Our country was faced with many developments-- both in domestic and foreign issues-- during the past year. If we intend to have a realistic look at the developments in the foreign policy of our country, we should classify the domestic and foreign issues which have affected Iran’s foreign policy:
Access of the Islamic Republic of Iran to nuclear technologies and energy is a positive point which should be considered. Despite many problems our country faced during recent years due to sanctions, this access has allowed Iran to enter a club of important countries, which by itself is of great importance. But on the other hand, bad economic conditions has been the negative point of this issue, to the extent that the government did not succeed in executing the economic programs foreseen in the Vision 1404 Document. This unfavorable economic situation has led to a high inflation rate and a lack of foreign investment in the country, and unemployment and important economic indices are indicative of these problems which unfortunately our people suffer from today.
The rift which was created between Russia and the US during the past year, and which manifested itself publicly in the Syrian crisis, was an issue that can be considered a positive development for Iran, because under these conditions this rift has given Iran more room to breathe. Another important event that occurred last year was the Islamic Awakening in the Arab World. This development had positive points which affected the foreign policy of Iran. Revolutions that occurred in Islamic countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and Bahrain could help Iran, with its high capacities, to exit the present situation.
But we must obviously not ignore the negative developments that have happened in our foreign policies. The most important issue in this regard was the vast economic sanctions imposed against our country. Unfortunately, when the UN Security Council passed resolutions against Iran, Iranian officials ignored them and called them “simple pieces of paper”, while today the same resolutions have prepared the ground for expanded sanctions against our country leading to economic problems for Iran.
Now is not the time to find the root causes of these sanctions. But we should act more wisely with regard to them and prevent their increase, for they will certainly have negative effects. Even if Iran’s relations with other countries in the international community improve, removing these sanctions does not seem easy.
We must consider the sanctions as an important and serious matter, and their probable expansion within the following year could cause more serious problems for Iran’s economy. Under such conditions, the important existing potential is the cooperation of the people with the government to solve these problems. We witnessed this cooperation in the recent elections. The Iranian people, despite all these economic problems, once again showed their support, for they feel that their presence in the scene can insure their country’s health. Participation in these elections does not mean a problem-free society; rather, the biggest demand of the people of Iran from their representatives in the parliament is to seriously work towards solving the economic problems of their country. To save itself from these sanctions, Iran needs to have good relations with other countries in the international community. The present situation with regard to Iran’s relations with European and American countries is quite clear; however, Iran should not allow the good existing relations with Arab and Persian Gulf countries to be damaged.
Another issue for which Iran’s foreign policy can receive a negative point, beside the sanctions, is the deterioration of Iran’s good relations with Arab countries. This is not in the interest of the country. This issue must be carefully studied to find the reasons behind it. And then the officials in charge of Iran’s foreign policy must find ways to resume their good relations with our neighboring countries.
I assume that if Iran does not seek to resume its good relations with our neighboring countries, it will suffer from the impact. This is not pleasant for a country that is not seeking conflict, and has high energy capacity. Hence, it is hoped that the government will be able to wisely remove the problems and take Iran back to the position which it deserves.
In summary, the Islamic Republic of Iran must try to prevent the expansion of sanctions, resume its good relations with Arab countries, and use the rift between Russia and the US to reach its goals. Iran’s foreign policy must make great efforts to use its internal and external capacities to gradually solve its problems.