmad Vahidi came to Azerbaijan on a formal visit. It was him who stated Teheran's readiness to help Azerbaijan and other countries in the region to achieve peace and stability in the Caucasus.
However, the initiative disclosed by Vahidi has been already brought forth by Iranian politicians. For example, in January, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili has already mentioned the importance of adopting a security strategy in the region.
"Iran has got a strategic approach to the settlement of regional problems and crises in the Near East, in the Caucasus or around Persian Gulf", - Jalili stated in the course of a meeting with head of the Georgian MFA Grigol Vashadze in Teheran. He also added that regional security will lay path for developing friendly relationship between the people and underlined that the interests of the local countries require enhancing cooperation in the field of security.
By the way, in the course of the visit, the eccentric Mr.Vashadze got several more valuable pieces of advice from his Iranian colleagues. For example, head of the republic Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made it clear that NATO expansion eastwards would bring no good to the countries of the region, for the western states pursue solely their own interests, trying to spread their influence in the East.
But let us come back to Ahmad Vahidi's statement. A strange thing: two weeks ago, leader of the Muslim republic stated that the Caucasus is capable of settling its own problems without the third countries' help. "Peoples of the South Caucasus are able to solve their problems without any interference from outside, - Ahmadinejad stressed then. - There are no difficulties the countries of the region were unable to cope with on their own".
Either the idea of Caucasian stability suggested by Teheran is already something settled, or Iranian officials fail to align their words with the head of the state but a fact remains a fact.
The contradictory statements of the Teheran officials and the prospects of Iranian peace strategy were discussed by GeorgiaTimes correspondent with expert of Institute of Strategic Assessments and Analysis Sergey Demidenko.
- I believe these initiatives result from to the only thing: for a long period of time, Iran has been trying to break the international isolation that is getting tight around it. Teheran's main purpose in this direction is the transformation into a regional superstate. Iran believes it has got enough international heft and military and economic power and that it is ready for this role. In this connection, it is trying to position itself as one of the leaders in the Muslim world, I mean, both a regional and confessional leader. But Iran's economy is a bit weak: the country has got no achievements in this field; it is only successful in the nuclear and military projects. As for the confessional aspect, Iran's positions here are also rather shaky. As is known, it's a Shi'ite state, and there are no ways to become leader of even a part of the Muslim world. On one hand, Teheran is constantly having a dig at the Sunnis, while on the other hand, it supports Shiah in Yemen, thus provoking collisions on the matter with Saudi Arabia. Stating one thing, Iran does completely the opposite.
Do you mean one can expect the Caucasus to reject Iran's initiatives?
- Of course. How can these ideas be taken by Azerbaijan, for instance, if Iran is the only state maintaining contacts with Armenia and giving it the corridor? Yes, we may talk about the Shi'ite commonness of Iran and Azerbaijan but I believe it's enough to remember the way Teheran used this religious commonness in the 90s and tried to suppress Baku. I mean Iran is treated in the Caucasus with caution, as well as in the Near East. Ahmadinejad wants to be a leader of some community of nations to resist the United States. But whatever Iran might think, the Muslim world is not going to follow it.
Yes, Iran is definitely playing the role of one of the regional leaders, an outlaw. The only claim Teheran can make against the West is the active foreign policy. The statements on creating a regional security strategy are trendy and bright but they are aimed at external consumption, for there are no grounds for their realization.