Saturday marked the 64th anniversary of the CIA sponsored coup to overthrow Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. With the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its proxies victory over ISIS and so-called moderate rebels backed by arch rival Saudi Arabia in Syria, and growing relations with neighboring Qatar and Turkey, Iran is once again emerging as the dominant power in the Persian Gulf region as it was prior to the 1979 revolution.
Besides its enormous oil and gas reserves rapidly developing after the nuclear deal with the U.S. and EU removed sanctions, the most important factor in Iran's rise is trade, not military might or revolutionary Shi'a Muslim ideology. The country is a pivotal part of connecting the One Belt One Road (OBOR) to the North South Transport (INSTC) Corridor through the Caucuses (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan).
Both projects intimately involve Iran's military ally and Caspian Sea partner Russia, which has helped Iran overcome its shortage of refining capacity in a weak oil price market in return for purchasing Russian goods. In addition to Iran, Turkey is also signing on to the Eurasian Economic Union customs agreement, ensuring the smooth flow of goods from the Indian subcontinent and Persian Gulf to Turkish Mediterranean/Black Sea ports supplying Europe. Such critical mass makes for a tremendous magnet, including to historic U.S. allies like Pakistan, Egypt and Israel or countries that have drifted from non-aligned status to quasi-U.S. defense partners in recent years, like India. -- JWS
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