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close this bookCentral Eurasian Water Crisis: Caspian, Aral, and Dead Seas (UNU, 1998, 203 pages)
close this folderPart III: The Caspian Sea
close this folder9. Iranian perspectives on the Caspian Sea and Central Asia
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentIran's northern geopolitical interests
View the documentThe issue of lake Hamun and the Hirmand River
View the documentConclusion
View the documentNotes
View the documentReferences


In light of the changing global geopolitical structure following the demise of communism, Iran has assumed an extremely important role as the landmass that bridges two very important oil regions of the world - the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf.

In its diplomatic overtures to the republics of the Caucasus, the Caspian region, and Central Asia, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been trying hard to emphasize economic rather than ideological and political motives. Genuinely concerned about the breakdown of security on its northern border, it has so far brokered at least two cease-fires in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, and two cease-fires in the Tajikistan civil war.

Depending on (1) the socio-political flexibility of the existing political structure of Iran, (2) its conceptual capacity to give top priority to the geographical aspects of its national interests over ideological considerations in its foreign and regional policies, and (3) its ability to create a well-organized administrative system that would improve its image, Iran will be able to emerge as a significant regional political power as well as an economic success story. Moreover, Iran could decide to make major changes in its foreign and domestic policies. If so, Iran could become a major regional power with the ability to create a successful regional grouping. The formation of any regional grouping, however, will depend on Iran's skill in settling geographical differences with neighbours and its ability to strengthen ties to them. No doubt, an improved image for Iran would be the most effective instrument for changing the political attitude of the United States toward Iranian national interests in the Caspian - Central Asia and Persian Gulf regions.