Iran's Constructive Foreign Policy under the 20-Year Vision Plan

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dr. Mahmoud Vaezi

Foreign Policy Department/ I.R. Iran's Foreign Policy Studies Group

In 2002, Iran's Expediency Council approved the 20-Year Vision Plan to promote the position of the Islamic Republic of Iran in national, regional and international levels in which Iran becomes a developed country in twenty years, with the first economic, scientific and technical stand in the region. In this document, the strategy of constructive interaction has been emphasized as a polestar for the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy. One of the most important measures necessary for the realization of the 20-Year Vision Plan, is compiling and providing the requirements of this document, which opens the way to making it executive and administrative. Concerning foreign relations, we need to redefine the parts of our foreign policy-- those that are based on the three principles of glory, wisdom and expediency and can provide an infrastructure for meeting the goals of the 20-Year Vision Plan document.

The present article investigates the necessity of providing internal conditions; the development of the country is dependent upon providing suitable international conditions through interactional and constructive orientation., The development of a country depends on the creation of an environment without any tension in foreign relations and profitable global facilities like high technology and international financial facilities as much as possible as well as a foreign policy that is based on constructive interaction with the world, as it is in The 20-Year Vision Plan document. This document can provide suitable environment by making balanced relations without any tension and moving toward creating trust, security and peace, so that foreign investment and new technologies may develop the country.

The 20-Year Vision Plan has considered and emphasized twenty-year goals for developing countries and focuses on the economic dimension of the first scientific, economic and technical stand in the region. In order to meet the ends of the program, it must equip national and international forces. In this part, the basic issue is the requirements for achieving this goal. One of these requirements is a constructive and integrative foreign policy. This foreign policy has the following characteristics:

1. Progress in development tops its priorities.

2. It follows up production and maintenance of stability in the security zone of the country.

3. It gives special priority to the expansion and deepening of relations with a greater number of countries and international organs that are somehow in the route of meeting the ends of the program.

4. It avoids seriously entering disputes and crisis as long as they aren’t related to its vital profits.

As a country that makes developmental progress its main goal in the next twenty years, Iran needs a constructive foreign policy to make the required infrastructure for the country’s development in its light. In this route, in the first instance, progress of development should be treated as one of the main priorities in both the words and attitude of foreign policy, in a way that they often aren’t.

Giving priority to development in the foreign policy of Iran is important and necessary in two respects: one of them is that foreign policy is the country’s connection to the international scene and if this connection is defective, the progress of development in the present global condition isn’t possible.

The other point is that like any other developing country, Iran needs international sources (economic and political) for development progress and it can gain these sources if its relation with the world, especially with the focuses of wealth and power, not only isn’t treated as an opposing and hostile one, but also is guided in the route of mutual trust and reliability.

Creating and maintaining stability in security zone another indication of constructive foreign policy that regards troubled security zone in regions and neighboring countries, as having special importance and priority. On one hand, Iran is connected with the Middle East, which is the most troubled region of the world, and on the other side it is in the neighborhood of Afghanistan and Pakistan that have a great potential in rolling in the gulf of instability. Being in such an unquiet security zone makes wide negative consequences from a developmental progress point of view, because there is a direct relation between the possibility of progressing development and the stability of a country’s security zone. Hence, it is suitable for Iran to try to provide and maintain stability in its security zone as much as its equipments necessitate, and put it in the first rows of foreign policy priorities to deduce to the least the damages caused by this environment on the trend of development of the country and achieving the focal end of The 20-Year Vision Plan document.

Moreover, since progressing development is possible in the context of the world and in the light of a broader connection with international scene, constructive foreign policy should assume expansion and the deepening of relations with more countries and international organs as its other special priority and execute it. This will cause enhancement of sub structural and economic foundations of the system and is in the route of achieving The 20-Year Vision Plan’s goals.

The last characteristic of constructive foreign policy is its stance against crises and international disputes. Since intelligent and non-propagandistic diplomacy is one of the basic elements of constructive foreign policy and progress of development highly requires policy in international disputes, in a way that Iran isn’t to be on one side of conflict, the Iran with a constructive foreign policy should avoid seriously entering into international disputes as long as it’s not related to its vital profits. It’s obvious that crises that threaten strategic environment of Iran are out of this rule and on This foreign policy, whose characteristics were revealed recently, is the requisite of speeding up the movement of Iran in the route of reaching the focal goal of The 20-Year Vision Plan, which means changing Iran into a developed country with the first scientific, economic and technical stand in the region. Naturally the country’s economic development, in a more clear and expanded way, depends on the constructive foreign policy, because in addition to internal arrangements, in foreign dimensions on one hand, it needs high technology and science and on the other hand it needs investment that most of these two requirements should be provided through international sources. Since in Macro economic interactions that have strategic importance for countries, policy or in a more clear word category and class of counties’ relations with each other and the position of a government in international society plays the main role, adopting constructive foreign policy plays an incomparable role in development of the country. Realizing constructive foreign policy needs special attention given to the following objects:

1. Proportion of ideals with facilities and possibilities: In order to become successful in foreign policy arena, obligatorily ideals should be considered according environmental and structural facilities and possibilities.

2. Choosing appropriate discourse in expressing and following up the ideals and ideas: Language should always be used as an expression of ideas and ideals and shouldn’t change into a fence for it.

3. Escape from being special: Although every live creature is unique by nature, but emphasizing more than enough on being special and unique can bring arrogance. Moreover, this can cause other countries to react negatively or at least involve them in doubt and unreliability.

4. Paying attention to common law and international norms: In new global conditions, the definition that countries present about themselves shouldn’t be in challenge with predominant norms.

5. Following up the goals through collective satisfaction and making collection: In the new circumstances, countries don’t achieve noticeable success in foreign policy through individual measures.

6. Emphasizing on bargain culture in pursuing national ends: In spite of some rigidities, the present international system has a high capacity for bargaining and settlement of problems through negotiation and discussion.

7. Cooperation in making and guiding regional processes: seeing as how regional procedures are shaped and developed in proportion with regional needs, resigning participation in these procedures results in national interest being ignored.

8. Making effort to remove security image: In light of new circumstances, countries that are assumed to be a threat or that don’t divulge an appealing security image, can’t make any progress towards their ends.

9. The necessity of interaction with the world economy for the realization of development: Since, in the new world, realization of development in national levels through constructive interaction with the world economy is easier and quicker, every government that has adopted development as a necessity and an end in its foreign policy, should make a constructive and active interaction with elements of global economy.

10. Changing the relations of the country with international focus of power shifting from hostility and opposition to cooperation and competition: Surly, this matter isn’t tantamount to unquestionable acceptance of claims and ends of world powers in face of the country, but it’s focused on quality of management and on selecting game rules in proportion with defined and appointed goals in the twenty-year perspective.

11. Necessity of avoiding oppositional and hostile attitude: Adopting hostile attitude toward global trends and procedures at present condition not only doesn’t cause their change and transition, but also the country that takes on these attitudes will be isolated or rejected in the world equations.

12. Necessity of paying attention to cultural-civilizational areas: Countries with cultural-civilizational areas have a possibility of regional interaction and global impressiveness more than countries lacking these areas.

13. Presenting a collective definition of itself in the international arena: Every country needs the cooperation and participation of international society in order to achieve its national goals. The requisite of making this cooperation is presenting collective definition or in a better word presenting an image of itself as a part of the global framework.

14. Optimum, wise and efficient utilization of literature and language in foreign policy: Utilizing language and literature in foreign policy is the vital prerequisite in presenting pleasant image to international environment in order to be able to achieve national goals in its radiance.

15. The first regional stand in scientific, economic and technical areas, index of mental and behavioral organization in foreign policy.

What is understood and perceived from the 20-Year Vision Plan is focus of economic, scientific and technologic elements in the combination of pleasant power elements of Islamic Republic of Iran. This decision has noticeable effects on the behavior of foreign policy on one hand and on making an effort and using some other elements of power on the other. This matter hasn’t been tantamount to leaving and marginalizing other elements of power but the country has run to this fundamental decision that other elements of power will be able to grow and flourish when before everything, economic, technical and scientific areas have suitable and appropriate capabilities.


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