The Iran Deal and the Choice of Reconciliatory Strategic Necessity

Thursday, July 16, 2015

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

Conclusion of the Iran deal after 13 years of crisis on July 14, 2015, has been a turning point in the achievements of global diplomacy in all aspects of diplomatic activities including bilateral, multilateral, media, public, soft, track two, and so forth, in the second decade of the 3rd millennium. Iran deal is a step forward in promoting the role of the Iranian civilization in global management and putting an end to the concept of the “axis of evil.” Iran deal, which came about in the context of other important international developments such as the improvement in Cuba-US ties and détente in US-Vietnam relations in 2015, can be reflected upon from various viewpoints.

The constructive role of the P5+1 group at the beginning of the third millennium in the course of achieving the Iran deal is reminiscent of the progress in international system toward peaceful resolution of such international issues as the concert of big powers in the 19th century. This achievement is an eventful keepsake of the world order, which has been suffering from major catastrophes in the 20th and 21st centuries, including the experiences of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the Vietnam War, the Korea War, the Iran-Iraq War, the coalition war on Iraq (1991), the terrorist incident of September 11, 2001, the war on Afghanistan (2001), the Iraq war (2003), and the Libya war (2011), as well as the crises in Syria, Iraq, and Ukraine which have been ongoing since 2014, in addition to destructive emergence of Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other extremist groups in the arena of international interactions.

Efforts made to resolve this global crisis over the past 13 years had led to heated debates among experts about international cooperation, as well as requirements and choices related to the realities of Iran's strategic influence. The war in Afghanistan in 2001 was the result of an international excitement. Richard Haass explained the philosophy of the June 2003 war on Iraq as stemming from the “war of choice.” International interactions aimed at management of the Arab Spring have been also mostly based on the management of choices. The coalition operation carried out by the NATO in Libya in 2011 can be also considered as a result of international complexities. The 2014 crisis in relations between Ukraine and Russia was also a major strategic development at international level, which has been considered as a prelude to a new era of Cold War.

It was based on the experiences gained in the past 15 years that the system of the concert of big powers achieved the rationality to resolve Iran's nuclear issue with due attention to lessons it had learnt from past errors, through accumulative rationality, and on the basis of the continuous achievements of the global diplomacy. Based on the same experiences and achievements, the clinching of the Iran deal at this historical moment can be considered as a choice arising from reconciliatory strategic necessity to achieve strategic stability in international system. This claim, however, needs to be elucidated through the following explanations and highlights:

  • Opting for the choice of reconciliatory strategic necessity over Iran's deal has been an international strategic development and not simply a short- and medium-term tactical move.
  • The common denominator among driving forces in the concert of big powers to achieve the Iran deal has been common national interests of its members, which tried to overcome a sense of insecurity from Iran in the light of new international threats such as the emergence of destructive extremist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda.
  • Role of domestic structures and discourses and motivations resulting from a political determination that is inclined toward cooperation with justice seeking discourses at global level will increase the output of collective human life and boost the role of national civil societies at international level.
  • Diplomatic support for such stabilizing anchors as Iran within regional security complexes will energize the achievement of a collective security system as the most important goal pursued by international community in the past 70 years.
  • As put by Hans Morgenthau, as the founder of modern international politics, governments are rulers of, not slaves to, the public opinion. Therefore, modern state members of the P5+1 group, as representatives of the world’s public opinion in the process of reaching agreement with Iran, have been mouthpieces of international and their own national public opinions as well.
  • The Iran deal will be very effective in promoting stabilization and configuration of coalitions and alliances in the periphery of Iran, including in such regions as the Middle East, Southwest Asia, Caucasus, Central Asia, South Asia, and the Persian Gulf.
  • The Iran deal will also have strong impact on Iran's cooperation and coopetition with important international bodies, including the UN Security Council, the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council [(P)GCC], the European Union, NATO, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), in addition to  such important players as the United States, China, Russia, France, the UK, Arab states, Israel, and Turkey. It will also have extraordinary impact on major regional trends and groups including the resistance axis, emancipation, Islamism, recognition of an independent Palestinian state, promoting regionalism and fighting extremism and Salafism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, violence, and proxy wars in the Middle East.
  • It is not hard to predict that a “win-win deal in Vienna” will have a sustainable effect on the interactions among members of the concert of big powers in addition to regional actors.

In the light of the Iran deal, the country will accept a new responsibility to address the concerns of international community. As a result, strategic influence of the Iranian civilization on international and regional interactions, as well as the peaceful goals of this international actor will all turn into a new force at the service of common human expediencies.

The timing and content of the agreement has been chosen in line with the philosophy of “the choice based on strategic reconciliation,” which aims to achieve the higher goal of establishing strategic stability at international and regional levels. The experience of reaching a deal on the basis of the Iranian model of “constructive interaction” will lead to revision of the effectiveness of such strategies as sanctions, threat, and the recourse to force on the basis of the US intentions for the resolution of issues in world politics.

The Iran deal has been a great test for the development of diplomacy institution in the past three centuries. The 19th century, as a golden era of diplomacy, was a century in which covert diplomacy was dominant. The 20th century was a testing ground for open and multilateral diplomacy. On the basis of the nature, partners, effects, productivity and consequences of the Iran deal, one can claim that the 21st century will open a new chapter in diplomacy institution and soft power based on what Henry Kissinger describes as Iranian shrewd diplomacy. As a result, Iran's shrewd diplomacy will last in the history of global diplomacy and will be cited at the top of sources to be used for the exercise of global diplomacy by 2115.

Key Words: Iran Deal, Choice, Reconciliatory Strategic Necessity, Global Diplomacy, Diplomacy Institution, Soft Power, Strategic Influence, Iranian Civilization, Concert of Big Powers, Regional Actors, Extremism,  ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Strategic Stability, Khoshandam

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*Photo Credit: Fars News