President of Emirates Policy Center (EPC), Ebtesam Al-Ketbi said that Iran and Turkey recently reached a consensus on a number of current political issues, such as supporting Qatar politically and economically in its diplomatic crisis with the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, rejecting Kurdistan’s independence referendum, and coordinating regarding the war in Syria. However, she found that this agreement between the two countries would not rise to the level of a long-term strategic alliance.
"What is happening between the two countries now is a marriage of interests, totally incompatible with the aspirations of the two countries, because Iran is seeking Shiite hegemony, while Turkey is seeking the leadership of the Sunni world, and these two regional projects are incompatible," said Al-Ketbi.
She added: "the interests of Tehran and Ankara align on the issue of the separation of Kurdistan from Iraq. In Syria, however, I do not think their interests are aligned. It is only about sharing the spoils, but the dispute over interests in Syria will explode again.”
On the other hand, EPC president found that both countries currently have a strained relationship with the US. Turkey is bitter about US support for the Kurds of Syria, as part of the efforts to combat "ISIS" and fears that this support will result in the establishment of Kurdish territory in northern Syria, which strengthens the Kurdish demands in Turkey.
As for Iran, Al-Ketbi believes the pressure it’s facing from the US, doesn’t only revolve around the nuclear deal, but “is more focused on trying correct the mistake of the Obama administration, which was to ignore Iran's expansion in the region by playing the sectarian card or by military force, as seen in Iraq and Syria," she said.
Al-Ketbi also added, that the Iranian president, Hassan Rohani, took office for a second term as per an agreement with the ruling coalition of the “House of the Leader”-the Revolutionary Guard Corps, because the Iranian regime felt the economic pressure of the sanctions and wanted to be liberated of them; which is why it wished to present a moderate, reconciliatory face to the West, to lift those sanctions.
“Now that the Trump administration is adopting a new strategy towards Iran, Rouhani finds that the Revolutionary Guard may no longer find his presence useful, because of the possibility of the US decertifying the nuclear deal, and the possible sanctions that will be imposed on Iran again. Of course, if new sanctions were to be imposed on Iran, Tehran will find it self in a weaker position than earlier; therefore, it has begun sending conciliatory messages to the region," said Al-Ketbi.
Finally, EPC president asserted the need to fill the void in power in the region, which may lead to the expansion of external regional powers. She called on Saudi Arabia and the UAE to take charge of an initiative to restore the Arab regional system.
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