Iran and International Organizations in 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Behzad Khoshandam
Ph.D. in International Relations & Expert on International Issues

International organizations and institutions have enjoyed a high status in Iranian foreign policy’s multilateral and regionalism approaches during the past 130 years. In the year 2015, relationship between Iran and international institutions and organizations moved in the direction of relative and step by step improvement.

The relative interaction between Iran and international organizations in 2015 was mostly due to Iran’s interactive, innovative, and constructivist approaches taken by Iran’s diplomatic apparatus to fighting against terrorism, fundamentalism, nonproliferation regime, environmental issues, and global security building.

Relations between Iran and a number of international and regional organizations moved toward improvement in 2015.

The first group of such organizations included important international bodies like the United Nations (UN) and its affiliated organs such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, which was directly involved in the implementation of Iran’s nuclear deal and resolution of the so-called PMD issue on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the UN. Meanwhile, the speech addressed to the 70th annual session of the UN General Assembly by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and his participation in the UN summit on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were complete crystallization of Iran’s foreign policy approaches in this regard.

Adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 in 2015 put an end to biased and unjust approach, which was followed by the Security Council toward Iran for about a decade.

In the meantime, adoption of the Security Council Resolution 2235 for the establishment of a fact-finding group to probe the use of chemical weapons in Syria on august 7, 2015, and the Security Council Resolution 2249, which introduced the situation of Daesh in Syria as a threat to global order, were both in line with Iran’s foreign policy approaches and goals.

Granting an award to an Iranian scientist by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in 2015 was a great success by an Iranian citizen in line with the global goal of achieving a world free from chemical weapons.

However, despite Iran’s serious cooperation with other specialized organs affiliated to the United States, such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Bank, the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), some other UN organs, including the Human Rights Council took anti-Iran positions by adopting resolutions through the United Nations General Assembly's Human Rights Committee in late 2015, which were passed as a result of purposive instigation by Saudi Arabia and such countries as Canada.

The second group of international organizations were such important bodies as the European Union (EU) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), whose relations with Iran became more interactive. Iran’s relations with EU have been moving toward improvement as a result of positive developments in Iran’s nuclear case and the expectant removal of UN Security Council sanctions against the Islamic Republic in line with the Iran deal. The first phase of this process will be removal of sanctions that were imposed on Iran by European institutions on July 26, 2010.

As a result, political, trade, economic and technological interactions between Iran and the European Union greatly increased in 2015 as evidenced by the heavy traffic of European ministers, leaders of European industrial, technological and development sectors, as well as such high-ranking EU officials as the speaker of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, who paid visits to Tehran. In addition, necessary grounds were provided in late 2015 for official visits to European countries by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, though the visits were later postponed for a while as a result of terrorist attacks in the French capital, Paris, on November 13.

The Iranian president’s participation in the SCO summit followed by the BRICS meeting in the Russian city of Ufa in which Rouhani pursued Iran’s full membership in this organization, were among major points brought up by the Iranian president during Ufa meeting. The year 2015, was also the last year in which Iran will chair the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). From 2012 to 2015, NAM was among major tools of Iran’s foreign policy.

The third group of international organizations in which Iran was actively present, included international energy institutions. In the run-up to Iran’s powerful return to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to reclaim its share in regulating global oil market, the country also successfully held the third summit meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Tehran. Extension of Iran’s term as secretary general of GECF in addition to participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin and heads of state from a number of top gas exporting countries in Tehran summit were among major achievements of Iran in its effort to gain a share in global management and energy security, which was admired by world politicians and public opinion.

Iran’s relations with NATO in 2015 were a function of mutual approaches, strategies and policies of the two sides. During this year, Iran’s regional and global influence was frequently recognized by NATO.

In 2015, Iran’s relations with some international organizations, including the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council [(P)GCC], and the Arab League, were a function of identity-related and behavioral factors that determined foreign policy approaches of these key actors in the past years and decades. The ongoing crises in Syria and Yemen were major reasons why these institutions decided to deal with Iran in this way.

Iran’s diplomatic participation in such institutions as the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the International Chamber of Commerce were indicative of the role that Iran plays in parliamentary, monetary, financial, trade and economic fields as well as in relation to international nongovernmental organizations.

In 2015, Iran’s relations with international and regional organizations underwent a u-turn in favor of Iran’s national interests. Iran was among major actors, which played a positive part with regard to goals and performance of international organizations in 2015. The year 2015 was the beginning of a new era of rising, active and constructive partnership as well as change in Iran’s image in international institutions and organizations. The year 2015 was also a time for orientation of Iranian elites toward effective activity and participation in international institutions and organizations on the basis of eclecticism and global standards.

Key Words: Iran, International Organizations, 2015, Iranian Foreign Policy, Regionalism, United Nations, International Atomic Energy Agency, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council [(P)GCC], Arab League, Non-Aligned Movement, Constructive Partnership, Global Standards, Khoshandam

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*Photo Credit: Real Iran