By: Jalil Bayat*

(Persia Digest) – “The look to the East” policy has been revived in Iran’s political strategy once again as a necessity. The topic is, in fact, being promoted mainly by the critics of Rouhani’s government who has been trying to improve the country’s position with Western countries over the past five years in office. Rouhani’s most significant initiative during this time has been the 2015 JCPOA nuclear accord signed with world powers to de-escalate and expand political and economic ties between Iran and the EU.

But Iran had not yet reaped the benefits of this deal when a change of presidents in the US elections transformed everything. Trump withdrew the US from the JCPOA multilateral accord, effectively increasing the feeling of distrust towards his country among the leaders of Iran, giving more power to the opponents of the US and the West in general.

Currently, with the return of secondary sanctions and disappointment with insufficient measures taken by the EU to counter American unilateralism concerning the JCPOA, Iran’s hardliners are considering a return to “The look to the East” strategy. This strategy was formerly pursued in Iran, in particular during the government of former president, Ahmadinejad. It seems that since Iran has not had a security threat from the East over the past 40 years, it has increasingly tended to turn to countries such as Russia, China, India, and.... But, has this been a bilateral tendency? Can the strategy of looking to the East safeguard Iranian interests under the present circumstances?

The political desk of Persia Digest (PD) will be discussing the topic with top foreign policy experts on Iran inside and outside the country. To this end, a special dossier has been opened to review the “Look to the East” strategy. These expert opinions will be posted online on the Persia Digest website starting tomorrow. PD is ready to cover the views of other proponents and opponents of the strategy.

*Persia Digest Editor-in-Chief


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