BalkanInsight: “Bosnia and Iran Vow Joint Struggle Against Extremists”

Senior Bosnian and Iranian officials said they had found common ground in the struggle against violent Islamic extremism while also vowing to boost trade between the two countries.

Eleanor Rose, BIRN, Sarajevo

Denis Hadzovic, secretary general of Sarajevo’s Center for Security Studies, said it remained to be seen what a new commitment between Bosnia and Iran to fight extremism would look like.

However, he said the promise could be connected to a general deepening of diplomatic ties and economic cooperation, and possibly to the trade in oil.

He also said that Bosnia’s main partner against extremism is still the US-backed “global coalition” to counter ISIS, which Sarajevo joined in November 2014.

Since then, partly thanks to a new law in Bosnia penalising foreign fighters, the number of citizens traveling to fight for ISIS in the Middle East has steadily fallen.

However, Hadzovic said there was still potential for useful cooperation with Iran, given its strategic importance in the Middle East and its hostility to ISIS.

“I’m not sure how Bosnia can contribute to Iran, but, with better information exchange and cooperation of the intelligence agencies, it would be possible to bolster the fight against terrorism,” he said.–10-25-2016