Continuity and Hiatus: Structural Patterns of Iran's Policy in Afghanistan

  • Andreas Wilde (Autor/in)

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In some respects, the Western perspective on Iran and Afghanistan is a Eurocentric one, emphasizing the restrictive character of the Iranian regime and the threat caused by the hotly debated nuclear program. In the current discourse on the situation in Afghanistan, Iran does not play any role and its position is largely unknown. The following essay focuses on the history of Afghan-Iranian relations and highlights Iran's position and self-image in the wider region. As the title suggests, bilateral relations between the two countries are characterized by continuity and shifts. In addition, the paper sheds light on Iran's skillful handling of international affairs and politics, though the strategic maneuverings of Iranian policy makers have not always helped to reach the envisaged targets. Regarding Afghanistan, the Iranians have been sophisticated players, but the essay argues that Iran's relations with its eastern neighbor are shaped by both domestic factors and circumstances on the global level.