Zh. Zhengis Head of Iranian Studies of Faculty of Oriental Studies Al-Farabi Kazakh National university; M. Atik Sultan al-Kuwaiti Student of 1 year study master’s degree of Oriental Studies Faculty of Oriental Studies Al-Farabi Kazakh National un.


Scientific E-journal «edu.e-history.kz» № 2(10), 2017

Tags: history, culture, Islam, Kazakhstan, Asia, cooperation, Centra, Iran, politics., economics
The change in the geopolitical situation on the northern borders of Iran after the collapse of the Soviet Union meant that for the first time in several centuries Iran was left without the land borders that it had with the Soviet Union. The emergence of the independent republics of Central Asia in 1991 gave Iran the opportunity to get acquainted with the region with which it once had close historical and cultural ties. These ties have their roots back in the sixth century BC, when the region was under the rule of the Achaemenid empire. Bukhara in present-day Uzbekistan is known as the historical center of Persian culture and literature, and Farsi remained a language of literature, science and diplomacy in Central Asia and after "Turkification" of the region in the X-XI centuries. Central Asian states tend to pursue an independent, independent foreign policy and foreign economic policy. The approaches of these countries are based on historically formed political and cultural ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the role of Iran in international and regional affairs, the influence of Iran in the Muslim world and, accordingly, the possibility of promoting its interests in Islamic states, as well as in mutually beneficial trade- Economic relations. The article analyzes Iran's attempts to use the historical and cultural prestige that it traditionally used in Central Asia to expand its economic And political influence in the region. This desire is clearly seen in the example of the growing activity of Iran in Kazakhstan. The author shows that the religious situation in Central Asia is not a factor in the development of Iran's relations with the countries of the region. At the same time, Tehran's regional ideological interest, connected with the spread of Islamic influence through economic and cultural cooperation, remains topical.

After decades of Russian and Soviet domination, Central Asia is once again emerging as a geo-politically critical region in the world politics. Although Central Asia has re-emerged as an unexpected spin-off of the Soviet collapse, the region, due to several crucial factors, assumes strategic significance in its own right, and therefore, it cannot be treated simply in the context of the end of the Cold War. The concept of Central Asia is not merely geographical and political but deeply historical and civilisational, the importance of which, particularly in India, formed the lesson beginning with the ancient times of our history. The region's description as an area of great strategic importance to India had always been a part of Indian consciousness. The region enjoys a unique geo-strategic position not only being in the centre of Asia but also in the heart of Eurasia. The region is located at the intersection of different regions, comprising different civilisations (Persian, Indian, Chinese, European, Turkic and Arabian). The region also forms a link between Russia, China and the Islamic world [1].

Iran has traditionally entered the sphere of geopolitical interests as the leading world powers - Russia and the US, as well as the states of Central Asia. This is primarily due to the geostrategic location of Iran and its access to the  Gulf and the Caspian Sea, historically political-economic and cultural ties, the passage through Iranian territory of large transport routes, the existence of long-term economic and trade interests, large-scale investments in industrial and infrastructure facilities. An important factor is the political, economic and spiritual influence of Iran in the regions of the Gulf, Transcaucasia, and Central Asia, which requires careful consideration when planning and implementing both the political line and serious economic projects.

It deserves attention as a coincidence or similarity of the interests of the states of the "triangle", which makes it possible to assume, of course, within the framework of their interests, if not the agreed, similar line, and the main differences and, moreover, the contradictions between them.
There is no doubt that the military and political penetration of the US into the Central Asian and Transcaucasian regions runs counter to Iran's geopolitical interests. US support for the accession of the countries of these regions to NATO objectively contributes to increasing tensions in their relations with Iran. The creation of US military bases under the pretext of an anti-terrorist campaign in Afghanistan and the establishment of military-technical cooperation with the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus significantly increase the tension factor in the post-Soviet space, which we regard as a sensitive sphere of national, vital interests. For Iran, it is clear that in the event of a sharp deterioration of relations with the United States, these bases can be used as bridgeheads and points of support for combat operations against Iran. The presence of US troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, a powerful naval grouping in the Gulf is not only a means of pressure on Iran, but also an additional source of tension, greatly increasing the factor of unpredictable "collision". So, practically during each exercises in the Gulf both Iranian and American forces come reports of conditional, for example, "radar" attacks of each other, which, in the context of the current tense situation, may well develop into a local conflict [2].

The Central Asian states are seeking to conduct an independent foreign policy and foreign economic policy independent of the United States (and this is emphasized in their contacts with the Iranians in every possible way). The approaches of these countries (without differentiation according to the interests of specific EU countries) are based on the following priorities as a whole:

- Historically established political and cultural ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran;

- taking into account the role of Iran in international and regional affairs;

- the influence of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Muslim world and, accordingly, the possibility of promoting their interests in Islamic states;

- mutually beneficial trade and economic relations.
In the early 1990s, immediately after the collapse of the USSR, after discovering the vast undeveloped market space, Iran rapidly intensified in the new states of Central Asia, primarily in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Many observers of regional processes often assert that, intensified in the region, Iran continues to follow one of the important ideological concepts of its official foreign policy - the idea of ​​"exporting the Islamic revolution" wrote Z. Brzezinski in the 1990 [3,46].

Such an assessment has already turned into one of the most stable stereotypes of international life. However, in relation to the countries of Central Asia, these statements are in fact unfounded. The post-Soviet history of the countries of Central Asia knows many examples of influence on the religious sphere by a number of other states - Turkey, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, but not Iran with its Shiite doctrine in the region of the prevalent spread of the Sunni madhhab. In general, in the 1990s, Iranian influence was limited to a certain expansion to local markets of Iranian goods (in scale not comparable to the expansion of Chinese or even Turkish) [4]. Another success of Iranian policy in the region can be considered the creation of a network of cultural centers that involved a certain circle of cultural figures and part of the population in its sphere of influence.

Since the beginning of the 1990s, Iran's actions have seen a desire to form a common Islamic space in the Central Asian region. However, due to the demands of time and circumstances, he changed his direction towards economic and cultural cooperation with the spread of Islamic influence against the background of the intensification of the Islamization of the population (especially youth) and the increasing role of Islam in the public and political life of the society of the Central Asian states.

Iran is the center of the Shiite branch of Islam and ideology, 89% of the population is Shiite, Sunni - about 9%. Shiizm in Iran is the state religion. According to available historical data, Shiites have always sought to create a theocratic state. In this regard, Iran is the ideal of the state system of Shi'ism.
It is much easier for Iran to establish religious contacts with Tajikistan, where the bulk of the inhabitants of the Gorno-Badakhshan region belongs to the Ismaili branch of Shiism and where the Islamic Party of Tajikistan, which has a political weight in the country, officially operates. This party actively participates in the political process, has two seats in the parliament, promotes social programs and advocates for the strengthening of the role of Islam in society. More than half of the members of the party are women. The Islamic factor becomes political. At this time, the religious situation in Tajikistan is very complex, the development of a radical ideology is very high due to the prevailing socio-political situation in the country. According to official data, 99% of the population of the country professes Islam [5].

Official Islam in Kazakhstan is based on the Sunni sense of the Hanafi madhhab, more than 75% of the country's population professes it, 2 228 mosques are registered. Islam as a religion does not have a significant impact on the political processes in the country.

The development of Islam is under the strict control of the state, any independent religious trends are pursued. To counter various radical currents, the government of Kazakhstan is working to improve the Islamic education system, training and takes tougher measures against supporters of radical Islam. However, the violent methods used by the power structures and the unfavorable socio-economic situation in the republic increase the supporters of radical Islam.
In the historical geography of Iran, this region has always occupied a considerable place: Central Asia and Iran are literally permeated with mutual cultural ties. The theme of cultural ties, as will be shown below, appears regularly in Iran's foreign policy concepts in connection with Central Asia and in this sense defines an important aspect of Iranian diplomacy. After 1991, one can observe how Iran constantly tries to use cultural and historical community as the basis for developing relations and, possibly, spreading its influence in Central Asia. This became especially noticeable during the presidency of M. Khatami (1997-2005). Then Iran's foreign policy, most likely, made a significant "turn to the culture": the publication of the "Dialogue of Civilizations" Khatami identified one of the key elements of Iranian public diplomacy. And although M. Ahmadinejad in foreign policy returned to the old revolutionary rhetoric, the emphasis on culture in relations with the states of the region has not disappeared, and "in the field", Iran in fact did not cease its cultural initiatives at that time. This was particularly noticeable in the attempts of the Islamic Republic to expand relations with the related people of Tajikistan and, to a lesser extent, Afghanistan. Literature: ThefactorofIslaminIran'srelationswiththeCentralAsiancountries [6].

Cultural activity in Kazakhstan was traditionally enjoyed by Iran as a low priority - the main field of relations between the two countries was not culture, but cooperation in the oil and gas sector (in this area, the parties achieved some, however, modest successes), and from time to time and contradictions due to disagreements On the legal regime of the Caspian Sea. The first memorandum on cultural cooperation with Kazakhstan was signed in 1996, and since then, the JISC has annually held weeks of cultural Iran in Kazakhstan, presenting Iranian films, works of art and research. In addition, since 2001 the Center has published books and journals in Kazakh, Farsi and Russian, primarily relating to Iranian culture, historical ties between Iran and Central Asia, and the teaching of Farsi. . The leader of the OICS M. Araki visited Kazakhstan with visits in April 2005 and August 2006 - the last visit was an integral part of his regional tour, aimed at expanding Iranian cultural activities in Central Asia. During this tour, he stressed the need to sign a communiqué on the development of cultural ties. Later, the JIU acted as the coordinator of the organization and holding of the exhibition of Iranian culture in Astana at the end of 2006, and in 2007 during the state visit of the President of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev to Iran, the ministries of culture of the two countries signed memorandums on expanding cooperation in the field of cultural tourism and admission of Kazakhstani scientists To the Iranian archival information [7]. Efforts to develop cultural ties, although modest in scope, were also reciprocal. The main site of cultural ties was the Iranian city of Gorgan, in part because of the fact that there is a significant Kazakh diaspora there. In Gorgan a Kazakh cultural center was created, and in 2009 the government of Kazakhstan opened a consulate in the city. In Tehran, the Iran-Kazakhstan Friendship Society is also operating, organized in 2010. This organization defines itself as a "non-governmental, non-political, non-profit" association whose goal is to strengthen ties between the two countries in a number of areas. The company is led, in the main, by representatives of Iranian business and academic circles. In December 2013, it organized a conference dedicated to Iran-Kazakhstan cultural and civilizational relations [8].

Thus, the religious situation in Central Asia is not a factor in the development of Iran's relations with the countries of the region. At the same time, Tehran's regional ideological interest, connected with the spread of Islamic influence through economic and cultural cooperation, remains topical.


1. Tokonalieva R. http://www.easttime.ru/analytics/iran/faktor-islama-v-otnosheniyakh-irana-s-tsentralnoaziatskimi-stranami/5622 (date of the appeal: 09.02.2010).

2. Iran: geostrategy and geopolitics // URL: http://www.wprr.ru/archives/1917 (date of the appeal: 09.02.2010).

3. Brzezinski Z. Game Plane: A Geostrategic Framework for the Conduct of the U.S. Soviet Contest. -Boston, N.Y., 1986, 288 p.

4. Stobdan P. Central Asia in Geo-Political Transition. - Research Fellow, IDSA http://www.idsa-india.org/an-apr8-8.html (date of the appeal: 09.02.2010).

5. Tajikistan leads in Central Asia in terms of the number of officially registered mosques. // URL: http://www.islamsng.com/tjk/news/6026 (date of appeal: 09.02.2010).

6. Absatar Haji Derbisali. Secularism and Islam in the Republic of Kazakhstan: joint activities aimed at peacemaking and humanism // Secularism and Islam in the modern state: what unites them? "Round table". Almaty, November 30, 2007 / Otv. Ed. BK Sultanov. - Almaty: KISI under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 2008.

7. Edward E. Ustnij E. The external cultural policy of Iran in Central Asia: a demonstration of political pragmatism // http://www.academia.edu/10296184/%D0%92%D0%9D%D0%95%D0%A8%D0% 9D% (date of circulation: 01/05/2017).

8. Iran, Kazakhstan Stress Expansion of Cultural Ties / Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), April 7, 2005. website of OICS (Almaty) http://fa.almaty.icro.ir/index.aspx?siteid=203&pageid=26814 ] (In Farsi). (Date of circulation: 02/05/2017).

Ж. Женис

Заведующий отдела иранистики факультета востоковедения КазНУ имени аль-Фараби.

М. Атик Султан аль-Кувайти

Магистрант 1 курса факультета востоковедения КазНУ имени аль-Фараби.



Статья посвящена духовных и культурных отношении Ирана со странами Центральной Азии. По мнению автора, политика распространение шиизма в этом регионе не только ухудшает политическую обстановку в этих странах, но и усложняет отношения Ирана со странами Центральной Азии. По этой причине Иран активно развивает политику только культурном направлении, исходя культурно-исторических традиции.

Kлючевые слова: Иран, Центральная Азия, Казахстан, ислам, культура, история, сотрудничества, экономика, политика.

Ж. Жеңіс

әл-Фараби атындағы ҚазҰУ шығыстану факультетінің ирантану бөлімінің меңгерушісі

М. Атик Султан аль-Кувайти

әл-Фараби атындағы ҚазҰУ шығыстану факультетінің 1 курс магистранты



Мақалада Иранның Орталық Азия елдерімен мәдени және рухани қарым-қатынастары айтылады. Автордың пікірінше, аймақта шиизмді тарату идеясы бұл жердегі жағдайды тек қиындатып қоймайды, Иранның осы аймақ елдерімен қарым-қатынасын қиындатады. Осы себептен де Иран қарым-қатынасты тек тарихи мәдени тамырлардан нәр алатын мәдени бағытта ғана дамытып отыр.

Кілт сөздер: Иран, Орталық Азия, Қазақстан, ислам, мәдениет, тарих, ынтымақтастық, экономика, саясат.

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