Iran and the United Nations Security Council in 2015

Saturday, January 23, 2016

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

Concurrent with the 70th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) in 2015, a positive, constructive and remarkable paradigm shift took place in the UN Security Council’s approaches to Iran compared to the past 10 years.

In 2015, the interaction between Iran and the UN Security Council (UNSC), like early years after the establishment of the UN in 1945, was based on well-wishing, not destructive, expectations of Iranians from this third emerging force of the 20th century for the management of global affairs on the basis of “purposive interactionism.” On the other hand, the UNSC’s approach to Iran in 2015 was based on the traditional model of “profit seeking approach of big powers.”

In a continuous way, the critical view of Iran about the role, position and performance of international organizations, big powers, and the Security Council with regard to developing and independent countries has been constantly a focus of emphasis in Iran's foreign policy during the past four decades.

Despite Iran's critical view of the UNSC, Tehran in 2015, like Tehran in 1945, did not believe in total negation of this central center of global power, but tried on the basis of a constructivist model to manage its interaction with this international body in order to maximize realization of its national interests.

Out of about 60 resolutions adopted by the UNSC in 2015, a great number of them as well as the Security Council’s statements during this year were related to trends, interactions and security spheres of interest to Iran. Nuclear and missile issues as well as Iran's defense activities in addition to the Middle East peace, removal of Iran sanctions, Iran's regional influence, the global refugee crisis and developments taking place in the periphery of Iran's borders were among major issues related to Iran, which were brought up in agendas, negotiations, and documents of the Security Council in 2015.

Just in the same way that resolutions 2, 3, and 5 of the Security Council in 1946 and concurrent with the start of the Cold War were related to the Iranian question and began a new trend in international interactions of this country, the beginning of the removal of discriminatory, unfair and double-standard approaches of the United Nations Security Council in 2015 following the Iran deal was the sign of an effort by world powers with veto right to review their interactions with Iran.

The Security Council Resolution 2231 (July 20, 2015), which was one of the most important, most unprecedented and most prominent resolutions of this council, contained important messages for the management of the world and the Middle East region, for peaceful use of the nuclear energy, and for the control and nonproliferation regime of weapons of mass destruction. The Security Council resolution 2231, once more in the history of Iran's relations with the United Nations Security Council, paved the way for the creation of conditions of peaceful coexistence in relations between these two important international actors and provided grounds for the revocation of past resolutions of the council with regard to Iran, including unfair resolutions 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008), 1835 (2008), 1887 (2009), 1929 (2010) ,1984 (2011), and 2224 (2015). In addition to Iran's nuclear issue, Iran's attitude toward the UNSC in 2015 was also affected by the Security Council’s performance with respect to global crises, fighting against global terrorism, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Palestine, Libya, the activities of Daesh, and the conflict between viewpoints of the Western front and Russia following the Ukraine crisis and in relation to matters of dispute with regard to management of global issues.

Of special importance was the Security Council’s attitude and viewpoint on future of Syria, whose high sensitivity was shown through official invitation extended to Iran by major powers of the Security Council to take part in three important meetings on Syria, namely, the Vienna 1, the Vienna 2, and the New York meetings. All these measures were finally materialized in the Security Council resolutions 2253 (December 17, 2015), and 2254 (December 18, 2015), which were followed by Iran in later months of 2015.

Iran's concerns, as one of the important Islamic countries, which demands redistribution of power and revision of the veto right within the Security Council and emphasizes the need for serious reforms in performance and actions of this international institution in management of global peace and security as well as human security, were other points highlighted by Tehran in 2015 and were among Iran's major expectations from the UN and among its concerns with respect to the UNSC.

The Iran issue, as one of the most important issues on the agenda of the UNSC in 2015 was in line with “profit seeking approach of big powers” and was also related to a regional power. Iran's purposive interactionism with the UNSC in 2015 can give birth to important medium-term and long-term security building trends within the regional order in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

The relationship between Iran and the UNSC in 2015 as a global model can be studied in depth and in a multifaceted manner within framework of global politics on the basis of the profit seeking approach of big powers in the face of a regional power through the past seven decades. Iran's most basic demand of the UNSC beyond 2015 is to be given the room to play its role within a balanced Security Council free from influence of a single country. Tehran also expects the UNSC to use Iran as a regional actor with a constructive and current-building role, not just as an issue on the agenda of the council.

Key WordsIran, United Nations Security Council, 2015, Paradigm Shift, Security Council Resolution 2231, Middle East, Syria, Major Expectations, Global Model, Khoshandam

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*Photo Credit: Wikimedia/Basil D Soufi

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