Iran is giving cash to Afghanistan. This topic is particularly hot in the news this week, and I see others have already blogged about it. I am going to put my two-cents into this conversation too.
So Afghanistan has been accepted millions of dollars from Iran, what are the consequences of this, if any? Well, we don't know the exact agreement made between the two leaders, so the results are TBD. However, I want to talk about Iran's recent outreach to other states in the region. Iran recently made a visit to Lebanon. He gave a few speeches, but the visit was a culmination of recent aid and other agreements between the two countries. Symbolic signs went up during his visit:
In addition, giving money to its northeast neighbor could point to a few signs of what Iran is trying to do. In the midst of tough sanctions placed on the country this past summer, Iran seems to be looking for a few friends. Instead of being the polarizing, intimidating power, Iran has recently put on its "friendly face" in the region. Though it still has traditional rivals such as Saudi Arabia, I think it is significant that Iran is doing some public diplomacy work. By giving aid and improving relations with other states in the Middle East, its trying to build some friends. Especially with Lebanon, which has recently been somewhat ignored by the United States, it is important that Iran is finally utilizing the friendly Hezbollah power.
So one may ask, from my title, how is in any way related to Turkey?
Well my research paper is on the foreign relations of Turkey in the past decade. What I am trying to connect is the the recent trend of changing relations with neighbors in the region. Turkey, which has recently been stepping out into the international scene by itself without holding Europe's hand, had engaged in a similar process. Turkey has completely changed its relations with Syria from one of imminent war to a strong friendship. Turkey has given aid money to the Caucasus states as well as renewing ties with Iran. Looks like its the beginning of a power play to me. Iran seems to like how its working for Turkey, and is doing the same thing. I hope it cites it sources.