How tense relations between Iran, US affect Georgia?
15 May, 2019
How tense relations between Iran, US affect Georgia?
Amid rising tensions between the US and Iran experts and analysts predict negative effects on the Middle East. But there is one country that will not be less affected by confrontation between the two sides. This country is Georgia, state that has long historic ties with Iran (For centuries Iran had hostile relations with Georgia, but nowadays Georgia is in touristy list of Iranians).

So how can probable conflict affect Georgia and stability in
the country?

Georgian expert and fellow at the Rondeli Foundation Zurab Batiashvili says, that tensions, even without military confrontation, have already affected Georgia. “First of all, number of tourists have decreased, trade declines and this is a direct effect. There are indirect effects as well – due to stricter sanctions Ankara cannot trade with Tehran as they used to and Turkish Lira has devalued. There are other problems concerning Turkey that added pressure on the Turkish currency”.

He says that economic ties between Georgia and Turkey are so close that economic situation there has its influence on Georgia. “Turkey is number one trade partner for Georgia, tens of thousands of Georgians work there. Devalued Lira has affected Georgian currency – Lari (GEL).”

“Negative influence will become more visible in the coming months when seasonal works start in Turkey in nuts and tea plantations where thousands of Georgians get employed.

They are paid in Liras. Subsequently, their salary will be smaller and smaller amounts of money will be sent back to Georgia.

More of threats may come if tensions further escalate between Iran and the US.

There are threats that 2,5 million Afghan refugees may be allowed to seek shelter abroad. This may transform into serious humanitarian catastrophe. Of course, we cannot exclude possibility that Iranians themselves and others may also seek shelter abroad if tensions further escalate.”

Zurab Batiashvili doubts that Georgia can face these challenges taking into account other problems inside the country. “I think Georgia cannot face such large scale problem alone”.

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