Comparing Iran’s Power Components with Southwest Asian Countries

Monday, October 25, 2010

Author: Dr. Seyyed Hadi Zarghani

Active ImagePublisher: Tehran International Studies and Research Institute (TISRI), 2009
Language: Persian

According to Iran’s 20-Year Vision Plan, which is the country’s most important national document after the Constitution, Iran should be a developed country by 2025 ranking the first in economic, scientific, and technological terms in Southwest Asia while being a source of inspiration, an active and effective player in the Muslim world, and influential on the Islamic and regional convergence on the basis of Imam Khomeini’s teachings and ideas. Accurate scientific assessment of the extent to which this document is implemented in practice and correct recognition of deviations is quite necessary. Therefore, it seems that evaluation of the document by various methods and in different periods of time is a good way to assess success or failure of concerned organizations and institutions in implementing the Plan.

Assessing various components of countries’ power is a model used for such evaluation. The present book aims to compare economic, political, military, territorial, scientific, social, cultural, transnational, and spatial components of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s national power with other countries in Southwest Asia.

Since the goal of this study is to assess implementation of the 20-Year Vision Plan during the first three years after its inception to measure the degree of progress toward its goals, it has first focused on comparing Iran’s situation at the beginning of the 20-Year Vision Plan in comparison with the aforesaid countries. Then, a comparative study has been carried out between Iran’s rating in those areas with the other countries after delineating the power structure in the region.

The book has been, therefore, divided in twelve chapters to compare nine categories of variables affecting a country’s national power. The first chapter discusses general outlines of the research as well as its theoretical basis and methodology. Here, thirteen stages in devising a national power measurement model have been explored. According to this model, the national power will be measured in terms of nine categories of quantitative scientific, economic, social, territorial, cultural, political-governmental, transnational, spatial, and military factors.

In the second chapter, the national power of countries has been compared on the basis of eleven variables, including area in kilometers, access to free waters, per capita domestic renewable fresh water resources, production and food index, roads network, environmental sustainability index, total railroads in kilometers, potential oil resources, strategic mines, number of international ports and airports, and quantity of hydropower generation from 2005 to 2007. Iran has consistently ranked the second after Kazakhstan throughout those years.

Chapter Three reviews economic factors influencing the national power on the basis of eleven variables, including gross domestic product (GDP), share of GDP in gross global product, per capita gross national income (GNI), attraction of foreign direct investment (FDI), growth rate of gross domestic production, share of industrial products from total exports, the volume of international financial reserves in dollars, country’s rating in terms of economic liberalization, negative trade balance, share of foodstuff imports from total imports, and unemployment rate. In terms of such factors, Iran has consistently ranked the second after Turkey in the aforesaid years.

“Rating Countries with Respect to Social Factor” is subject of Chapter IV. The rating has been based on eleven variables, including population, human development index, life expectancy, gender equality, educational equality, percentage of young population, number of physicians per 100,000 people, per capita health spending, maternal mortality rate per 100,000 live births, under five-year-old infant mortality rate per 100,000 childbirths, proportion of population without access to healthy water, and proportion of population with access to necessary healthcare facilities. In terms of these factors, Iran has ranked the fourth in 2005 after Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Armenia; and has ranked the fifth in 2006 after the above countries and Kuwait. In 2007, however, Iran has ranked the fourth again.

The fifth chapter rates countries on the basis of scientific and technological factors. Here, twelve variables have been taken into account, which include the number of researchers in R&D sector, number of technicians in R&D sector, digital access index, number of registered inventions, number of scientific papers, research and development expenses, average number of papers cited in ISI, number of nanotechnology papers cited in ISI, the number of scientific magazine cited in ISI, total volume of high-tech exports, share of industry in gross national product, and nuclear power generation. During the aforesaid years, Iran has consistently ranked the third in terms of such variables after Israel and Turkey, though it seems that Iran is progressing more rapidly than Turkey and will soon overtake that country.

The sixth chapter takes ten indexes as basis for rating countries. They include number of ancient sites, number of television sets, newspaper reading rate, number of personal computers, a country’s historical background or the time spent since the establishment of the first government there, educational expenditure, illiteracy rate, and number of news agencies. Iran has ranked the third after Turkey in those years.The seventh chapter is about assessing national power on the basis of political-governmental factor. Here, Iran, Turkey, and Israel topped the list with slight differences. Iran, Israel, and Turkey ranked first to third in 2005 while in 2006 and 2007, the first to third ranks went to Turkey, Iran, and Israel, respectively. The rating was based on such variables as number of coups d’état, countries’ rating in terms of political and civil freedoms, racial homogeneity, state commitments (membership in environmental treaties), freedom of the press, membership in six main human rights conventions, state efficiency index, corruption index, election of rulers through people’s votes, and situation of immigrants in view of the country of origin.

Chapter eight rates countries on the basis of transnational factors such as the number of trade partners, population born overseas, number of foreign phone calls, permanent membership at the UN Security Council, temporary membership at the Security Council, membership in international organizations and conventions, number of Olympics medals won, number of incoming tourists, as well as number of outgoing flights and passengers. Based on these variables, Iran has ranked the third after Turkey and Saudi Arabia in 2005 and 2006, but has been overtaken by Kazakhstan in 2007 to rank the fourth.

Countries have been rated according to number of their operating satellites, number of military satellites, and number of communication or research satellite in the ninth chapter of the book which compares countries on the basis of spatial factors. Iran has consistently ranked the fifth every year after Israel, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Turkey.

Chapter Ten is about rating countries on the basis of their military capabilities. Eight variables have been taken into consideration, including number of warplanes, proportion of the Armed Forces personnel to total population, military expenditure, military expenditure as a fraction of gross domestic product, arms exports, number of Air Force and Navy personnel, and number of assault vessels (such as submarines). Iran has consistently ranked the third after Turkey and Pakistan.

Chapter Eleven rates countries on the basis of national power as measured in terms of the abovementioned variables in the three-year period spanning from 2005 to 2007. Iran’s national power has ranked the second after Turkey considering nine categories of variables.

Chapter Twelve, which concludes the book, is specific to analysis of data. It has expounded power structure or geopolitical structure in Southwest Asia before focusing on individual standings of countries situated in that region. On the whole, Turkey, Iran, and Israel stand out in the region. Another part of this chapter discusses changing position of Iran in terms of the abovementioned nine categories of variables to delineate reasons behind changes in Iran’s position in terms of transnational, political-governmental, and social variables in the aforesaid three-year period.

Table of Contents:

Executive Summary
Chapter I: General Outlines of the Research
Chapter II: Rating Countries with Respect to Territorial Factor
Chapter III: Rating Countries with Respect to Economic Factor
Chapter IV: Rating Countries with Respect to Social Factor
Chapter V: Rating Countries with Respect to Scientific and Technological Factor
Chapter VI: Rating Countries with Respect to Cultural factor
Chapter VII: Rating Countries with Respect to Political-Governmental factor
Chapter VIII: Rating Countries with Respect to Transnational factor
Chapter IX: Rating Countries with Respect to Spatial factor
Chapter X: Rating Countries with Respect to Military factor
Chapter XI: Rating Countries on the Basis of National power
Chapter XII: Data Analysis
Appendices: Methods used to calculate country ratings with respect to various factors

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