Dina Esfandiary is a CSSS Fellow in the War Studies department at King’s College London, and a non-resident Adjunct Fellow in the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ (CSIS) Middle East Programme in Washington DC.
To everyone's surprise, it was announced on Monday that Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop intends to travel to Tehran in April 2015. The visit isn't about the nuclear negotiations with Iran. After all, while Australia would rather not see Iran go nuclear, it isn't exactly a foreign policy priority for Australia.
The trip will instead be about guaranteeing Australia a place in the running should the large Iranian market open up after a nuclear deal.
Iran's partners of choice are the US and Europe.
That statement may be hard to believe, given how much 'death to America' we've heard out of Tehran, but it's true. The new government in Iran wants improved relations with the West, but that trajectory is dependent on the success of the nuclear negotiations, resuming in Vienna today. If there is no deal and the thaw in relations is reversed, then Iran will be pushed into the arms of other all-too-willing partners like China and Russia.