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Iran and EU Improving Ties to Boost Mutual Cooperation

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini
Media Advisor to Iran's Foreign Minister

One year ago, Iran's Foreign Minister Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif was delivering a speech at the Islamic Consultative Assembly seeking a vote of confidence from its deputies to become the new foreign minister of Iran. Addressing the parliamentarians he said, “By creating opportunities and reducing threats, we will be able to increase our friends in the region and the world, and by believing in our ability, we will be capable of convincing other actors in the scene of [international] foreign policy to have fair relations based on mutual cooperation with Iran.”

Today, one may admit that relations between Iran and the European Union have experienced rapid and progressive changes during the past year. Such developments are both important and necessary in the first stage, but they should be accompanied with more practical steps in later stages in order to bring about a real turning point in the history of political relations between the two sides.

After frequent trips to the Islamic Republic of Iran by foreign ministers of various member states of the European Union during last February and March, a new round of diplomatic exchanges has begun between officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran and their counterparts from the European countries.

During past days, Iran's foreign minister has paid visits to three European countries of Belgium, Luxembourg, and Italy. Before those trips, his counterpart from Finland was in Tehran. During the coming days and weeks, more European foreign ministers are scheduled to visit Iran.

During the past year, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been trying to build confidence with the European Union both in the area of nuclear negotiations and with regard to relations with the member states of the Union. At the same time, the Iranian administration has been trying to protect the rightful rights of the Iranian nation.

It is an undeniable reality that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been presenting to major players at global and regional levels the fundamental characteristics of its foreign relations model during the past three decades. In doing so, Iran has been also showing the world that the model it pursues in foreign relations is based on three main principles of dignity, wisdom, and expediency. The characteristics that Iran has chosen for its foreign policy are among the most strategic indices that can be used by major political players in the region and the world when choosing their strategic partners.

Those characteristics, which have frequently drawn attention from the entire world in many political, economic and other fields, include commitment to obligations and even to political promises, steadfastness and avoiding double standards in foreign policy matters, supporting Iran's regional and international allies, and taking advantage of all possibilities and facilities to implement agreements that have been reached with various foreign partners.

If these principled indexes are evaluated within framework of the constructive interaction approach taken by the eleventh Iranian administration, they will be able to provide regional and international players, including the European countries, with a host of opportunities to engage in cooperation and constructive interaction with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

This policy, as adopted by the Islamic Republic in addition to other prominent features of the Islamic Iran, has prevented foreign policy decision-makers and policymakers from ignoring the clear and shiny realities of the Islamic Republic. Those prominent features include the establishment of religious democracy; strong national solidarity and unity; widespread presence of people in political decision-making process the latest example of which was creation of a new political epic by Iranian people through their huge turnout in the 11th presidential polls in June 2003; as well as existence of young and specialized manpower; vast territory; rich energy resources; huge mineral reserves, and safe and inexpensive transit routes.

There are other advantages that make the Islamic Republic of Iran an important partner for the member states of the European Union, including:

1. A big market with a population of over 70 million;

2. Iran's geographical propinquity to such strategic regions as the Persian Gulf, West Asia, Caucasus, and Central Asia;

3. High index of security, which has made the country an anchor of political and security stability (actually an island of stability) in a crisis-ridden region which is suffering from runaway spread of terrorism and extremism as major threats to the entire world;

4. High political and spiritual influence in Islamic countries, especially in neighboring states;

5. Iran's very high capacity to influence regional equations;

6. The Islamic Republic’s capability for the management of regional issues, including fighting illicit drugs as well as fighting terrorism, extremism, and violence; and finally

7. Iran's capacity, as a major producer of energy, for diversification of energy resources that member states of the European Union need.

Perhaps, attention to the aforesaid facts has convinced the European countries to launch a new effort to improve their relations with Iran in various fields. A major example of that effort has been the elevation of the diplomatic level at which official delegations have been exchanged between the two sides, which has been recently promoted to the level of foreign ministers.

There are a number of important points that should be taken into consideration by European countries for the achievement of any kind of success in this regard. First of all, they should make a realistic and meticulous review of their past erroneous policies toward Iran. Secondly, they should pluck up enough courage to take proactive steps beyond the usual frameworks that have been determined on the basis of the United States’ unilateral policies toward Iran.

In this way, potential capacities that exist for the expansion of relations between the two sides can be activated and opportunities will appear in the light of which the two sides may be able to witness major developments such as:

1. Taking more steps toward facilitation of bilateral relations in various economic, political, cultural, trade and other fields in order to protect and meet the two side’s mutual interests;

2. Increasing cooperation for the establishment of security and stability in crisis-stricken countries of the region, especially Syria and Iraq;

3. Bolstering bilateral cooperation in fighting terrorism and extremism whose threat is rapidly spreading to all parts of the world, including Europe; and

4. Making efforts to promote the deplorable and abnormal situation of human rights across the world through explicit, logical and purposive dialogue.

Key Words: Iran, EU, Mutual Cooperation, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Political Relations, Political and Security Stability, Terrorism, Extremism, Violence, Human Rights, Hosseini

More By Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini:

*Negotiation Strategy: A Legitimate Mechanism to Boost International Cooperation: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Negotiation-Strategy-A-Legitimate-Mechanism-to-Boost-International-Cooperation.htm

*Quality of Economic Sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran: A Review: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Iran_Spectrum/Quality-of-Economic-Sanctions-against-the-Islamic-Republic-of-Iran-A-Review.htm

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