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Iran's launch of ‘Look East’ 2.0

The recent Regional Security Dialogue in Tehran is an indication that Iran sees security multilateralism as a mechanism to confront US pressure and maintain the regional balance of power in its favor.
A general view shows the first meeting of national security secretaries of Afghanistan, China, Iran, India and Russia, in the Iranian capital Tehran on September 26, 2018. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

Tehran hosted national security and deputy national security advisers from China, India, Russia and Afghanistan on Sept. 26, in what was billed as the first Regional Security Dialogue. According to Keyvan Khosravi, spokesman for the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, the one-day meeting, initiated by Iran, primarily aimed at “finding joint measures for fighting terrorism and preventing its spread to Central Asia, with a focus on Afghanistan.” The final communique, however, suggested a broader agenda than just Afghanistan.

Also included were efforts ranging from fighting the Islamic State (IS) in Syria to promoting trade and economic cooperation among the parties. It was also announced that the participants had agreed to establish a secretariat and to hold annual meetings at the same level on a rotating basis. As such, it could be said that Iran’s initiative has already been successful in forming a new multilateral framework, at least at the official level.

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