Iranian President Mohammad Khatami left for the republic of Kazakhstan after the summit of the Caspian countries In Ashkhabad. Khatami and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev discussed issues of economic cooperation between the two countries. Khatami paid attention to the serious subject of the presence of American troops in Central Asia: in Uzbekistan and in Kyrgyzstan.
Iran’s president said that the presence of the American army in the Central Asian republics was “humiliating for our countries, which have their own right to solve their problems independently and determine what is good and what is bad for them.” President Khatami believes that such actions on the part of the USA infringe upon the sovereign rights of a nation and lead to drastic reactions in response, which sometimes takes the form of terrorism.
However, Kazakh president did not comment on the subject. Nazarbayev did not either condemn or support the statements from the president of Iran. No wonder: US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is scheduled to arrive in the republic of Kazakhstan this weekend; therefore, it is needless to mention that Nursultan Nazarbayev would not like to overshadow the beginning of Rumsfeld's visit with the support of anti-American statements from the Iranian leader.
We should mention one more aspect. President Khatami is considered to be almost a "liberal" politician in the West, who is open for dialogue with politicians of all countries. However, it is not likely that the European countries will understand Khatami’s words that justified terrorism against the United States (not to mention the USA itself).
However, one should not wait for anything else from the president of Iran. Washington is not likely to achieve any kind of mutual understanding with Tehran after all those “axis of evil” statements. Khatami did not limit himself with the criticism of the US military presence in Central Asia. The Iranian leader called upon the government of Kazakhstan to support the project of building a pipeline that will reach the terminals of the Persian Gulf via the territory of Iran.
“I think that owing to the wise politics of esteemed President Nazarbayev, we will soon witness the construction of a new pipeline via the territory of Iran," – Khatami stated. "This is the most reliable, cheapest, and shortest way to transport oil.”
As it is known, there exists another oil project: the pipeline from Baku (the capital of Azerbaijan) to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. Americans are very active lobbyists of this project, but its implementation has been delayed several times due to the unstable political situation in the Caucasian region. This project does not have a successful future of its realization in the nearest future, and Kazakhstan might not support Khatami’s offer, although Nazarbayev announced Kazakhstan’s interest in diversification with the help of oil deliveries to the international market. The Kazakh president added that Kazakhstan’s transporting abilities would be enough until 2010.
On the whole, it is too early to say that Iran and Kazakhstan will establish close economic and political cooperation. Kazakhstan really wants to develop relations with the USA. It is not hard to guess what reaction Washington will have if Kazakhstan and Iran start building an oil pipeline. This project will be possible to realize only after the USA and Iran find a common language, which is not likely in the nearest future.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov