With a new moderate president in office by August, Iran will rebuild ties with its neighbors through an assertive and constructive diplomacy. In his first interview with the press, President-elect Hassan Rouhani stressed the need for Iran to improve its regional ties. Promoting regionalism, he said, will open new markets to Iran and help its drive to push foreign forces out in order to secure Iran’s primary national interest, which is stable relations with its neighbors.
Iran’s central geopolitical location is unique to its ability to promote regionalism, with the Persian Gulf to its south, and Central Asia and the Caucuses to its north. Within this region, 11 key states neighbor Iran, including the six Arab States of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Iran’s adjacent or close neighbors total 15 if we include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia and Kazakhstan.