US-Iran relations improving
By Messenger Staff
Friday, November 15
Relations between the U.S.A. and Iran have begun to improve. The fear of confrontation between the two countries seems to have lessened in recent months. These developments have affected world politics and, in particular, the Caucasus region.
The confrontational stance the West had towards Iran did not yield positive results for either side. Neither the cessation of Iran's nuclear program nor security in the region was achieved.
Iran and the International Atomic Energy Commission have achieved some agreements recently. As a result, more effective inspection of Iranís nuclear facilities seems more and more likely.
This will increase the possibility of successful negotiations and might eventually lead to the sanctions against Iran being lifted.
At present, Georgia has good relations with Iran. In 2010 the visa regime between the two countries was abolished. Significant steps have been put forward in improving trade, tourism and infrastructural cooperation.
This has taken place with the U.S.-Georgian strategic partnership in the background. Iran-Georgian relations have been accepted by U.S. officials with understanding.
However, the current warming of U.S.-Iran relations might only be temporary. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly stresses that Iran should not be trusted.
Since the current Georgian government came into office in October 2012, Georgian-Russian relations have thawed. This too might be a temporary situation.
Moscow will never give up its claim to being the dominant power in the South Caucasus. The Kremlin is stubbornly promoting the idea of reviving some kind of amalgamation among the former Soviet Union member states, the so-called Eurasian Union. So far it has managed to persuade or force Armenia to join its customs union. Many analysts presume that Moscow will increase its pressure on Georgia as it has been exercising pressure on Moldova and Ukraine.
Tbilisi, however, hopes to receive EU Association membership which would significantly hamper Russia's ability to force Georgia into the Eurasian Union.
Iran will certainly benefit from a political and economic point of view if Georgia integrates deeper within EU structures. Indirectly this will be yet another opportunity for Tehran to intensify its economic cooperation with Europe via Georgia.
There is one more important player in the region as well. This is Turkey which together with Azerbaijan promotes the concept of creating a solid connection between the countries bordering the Caspian Sea and the West. Azerbaijan wants to become the primary oil and gas supplier to Europe, via Turkey. Turkey and Azerbaijan are also promoting construction of a railway that will run connect Azerbaijan and Turkey's railway systems, via Georgia.
In this regard Georgian analysts think that the U.S. should take a more proactive role in the region, because if certain solid steps are not taken towards integrating Georgia into NATO, the U.S. and NATO might lose their strategic position in Georgia. Georgia needs NATO membership to protect it from possible military attack from the north, as happened in August 2008.
If the U.S. stabilizes relations with Iran then Russian influence in Iran will accordingly lessen. However, this might provoke Russia into taking a more aggressive role in the South Caucasus. In a worst case scenario, Russia might provoke some conflict with Georgia, as it did in 2008, and reestablish its influence on the country forever.