Changes in the world political arena directly affect the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. At the same time, the geopolitical component plays an important role in shaping Iran's foreign policy.
Iran plays one of the dominant roles in the most important regions of the world—West Asia, which includes the Middle East, the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea zone, and Central Asia.
It should be noted that the foreign policy concepts of the Islamic regime, and the practical foreign policy of Iran, have cardinally changed.
The concepts of "neither the West, nor the East, but Islam", and "The export of the Islamic revolution" have been replaced with the policy of openness.
Iran actively participates in the work of international and regional organizations.
The following are the main directions of Iran's foreign policy:
2. The Caucasus and Central Asia;
4. The Persian Gulf.
Iran - Russia.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Iranian leadership had hope of finding a strategic ally in Russia, which possessed both a nuclear arsenal and the right of veto in the UN Security Council.
An important component of this position is that Russia is no longer regarded as a country that presents a potential military or ideological threat to Islamic Iran.
The geopolitical component plays an important role in shaping Iran's foreign policy
Iran and Russia do not have a common land border, but they are interested in three areas—the Caucasus, Central Asia and Afghanistan.
Both countries have the same understanding, interests and fears of the situation in the region.
The development of relations with Russia is a priority for Iran's foreign policy, which is dictated by its strategic interests.
Iran-Russian cooperation in the military-technical, economic and trade spheres are prosperous and can be profitable for both sides.
Iran - the Caucasus region and Central Asia.
The policy of Iran towards the Caucasus region, in recent years, is well known to Russia, the USA and European countries.
The Caucasus region and Central Asia, being at a geopolitically important junction, have become a place of hidden confrontation between Iran and Turkey.
The relations between Azerbaijan and Iran are not as close as it seems. Azerbaijan, in its foreign policy, is more focused on the USA and Turkey.
It can be stated that the Turkish side, in every possible way, on the basis of common Turkic solidarity, strengthens its influence in Azerbaijan, and in the North Caucasus region.
The long-lasting Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict is one of the factors of the established system of relations in this region, in the assessment of which Iran’s and Turkey’s interests have diverged.
It should be noted that Ankara was one of the first to officially recognize the independence of Azerbaijan and expressed its readiness to mediate in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
However, unlike Turkey, which still refuses to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia, Tehran is one of the closest allies of Yerevan.
Wishing to build up a close military-political relationship with Armenia, Teheran, through private investors, also has a desire to participate in joint economic projects in the territory of, so-called, “The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic”.
Iran pursues a policy of full support to the NKR and, at the same time, uses this policy as a tool of pressure on Azerbaijan.
Iran hunts an active policy of absorption of Nakhichevan, concentrating on the ethnic and religious affinity of the population; economic and political factors, as well as separatist moods, grow in Nakhichevan.
One of the directions of Iran's foreign policy is the strengthening of positions in the Persian Gulf
The Central Asian states that emerged after the collapse of the USSR in 1991 are of great importance for a fairly ideological Iranian foreign policy. The current Iranian Constitution declares the need to provide all-round support to Muslim states.
In this context, the formation in Central Asia of five states with a dominant Muslim population—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan—gave Iran a historic opportunity to gain a foothold in this new geopolitical space.
The most concerned issue is the worsening political situation on the shores of the Caspian Sea, in particular, the strengthening of pro-American sentiments in Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, where NATO military bases can be deployed.
Iran and China.
China intends to implement the Belt and Road Initiative project, in which investments in infrastructure—bridges, railways, ports in more than 60 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa—will amount to more than a trillion dollars. Iran occupies a central place in these plans.
Iran is now crucial to China's ability to realize its great ambitions.
It is to be noted that other routes to the western markets are longer and go through the territory of Russia—a potential rival of China.
Some experts say that due to China's large investments and China's growing presence in the Iranian economy, Tehran will become too dependent on China, its largest trading partner.
China has become an important market for Iranian oil because of the persistent unilateral US sanctions that scare off global banks.
The Chinese military-political leadership is trying to use all its political, economic, scientific, technical and military potential for penetrating into the countries of the Middle East and Central Asian regions.
In this case, China will be able to push out its potential enemies, primarily the US, Israel, Turkey and the Russian Federation.
Iran and the Persian Gulf.
One of the directions of Iran's foreign policy is the strengthening of positions in the Persian Gulf.
Iran is one of the largest countries in the region and, throughout its history, Iran has fought for a dominant position in this region.
In the 60-70's of XX century Tehran was close to realizing its goal.
But, as a result of the Islamic revolution of 1978-1979, Iran ceased to be a leader in the Persian Gulf, especially the Iran-Iraq war which strongly affected it.
Syria and Lebanon remain the main allies of Iran in the Arab world.
Currently, Sudan can also be considered its ally. Syria was the only country that, throughout the Iran-Iraq war, provided political and moral support to Iran.
In conclusion, it can be determined that Iran retains its influence on developments in the Middle East. This influence is ambiguous, and is not always concentrated and effective, which is explained by non-stop contradictions in the internal political struggle.