The anti-terrorism campaign in Afghanistan and its aftermath pose a major test for Islamic Iran's foreign policy makers. The geopolitical contest that surrounds Afghan reconstruction is forcing Islamic Iran to clarify its national interests. That, in turn, is helping to fuel competition between conservative and reformist forces in Iran.
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.
Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev's long-awaited visit to Iran, which was supposed to take place February 18-20, has been postponed indefinitely, due in part to his uncertain health. Aliyev has yet to return to Azerbaijan from the United States, where he is being treated for an undisclosed illness. Presidential aides say it is too soon to determine when the Iran visit will be rescheduled.
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.
EurasiaNet: What kind of assistance will the US render to the Azerbaijani government now that the US Congress has authorized a waiver of sanctions contained under Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act? Wilson: The language that was passed by the Senate gives the President the authority to wave the section 907 for a year.
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.