Regional convergence in Eurasia has been evolving since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Commonwealth of Independent States was Russia's initial attempt to forge a comprehensive regional integration. However, Russia gradually shifted its focus to economics, and this produced the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). This organization has concluded numerous cooperation agreements, even with countries outside the borders of Eurasia, raising questions about regional convergence. In addition, with the expansion of China's influence in Central Asia, there has been a shift in the role and scope of the EEU. Iran has concluded a preferential trade agreement with the EEU, including non-tariff measures and a list of commodities for which barriers have been reduced or cut to zero. The main question of this study is how Iran's presence in this organization will influence Eurasian convergence. We examine the opportunities for, and obstacles to, convergence through an analysis of the forces that can bind an institution like the EEU: cultural and ideological affinities; the hegemony of the most powerful actors; and the potential for solving common problems.
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