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“Countries that are our neighbors and friends have seen that our focus is no longer solely on the west,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi recently declared, “and connections with neighbors and regional countries are our priority.” The conservative cleric was speaking after returning from a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Tajikistan, where Iran on Sept. 17 saw its application to become a full member finally being processed after over a decade of waiting. He credited his administration’s aversion to the west as winning Iran’s coming entrance to the SCO, which comprises 40% of the world’s population and 20% of the global economy.
Raisi’s comments were a clear rebuttal of his moderate predecessor Hassan Rouhani and the policies he pursued. Indeed, nearly two months after his inauguration, it is becoming clearer how Raisi’s foreign policy approach will be different...
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