Armenia and Iran are seeking to boost bilateral relations. Both countries clearly hope that closer cooperation can be used as leverage to influence broader political and economic issues in the Caucasus. However, relations are developing slowly, due in large part to the fact that close Armenian-Iranian ties run counter to the interests of other countries in the region.
In a move hailed as a significant show of support for Afghanistan's interim government, Iran has curbed renegade Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's activities. At the same time, conservative Islamic elements in Iran are engaged on an on-going effort to enhance Tehran's influence over Afghanistan's reconstruction.
Afghanistan's interim government is eager to help reduce tensions between two key strategic partners - the United States and Iran. A better relationship between Washington and Tehran is seen as a key to Afghanistan's own stabilization hopes, Afghan officials say.
Despite a hero's reception at US President George W. Bush's State of the Union address, interim Afghan leader Hamid Karzai finished his most recent trip to the United States without key assurances on international peacekeeping in his tattered nation.
The end of the Taliban's rule in Afghanistan has helped foster strategic cooperation between Pakistan and Iran. Following a recent visit to Pakistan by Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, the nations have signaled interest in expanding political, economic and strategic cooperation.
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Iran is emerging as a key player in discussions on a post-Taliban Afghanistan. Over the past week, four high-level European diplomats have traveled to Tehran seeking Iranian support for a plan that would establish an interim Afghan government with the backing of the United Nations.
A small group of US congressmen attended an informal dinner in Washington on October 17 with a top Iranian diplomat in an attempt to promote cooperation and speed the normalization of relations between the United States and Iran.