Iran Foreign Policy
According to neovideogames, Iran is a founding member of the United Nations and OPEC. He is a member of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation. In September 2016, Iran has a cooperation agreement with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) closed. Iran also has observer status with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (however, the application for full membership was rejected).
Notwithstanding this, the country has been comparatively isolated internationally since the revolution of 1978/79. Diplomatic relations with the USA have been suspended since 1980, and relations with Germany and the European Union are still strained regardless of the latest developments. While the situation began to ease under Khatami’s presidency for the first time in decades, it worsened again noticeably under his successor Ahmadinejad as the dispute over the Iranian nuclear program intensified. Since Hasan Rouhani took office, however, the Iranian side has been clearly interested in relaxation, both verbally and in fact.
For over ten years now, Iran has been trying to improve its relationship with its neighbors, which has often been historically burdened. The ultimate goal, however, is still to firmly establish Iran as the supreme power in the region, a project that continues to be viewed critically, especially in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Persian Gulf. Since the fall of Saddam Hosein, Iran has above all improved its relationship with Iraq. The large Shiite majority in the southern Iraqi oil provinces are both a means and an end. Since the government of the Shiite Nuri al-Maliki, who lived in Iran in the 1980’s and fought on Iran’s side in the war, relations have become significantly closer. This also applies to his Shiite successor, Haidar al-Ibadiand Adil Abd al-Mahdi and especially during the years when the Iraqi government was under heavy pressure from the Sunni Islamic State. The relationship with many other Arab – and Sunni – neighbors has clearly deteriorated again in recent times, with many of the developments in this regard being due to the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran for supremacy in the Gulf region and also to the respective relationship with the USA plays a crucial role.
Beyond the region, Iran is primarily seeking rapprochement with the Asian states, above all China. The People’s Republic with its strong economy is said to be the main buyer of Iranian raw materials. The two countries also work together in the areas of politics and the military. Russia has regularly exported armaments to Iran in recent years and is also helping to set up a civilian nuclear program.
Although both Russia and China voted in the United Nations Security Council in June 2010 to expand sanctions against Iran and in the same year Russia renounced an arms deal that had been agreed for two years, both countries have been Iran’s strategic partners for years, especially in the Commodity business.
Iran and America
Theoretically, the Iranian relationship with America is clear: After the long years of political alliance under Mohammad Reza Shah, the USA has been the “Great Satan” since the Islamic Revolution; there have been no official diplomatic contacts since Tehran was taken hostage between 1979 and 1981. Switzerland has represented American interests in Iran since 1980.
In practical terms, the situation is far more difficult. The main concern of the Islamic Republic is system stability. If this seems to be served by increased conflicts with America, the Islamic Republic does not shy away from the conflict. In the past few decades, this has mostly taken the form of proxy wars and attacks, such as the attack on the US embassy in Beirut in 1983 or American support for Iraq in the first Gulf War. If, on the other hand, Iran found it more expedient to cooperate tacitly with the US, ideological rifts were and are not an obstacle. This has recently been particularly evident in Iraq, where both parties must have realized relatively quickly that lasting pacification of the country would hardly be possible without the other.
Another problem the Islamic Republic has in dealing with America is that the American way of life continues to enjoy great popularity among parts of the Iranian population. American-inspired fast food restaurants have been part of the cityscape for years, especially in northern Tehran. Since many Iranians have relatives in the US, anti-American slogans don’t catch on as well in Iran as in other Islamic countries.
Iran and Israel
Iran was one of the first states to recognize Israel’s independence in 1948. Although this was withdrawn under Prime Minister Mosaddeq, diplomatic and economic contacts remained close until 1979.
Since 1979 “Little Satan” has been the enemy of the Islamic Republic in the Middle East. Iran’s representatives only speak of the “Zionist regime” because they do not recognize Israel as a state. Any form of contact is strictly forbidden and sanctioned. The Iranian judo world champion Arasch Miresmaili left the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens because he did not want to (or should not want to) compete against an Israeli in the first round. On the other hand, the Iranian Football Association excluded the captain of the national team and his deputy in 2017 because they played against an Israeli team with their Greek club. The last time an Iranian judoka should take part in the 2019 World Cup in Tokyo be prevented from running against an Israeli.
In addition, Iranian foreign policy in the region is decisively directed against Israel. The Shiites in Lebanon, where Iran has supported the Shiite Hezbollah for many years, serve as a central instrument of this policy. This should be able to put pressure on Israel at any time. Therefore, the Iranian engagement in Syria, in addition to and through securing the Assad regime, also serves the purpose of maintaining Iranian access to Hezbollah. Iranian support is not limited to Shiite organizations, however; in the Palestinian territories, for example, the Sunni Hamas also benefits of her. In addition, Iran is keen to maintain Israel’s political isolation in the region. Accordingly, Iranian authorities severely criticized the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates in August 2020.
Last but not least, anti-Israeli propaganda is an important part of the Iranian state ideology. On the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan, for example, “Jerusalem Day” is celebrated in Tehran, where the fight against Israel is an integral part of the celebrations. This appeal is also an integral part of the Friday sermon at Tehran University, which is usually given by Ayatollah Khamenei himself. Under Ahmadinejad’s presidency, the tone became even rougher, as he never missed an opportunity to call for the end of Israel and the Holocaust to question or to deny completely. In this context, his Holocaust conference in Tehran in December 2006 caused a stir. A second cartoon competition took place in 2016.