16 April 2015

Why Is Central Asia Excited About the Iran Deal?

April 15, 2015

Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in particular are keen to see progress in the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1. 
Central Asia’s leaders are excited by the progress in negotiations between Iran and the P5+1. Hemmed in by sanctions-hit Russia to the north, an energy-hungry but distant China to the east, war-torn Afghanistan to the south, the region looks forward to the economic opportunities presented by an opening of Iran.

The framework agreement announced on April 2 included the promise of sanctions relief, which would make Iran a much more attractive partner for the states of Central Asia which already have relations of varying degrees with Iran. Iran, for its part, recognized the region as vital. On Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif commented that Iran considers “no ceiling for the expansion of relations with regional countries whether in the Caucasus or in Central Asia,” in a joint press conference with his Kazakh counterpart, Yerlan Idrisov.

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, in his own press statement after meeting with Zarif, noted that “the two countries have great potential for cooperation” and that “much work is conducted as part of the revival of the Silk Road.”

He went on to mention the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran Railway which opened late last year and the ongoing cooperation among the Caspian littoral states, which are still working to determine the status and borders of the energy-rich sea.

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