Investors are keenly ”lining up” to get access to Iran these days, as we reported last week. But they’re not the only ones: with Iranian leaders falling into line behind the framework agreement, Tehran’s allies – as well as some of its adversaries – have been hard at work tightening ties in anticipation of diplomatic and financial opportunities as Iran’s “powerful” economy “returns to the world stage.” Iran, for its part, has not only been rewarding staunch allies such as China (now poised to help Pakistan secure an energy source), it has also reportedly been reaching out to other countries, such as India, in hopes of boosting bilateral trade.
Clearly, a lot is riding on this deal (although some, such as Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon don’t quite see it as a done deal just yet). Just ask Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who made his way to Tehran last week to meet with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani – despite accusing Iran just one month previously of “trying to dominate the region” (which probably accounted for his “markedly formal and cold” welcome) – in an attempt to build bridges and pursue a vision of diplomatic cooperation and economic prosperity.
Erdogan’s trip, as well as his not-quite-forgotten accusation, received wide coverage in the English-language press. Most Western reports – on the BBC, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal, to name a few, highlighted the tensions still straining the once-close relations between the two countries, from the Sunni-Shi’a divide and the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen to their competing bids for regional influence.
The Iranian press put the emphasis on both countries’ agreement to cooperate on regional issues and “double” the volume of their bilateral trade while “phasing out the US dollar.” But while some Turkish media outlets depicted Ankara as the architect of said agreements, others bemoaned Iran’s apparent “eclipsing” of Turkish influence in the Middle East. Al Monitor, meanwhile, published a comprehensive analysis addressing both countries’ economic needs, what they may have to offer each other, and the “ambitions for regional leadership” that could stand in their way – illustrating just how little in Mideastern politics, least of all the aftermath of a nuclear deal, is set in stone.