IRANIAN-TURKMEN RELATIONS IN AN ERA OF CHANGE

Vladimir MESAMED


Vladimir Mesamed, Representative of the Central Asia and the Caucasus journal in the Middle East (Jerusalem, Israel)


In the fifteen years that have passed since the U.S.S.R. collapsed, the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has gained sufficiently diversified experience in bilateral relations with the newly independent states that formed in the place of the former Union republics. One of the primary things to be noted about the IRIs relations with the Central Asian states is the fact that Iran was one of the first countries to recognize their independence and establish equal relations with them. Over the past fifteen years, every version of interstate relations has acquired its own specifics and its own set of particular stratifications and ad hoc characteristics in the Central Asian expanse, which are interfering with the progressive development of a dialog.

In this context, Iranian-Turkmen relations can quite rightly be called the most stable and dynamic. Throughout the fifteen years of their existence, they have proven the strength of the potential invested in them. This gave reason for deceased President Saparmurat Niyazov to say the following in 2003 in his famous speech How Difficult It Is to Build a State: We have fraternal relations with the Iranian people, devoid of mutual suspicion. This description very adequately reflects the current reality of the Central Asian region. Iranian-Turkmen relations have almost no features that irritate either participant in the dialog, and restraining counterbalances are kept to the minimum. This makes the problematic aspects of the IRIs interrelations with other countries of this region stand out in sharp relief. For example, Irans relations with Kazakhstan are aggravated by Astanas desire to focus priority attention on the pro-Western and pro-Russian vectors of


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