Why Swiss President’s Iran Visit Is Important?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Abdolreza Farajirad
Professor of Geopolitics & Iran's Former Ambassador to Norway and Hungary

Switzerland is a small country at the center of Europe, but enjoys high importance. Its political and international role, its economy and advanced banking system, and the special type of democracy, which has delegated the highest power to cantons allowing people to play an important and very effective role in the decision-making process, are all examples for many governments and people in other countries.

The fact that the country is situated on the Alps Mountains with deep valleys, and the incessant effort made by Swiss people to create a global and developed country under such tough geographical conditions are all indicative of the perseverance and determination of its people as well as good management on the part of Swiss statesmen. Without a doubt, the important role that Swiss people and their representatives in cantons play with regard to energizing the incessant development of their country cannot be ignored.

Within the international political system, Switzerland has done its best to remain constantly impartial. For this reason and despite being a neighbor to Germany, it proclaimed impartiality during World War II, thus saving its land and people from destruction and massacre. The country has even avoided membership in international and regional organizations lest it may have to take special positions against certain countries. It was only during recent years that through a vote by Swiss people, the country became a member of the United Nations.

Most people of the country do not even like Switzerland to become a member of the European Union and have solely accepted to implement rules of the Schengen area. Despite all these political, economic and international specifications, it would be perhaps both interesting and amazing to know that Switzerland was among the last European countries to give its women the right to vote. However, during the past few decades in which Swiss women have been able to uplift their status in the political society of their country, they have attained high managerial posts even as high as presidency.

Due to the aforesaid political approach that Switzerland has taken in its foreign relations, one can claim that since the outset of its establishment, the Islamic Republic of Iran has had the least problems with Switzerland among European countries. If there were any political and security problems between Tehran and Bern, they tried to settle it on the basis of the two countries’ national interests, away from propaganda hype and not influenced by other powers. Even when Iran has political problems with other countries, Switzerland has been always a pioneer in accepting responsibility to act as interests section of those countries. Under the former Iranian administration, when almost all European countries had imposed some sort of political isolation on Iran and diplomatic exchanges had been reduced to a minimum, Switzerland tried to have dialogue with Iran in certain fields.

From an economic viewpoint, Switzerland enjoys high capacity and can invest in various economic sectors of Iran, especially in small and medium industries, which can create many jobs in the country. Despite its small size, Switzerland has one of the longest railroad networks and has made great progress in this regard. Due to great steps that must be taken in this regard in our country, Iran can take advantage of this capacity. Meanwhile, one of the major weaknesses of Iran is related to banking management, which in cooperation with Switzerland, new plans can be implemented, especially with regard to improving management of private banks.

If our banking system progressed and managed to obtain trust of international banking system, it could be of effective use to development of the country’s economy. Despite the fact that Switzerland is a small country and the number of its universities are quite few, but these few universities are of high scientific importance in the world. As a result, academic cooperation between the two countries’ universities and even establishment of joint universities and research centers in permitted areas can help boost the quality of scientific education in our country, which has badly suffered in the past decade. Last but not least, Switzerland can help Iran with membership in many international organizations, including the World Trade Organization, which can facilitate Iran's entry into global economic arena and provide the country with necessary opportunities and advantages. All told, the recent visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Swiss president should be taken as a good omen.

Key WordsSwiss President, Iran, Visit, Switzerland, Political System, Foreign Relations, European Countries, Economic Sectors, Banking Management, World Trade Organization, Bern, Farajirad

Translated By: Iran Review.Org

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Photo Credit: Reuters

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