For two decades, Iran blamed much of Afghanistan’s miseries on the military intervention there by the U.S. and its allies. But two years after the U.S. withdrawal that Tehran had long demanded, and with the Taliban now firmly in power in Kabul, Iran finds itself facing a unique set of challenges emanating from Afghanistan.
The struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia has insinuated itself into nearly every regional issue, fracturing international alliances and sustaining wars across the region, while raising fears of a direct conflict between the two powers. Meanwhile, the region is rife with ongoing conflicts, and the long-simmering dispute between Israel and Palestine continues to flare up periodically.
A defense agreement signed by Iran and Bolivia in late July, the details of which remain obscure, constitute yet another step in Tehran’s effort to cement ties with leftist governments in Latin America. The campaign to build those relations is not new, but it appears to have gained new momentum in recent months.