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Iran: From Hardware to Software Security: The West Should Be Tested

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mehrdad Pahlevani
Asia Analyst

Production and provision of security is the most primary and the most basic measure that any country should take in order to survive and grow. To achieve this important goal, there are two software and hardware models of national security. While the hardware model of national security gives priority to boosting military power, paying exuberant costs, having a securitized environment, creating doubt and negative attitudes among neighboring countries, preferring viewpoints of the military over economists and politicians, and dominance of security exchanges over economic relations, the software model of national security puts more emphasis on the following: economic might, importance of thinking and innovation and creativity, economic progress, increasing gross national product, elevating welfare level, economic rivalry on regional level, balancing economic power with production of security, boosting scientific level, production of applied sciences, dynamism of domestic environment, production of security at the lowest cost and with the highest achievements and so on. While the software model of national security is heavily reliant on economic interaction with the neighboring countries and interaction with international financial system in order to boost security, the hardware model is self-sustained and it is difficult to predict its use in the future.

Some people mistakenly believe that Iran is pursuing a hardware model of national security while the contemporary history as well as the orientation of regional and international environment toward Iran show that the country has been forced to choose this model of national security because:

1. Following the Islamic Revolution, in terms of domestic conditions, assassination of military and nonmilitary officials and personalities by the Mojahedeen Khalq Organization (known as Monafeqin in Iran) or foreign governments led to the establishment of very harsh and securitized conditions, which continued in recent years by the assassination of Iran's nuclear scientists. The number of assassination martyrs in Iran has been reported at over 17,000. Now, the Monafeqin group is freely present in European countries and the United States and is free to hold speeches, conferences and gatherings. State support for Monafeqin is not limited to such issues as granting asylum, but they are provided with material support as well.

2. In regional terms, the intellectual and ideological challenge is not the sole factor behind disputes between Iran and its neighbors, but this is the smallest piece of a puzzle, which is bolstered by other factors. One of the main factors is supplying Iran's neighboring countries with the most advanced weapons, which as a result of avarice and greed of weapons production companies, have plagued the region with the escalation of insecurity. The type of weapons delivered to some neighboring countries of Iran leave no room for doubt that they are meant to confront Iran. On the other hand, as admitted by the Western officials, emergence of such extremist groups as the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Daesh, which are present in east and west of Iran, is the result of measures taken by and ambitions of the West. During the eight-year Iraqi war against Iran, many regional countries supported Baghdad.

3. On international level, sanctions and economic isolation imposed on Iran have deprived the country of grounds for promoting software security. Illusionary claims about attacking Iran or nuclear and military and infrastructural installations of Iran have been raised time and time again. For many years, Israel has not decreased its rhetoric against Iran and no government or international institution with true operational capacity has seriously opposed plans to attack Iran. Even the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929, which was issued under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, convinced countries to threaten and even use force against Iran.

The above instances show that Iran's hardware approach to national security has been constantly aimed at maintaining territorial integrity of the country and heading off foreign threats. In other words, defensive aspect of this approach has overweighed its offensive aspects. Unfortunately, Iran's defensive and deterrent measures have been usually interpreted as “offensive” by other political actors.

New approach: The West should be tested

Following its success in the field of diplomacy and getting Iran out of the Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations through the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, the new Iranian administration has been seriously trying to go beyond a hardware model for providing national security and implement a software model of national security by taking a pragmatic approach and through correct understanding of realities. In doing so, the new Iranian administration has taken major steps, which include: bolstering various aspects of domestic economy and economic cooperation with partners, avoiding costs of hardware security, presenting plans for regional dialogue with the member states of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council [(P)GCC], creating balance between economic and military activities, making an effort to activate and speed up the country’s potential economic capabilities and so forth.

In the meantime, those issues that are related to participation of the West in this practical and effective project include:

- The West must first institutionalize the change in its Iran approach first within research institutions and then in decision-making and executive sectors, and try to benefit from this joint project through suitable planning. In the meantime, giving in to pressure from those governments that are against this trend will be harmful.

- The decision by political institutions in the West must have a tangible effect on their positions as well as the policy that they pursue through their international media. The West can also encourage Iran’s neighboring countries to cooperate with the Islamic Republic.

- The West must make a final decision about what to do with the Monafeqin as one of those groups, which are still active against Iran, and have turned into a lobby for anti-Iran warmongers. Taking the first step by limiting activities of such groups and cutting financial aid to them can be a minimum signal sent by the West for the purpose of encouraging constructive cooperation with Iran. Some anti-Iran groups that are present in the West are even against the Western democracy and only pursue the idea of restoring monarchial rule to Iran.

- The West should not prefer the short-term profit of selling arms to Iran’s neighbors over the long-term benefit of establishment of security in the Middle East. Security in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf regions is equal to energy security for the entire world. Insecurity in the Middle East, on the other hand, will make the world pay hefty costs. For example, the military attack by Iraq on Kuwait, threatened security of energy and increased price of energy.

- Serious economic cooperation of the West with Tehran will be tantamount to an “executive guarantee” for the follow-up and implementation of software model of national security by Tehran. This issue will also strengthen the middle class in Iran.

- Economic cooperation of the West with Tehran will not be limited to economic issues, but in the course of close cooperation and interaction, the West will be able to gain more and better understanding of Tehran’s main intentions and orientation.

Key Words: Iran, Hardware Security, Software Security, West, Taliban, al-Qaeda, Daesh, International Level, Regional Terms, Territorial Integrity, Defensive Measures, UN Security Council, Anti-Iran Groups, Economic Cooperation, Middle East, Persian Gulf, Energy Security, Pahlevani

More By Mehrdad Pahlevani:

*Iran's Nuclear Deal with P5+1: Facts and Mythical Analyses: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Iran-s-Nuclear-Deal-with-P5-1-Facts-and-Mythical-Analyses.htm

*Smart Power, Iran's New Brand: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Smart-Power-Iran-s-New-Brand.htm

*Iran's Capacities for Creating Security and Stability in Asia: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Iran-s-Capacities-for-Creating-Security-and-Stability-in-Asia.htm

*Photo Credit: Shana.ir

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