Looking to break out of his international isolation, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is attending a major summit in Shanghai. The meeting of Central Asian leaders, including the Chinese and Russian Presidents, is focused on promoting stability and development in the region.
The United States believes this group’s aims are far simpler – limiting American influence in the region. With Iran facing UN sanctions if it does not stop its uranium enrichment programme, the gathering is a good opportunity for the Iranian President to strengthen ties with his Russian and Chinese counterparts. Both have expressed reluctance to impose sanctions and, crucially for Tehran, both have seats on the UN Security Council. China and Iran have much to gain from co-operation. With China’s massive economic expansion, it needs oil, and Iran is the world’s fourth biggest producer.