Turkey re-opens border with Iran, wants to boost trade - analysis

Health protocols relating to the coronavirus pandemic will be put in place to deal with he new traffic.

Iran and Turkey 520 (photo credit: AP)
Iran and Turkey 520
(photo credit: AP)
Iran’s land border with Turkey at Bazargan has re-opened to allow 60 trucks a day to cross, according to Iran’s Tasnim news.
Tehran has been suffering under sanctions, but it wants to increase trade with Ankara, and over the years, Iran has worked closely with Turkey on trade.
The decision to reopen the border, Iran’s media says, took place after discussions between Mahmoud Vaezi of Iran’s Presidential Office and his Turkish counterparts. Health protocols relating to the coronavirus pandemic will be put in place to deal with the new traffic.
Iran said it wants to strengthen bilateral relations with Turkey. “The talks with Turkey stressed the need to resume border exchanges and road transport between the two countries with the aim of developing trade relations,” Tasnim reported.
So far, trade has been greatly reduced due to the pandemic. Trucks laden with watermelons, dates and kiwis crossed this past week into Turkey. Last November, Turkey sought to boost trade with Iran to more than $30 billion. However, actual trade is far below that figure.
In the past, Iran has used Turkey to get around US sanctions and Iran has even sought to use Turkey as a transit for goods destined for the Syrian regime and Hezbollah. Much of that has changed during the Syrian civil war, but Iran’s overall goal in the region is to work with Turkey to divide up the Middle East.
Both Turkey and Iran oppose US policy in Syria and both are vociferous critics of Israel. Both Iran and Turkey share opposition to Trump’s decisions on Jerusalem and both countries support Hamas and other extremist groups. In 2014, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force held meetings in Turkey with the Muslim Brotherhood, a close ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to coordinate policies against Egypt and other states that Tehran and Ankara view as enemies.
Turkey and Iran have met frequently to discuss Syria, where they have often been at odds. Iran is the main backer of the Syrian regime and Turkey has opposed the Syrian opposition.
In late February, Turkish forces clashed with the Syrian regime. Russia seeks to work closely with Iran and Turkey regarding Syria through the Astana process. Russia hopes that Iran and Turkey can both help balance US policy in the region and become part of a new global economic order to reduce the US role and ally with China, Pakistan and other emerging global south states.
In December 2019, Turkey, Qatar, Iran and Malaysia’s antisemitic Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed met to discuss coordinating global “Islamic” policy and to push for the creation of a new “gold dinar” currency that would help get around US sanctions on Iran. Turkey, Malaysia, Qatar and Iran’s policy coordination is generally opposed by Saudi Arabia and countries allied to Riyadh.


Tags trade