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Islamic Republic of Iran’s Diplomacy

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Islamic Republic of Iran’s Diplomacy: Foreign Policy, Energy, Nuclear

Author: Jahanbakhsh Izadi
University of Tehran Political Science Faculty Member and Events Director at Tehran International Studies & Research Institute (TISRI)

Hardcover: 236 Pages
Publisher: Tehran International Studies & Research Institute (TISRI)
Publication Date: November 2010
Language: Persian
ISBN: 978-964-526-127-4

Subjects: Nuclear Energy, Iran, State Policy, Foreign Relations, Iran-Politics and Government

Review:

The present book has been arranged in three chapters entitled “Islamic Republic of Iran’s Diplomacy and Foreign Policy,” “About Iran’s Energy Diplomacy,” and “About Iran’s Nuclear Diplomacy.” It is a compilation of three independent articles on various aspects of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s diplomacy which have been written under different circumstances over about a decade. The present text is not only a critical review of issues related to foreign policy and diplomacy of Iran, but also believes that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy can be analyzed and criticized from various angles, including decision-making, non-optimal use of foreign policy and diplomatic tools, and methodology used to define foreign policies. Therefore, after going over concepts and various periods of Iran’s foreign policy, it will focus on pathology of foreign policy and the whole diplomatic apparatus by considering structural and organizational standards as well as relevant policies and strategies.

After a review of key concepts of diplomacy and foreign policy in the first chapter, including the concepts of diplomacy, foreign policy, ideology, national interests, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, various junctures of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy have been expounded from viewpoints of political conduct as well as major events and developments. Then, a discussion has been made of pathology of Iran’s foreign policy in those junctures. Major components of Iran’s diplomacy, including decision-making and official and non-official factors influencing Iran’s foreign policy apparatus have been analyzed. Meanwhile, mention has been made of changes in diplomacy and modern diplomacy before a discussion of Iran’s foreign policy tools in various diplomatic, economic, legal, cultural, publicity and military spheres. Finally, methodological and strategic critiques have been provided independently. The most important methodological problem has been lack of consensus on the Iranian civilization as a variable. Given new approaches taken by Iran’s foreign policy, the absence of consensus has worsened confusion in theorization, so that, all stages of setting foreign policy, including recognition, formulation, decision and execution seem to lack logical coherence. As for strategic spheres, the problem with making foreign policies persist, especially due to lack of association between rationality and power, dissociation between ideas and actions, absence of strategic modeling, and absence of strategic prioritization. The author maintains that pathologic critiques in this article do not aim to repudiate the activities and measures taken by Iran’s foreign policy apparatus.

The second chapter is about Iran’s energy diplomacy. First, diplomacy and energy are defined before review of several important topics such as ongoing energy trends, energy carriers in Iran, comparative energy diplomacy and, finally, pathology of energy diplomacy. The main goal of the article is to answer the question as what specifications should the Iranian energy diplomacy enjoy in order to help better realization of national interests and promote the country’s overall status as per 20-Year Vision Plan? The writer maintains that oil and gas industries should reflect their needs to diplomatic institutions which in turn, should pursue to meet those needs in competition with regional and international rivals. Therefore, the chapter focuses on global energy trends as well as energy carriers in Iran like oil, gas, coal, hydropower, solar energy, geothermal energy, and the nuclear energy. It then compares Iran’s energy diplomacy to those of the United States, Russia, China, India, Europe, Central Asia and Caucasus before offering recommendations.

The third chapter studies background of Iran’s nuclear program both before and after the Islamic Revolution. The milestone of Iran’s nuclear activities before the revolution was cooperation from the west in providing nuclear facilities to Iran. After the revolution, however, the same program has resulted in many charges leveled against Iran followed by anti-Iranian resolutions adopted by the Board of Governors of International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Security Council in addition to various political and international pressures such as economic, financial and banking sanctions.

The second section of the third chapter, which is entitled “concepts and channels related to the nuclear diplomacy,” focuses on such themes and processes which are closely related to the nuclear issue both technically and from political and legal viewpoints. Concepts reviewed here include safeguards, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Additional Protocol, Board of Governors, Security Council, Supreme National Security Council, 5+1, Director General of IAEA, and the nuclear fuel cycle. The third section of the chapter deals with confrontational aspects of the nuclear diplomacy under general title of “discourse environment governing nuclear negotiations.” It explains the west’s presumptions and double standards in the face of Iran’s persistence on its nuclear rights. The fourth section of this chapter provides a chronology of Iran’s main nuclear approach in addition to the influence of national, regional and international actions and reactions. It argues that EU3 diplomacy, modality, diplomatic packages and nuclear swap diplomacy are all results of conditions governing diplomatic activities around Iran’s nuclear program. In addition to careful discussion, the above sections also briefly assess related challenges and the degree of success achieved.

The last part of the book is about “pathology of Iran’s nuclear diplomacy” which embodies the main incentive behind writing the book. It aims to provide a logical ground free from political tendencies for the assessment and analysis of Iran’s nuclear diplomacy, its achievements and failures and to clear the way for scientific exploration of the subject. The writer maintains that in comparison to other countries’ nuclear diplomacies, Iran’s nuclear diplomacy is unique. Therefore, it cannot pursue other countries’ models in an absolute manner. A more important conclusion is that Iran’s nuclear program is past the point of no return and such schemes as suspension or total halt of nuclear activities, establishment of a consortium, and shutting down Iran’s nuclear plants will not get anywhere. Therefore, Iran’s diplomatic path is a bumpy one and the country should continue to tread it. However, continuation of the nuclear diplomacy will not be rational without providing a roadmap within framework of predetermined goals of the country. It needs innovations which may expand or contract in number in the course of time. Of course, the main path leading to the final goal will be not lost. Therefore, strategies have been provided and underlined in the light of the above facts, experiences gained through Iran’s nuclear diplomacy, and pathological understanding of this issue.

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