Gathering Clouds Over West Asia…
It is difficult to predict what Tehran and Washington have in their respective minds! The Global Community is worried because the two Nuclear Powers are trading barbs… the only fear is that if a war breaks out between the two, then it could be more dangerous than the 1990-91 Gulf War!
Hassan Rouhani’s Iran is not like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq… Iran is not only fully prepared to fight a war, but has also the strength to destabilise West Asia in more than one way… The Political and Diplomatic Relations between Iran and the US have not been very cordial for more than three decades, but their ties have deteriorated in the last 15 days. With Washington planning to send more than 120,000 soldiers to the Persian Gulf region, Iran has so far shown restraint! US President Donald Trump recently said that Iran would make a mistake, if it decides to go to a war against his country. In reply, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed that the US president – like “other aggressors” before him, including Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan – would fail to humble Iran. “Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors have all gone,” he added. It is to be noted that although the ancient Persians were defeated and conquered by Alexander, and their descendants subjugated by Genghis Khan, the Persian people and their culture endured.
The atmosphere in West Asia is alarming for the entire world. When Trump became the US president, a number of Political Analysts thought that the US Foreign Policy would face a disaster… Now, they say that the moment has arrived! Even the US experts have expressed doubt over the ability of the advisers of the US President to tackle such a situation diplomatically. They know that the politics in West Asia is markedly different… if any regional power gets involved in a war, other powers, too, join the war. It is easy to guess what the friends of the US in the region, like Saudi Arabia and Israel, would do in case a war breaks out. Riyadh has traded barbs with Tehran twice over attacks on Saudi oil reserve in recent times! Yemen and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are also in this evil circle.
In such a situation, the Iranian foreign minister met his outgoing Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi. During their meeting, Swaraj told Zarif that it would not be possible for India to ask 8 million Indians, working in West Asia, to return to their homeland. Moreover, India is facing troubles while importing crude oil from Iran because of the US sanctions (on Iran). As the Iranian minister arrived in India after touring Russia and China, the main aim of the visit was to seek assistance. As expected, Swaraj advised her guest from Tehran to resolve the crisis through peaceful negotiations in a constructive way.
Meanwhile, the Indian Foreign Policy Experts have opined that it will be a real challenge for Narendra Modi, who is all set to become the Prime Minister of India for the second consecutive term, to reboot his West Asia Policy, especially after the Iranian minister’s visit to neighbouring Pakistan! During his recent meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Zarif said that Tehran was ready to connect Pakistan’s Gwadar Port with Chabahar Port, developed by India in Iran, to promote Trade and Commerce in the region! He told Qureshi: “I have come here with a proposal for the Government of Pakistan for connection between Chabahar and Gwadar… We believe that Chabahar and Gwadar can complement each other.” The visiting Minister was also heard mentioning: “We can connect Chabahar and Gwadar, and then through that connect Gwadar to our entire Railroad System, from Iran to the North Corridor, through Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, and also through Azerbaijan, Russia, and through Turkey.”
Prime Minister Modi
Iran, India and Afghanistan had signed a Trilateral Transit Agreement in Tehran in May 2016, as the three countries decided to open new routes of connection by converting Chabahar Port into a Transit Hub! Chabahar Port, only about 100km from the Pakistan border and located on the Indian Ocean, is Iran’s largest outside the Gulf. Although India is yet to issue any official statement on Iran’s proposal to Pakistan, experts are of the opinion that New Delhi may even snap ties with Tehran, if the West Asian nation connects Gwadar Port with Chabahar…
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