International Peace Studies Centre - IPSC

The Mechanisms of Organizing Peace and Balance in the Persian Gulf Region



Zohreh Poustinchi

University of Tehran and IPSC, Iran




            Regional security is a function of stability and balance of power. When it comes to regional balance, normative constructs and indicators are of particular importance.  As might be expected, countries capable of preparing and maintaining grounding understructures and suitable conditions for creating regional peace and stability, can achieve a broader range of regional and international security building capacity and influence.

            One of the main approaches that the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has put into practice to build lasting regional security structure in the Persian Gulf area, are a series of actions and steps towards achieving functional regional peace and stability. These include engaging in participatory security building to fulfill part of IRI’s broader plan for regional stability. In addition, creative measures and organized initiatives are undertaken in the sphere of strategy to fulfill some other aspects of this broader regional plan.

            Countries who are emerging powers as well as actors who retain regional and international effective power and influence have greater opportunities of employing more stable patterns of foreign policy. For emerging countries, this rising power will make susceptible conditions necessary for regional balance more available. In most cases, there are always regional actors who display signs of effective attempts to go through a process of balancing equilibrium.

            The WikiLeaks disclosure of United States’ confidential embassy cables and correspondences was highly revealing about the regional standing of IRI in relation to other countries. The leaked documents gave ground-breaking insight into the worrying concerns and hostile opposition of regional countries towards IRI. In such circumstances, the possibility of achieving regional stability and balance is not very practicable. Of course, in the process of regional security building, indicators revealing such hostile attitudes are the inevitable reality of international politics. As such this paper argues that achieving regional balance in such polarized overly antagonistic political climate requires strategic adaptability and calculated flexibility in the realm of foreign policy.


Regional Balance, Conflict Resolution, Conciliation, Balanced Security, Strategic Flexibility, Stabilization, Balancing, Equilibrium.


            Political units, always try to seek and coordinate collaborative cooperation. This is a reflection of political units’ need for peace and security. There are different approaches on how to achieve peace and security. Idealists argue that this can be carried out through development and expansion of regional and international institutions. Realists are convinced that regional security is a function of the strategic balance of power. This article, in an attempt to theoretically address the problem of coordinating and organizing regional peace and balance, brings together the realist and idealist frameworks of analysis in international relations (IR).

            In the global world system at the present period, the relations between countries as well as the emerging nongovernmental actors in many countries has reached a level of complexity that one cannot even compare such network of relational configuration with only a few decades earlier. Similarly, this web of relations has further complicated the notion of national security and as such factors contributing to national security have also gained much significance in this time and age. Actions, reactions, and greater competitions among countries are now involving multiplicities of aspects. In the twenty-first century, maintaining national interest and strategic objectives is not possible for any political unit without having balanced relations and more stable patterns of strategic conduct while interrelating with other countries (Jamshidi, 1386 SH/2008: 64).

      National security as the required measures taken by a country during times of crisis, against hostile threats and in challenging conditions, can be defined as sets of strategies, programs, and activities adopted by the decision-makers of that country in anticipation of similar arrangement by other countries or international institutions. This reciprocal circumspection will make grounding provisions for national security goals of each country. Thus, national security is considered a process that includes all national objectives of each country as it relates to specific goals and the foreign components of those goals. Achieving ideal national security can enable countries to accomplish desired strategic security outcomes.

            Since pursuing reversibility in foreign policy processes involves widespread security risks and increased limitations for political units; therefore, Iran’s national security necessities and strategic goals will be achievable in circumstances that decision makers and political leaders are able to deploy the country’s capacity and potential capability. In such circumstances, manifestations of change and continuity are formed parallel to each other constructing the basis for systematic regulation and normalization of Iran’s national security. Those countries whose patterns of relations and political conduct are based on consistent continuity are more likely to establish and secure their strategic interests (Ehteshami and Mahjoob Zweiri, 2007: 144).

            Accomplishing this consistent pursuit of strategic national interests is feasible when political units are able to go after necessary initiatives and find creative solution to bypass threats by means of interactionism. This pattern of interactionism can become the grounds for accomplishing cooperation and partnership in the regional sphere. In other words, any political process that contributes to stabilization, balance, and constructive engagement and interaction within the realm of foreign policy conduct, will create more promising opportunities favoring national interests. This paper will attempt to analyze those approaches adopted by IRI in the realm of foreign policy that move beyond working towards reversibility of measures taken. We argue that such approaches aim to promote national security and strategic interests of IRI in international politics.

            IRI arranges models of promotion of national security and national interests based on various strategic and practical approaches. This article comprises a study of signs within the framework of IRI’s foreign policy which bring about the necessary groundings for endorsement of interactionist patterns of conduct and normalization of the regional-international interaction. Thus, in examination of such processes and signs, we employ a “normative methodology” as this paper’s theoretical framework of analysis (Baheli, 2005: 22).

            Arrangements for organizing peace and balance in the Persian Gulf region is possible when the sources and root causes of regional instability, fragility, lack of security, war, despondency, and pessimism are examined. For this, one can consider and cross-examine the past experiences of regional countries’ foreign policy practices. On the other hand, even in such a volatile region as the littoral areas of the Persian Gulf, countries will seek to make peace only at a time that the costs of  war is greater than its potential benefits for parties involved. Generally speaking, in the littoral area of the Persian Gulf, regional wars have historically been immensely destructive. It is therefore safe to assume that in case of future occurrence wars in this region will amount to dreadful social costs, loss of life, infrastructural destruction, and wrecking of strategic interests of neighboring countries.

            In turbulent circumstances, various countries’ pattern of behavior operates by way of those interests and goals that can allow for interactionist models to deal with, organize, and decide on the limiting conditions that the national and regional security encounters. In order to establish regional balance and peace, the normative/ideational methodology in an interactionist foreign policy provides optimizing strategies based on capabilities and limitations of the domestic structure in relation to the broader relational configuration of the regional and international spheres of action.

1 – The Dynamic Balance of Security Based on Capacity Building and Structural Reforms

            Capacity building can be the first step towards improving the political state, economic conditions, and strategic interests of countries. Capacity building here, refers to supportive measures that make good use of opportunities and existing circumstances to promote and generate means of peaceful economic and social development in the regional sphere (Djerejian, 2007: 15). Political actors and agents cannot play their desired political role or exert influence within regional and international spheres of activity, without considering the corresponding structural components. Any advances made in the political situation of countries in the Persian Gulf region, will promote, improve, and create grounds for multilateral cooperation. The history of Iran’s foreign policy experiences is consistent with this pattern. Historically in Iran, in times of conflict resolution, conciliation, and peace the economic capacities of the country improves and this further boosts economic growth.

            Ratification of Iran’s 20-Year Vision Plan by the Expediency Council in 2002 that set the guidelines for a twenty-year perspective of furthering socio-economic developments is considered an effective step towards sustainable economic growth and promotion of strategic cooperation with other countries. On the other hand, for the implementation of the ratified document a series of preliminary steps should be taken for the establishment of appropriate conditions. To achieve the proposed guidelines of this vision plan Iran should develop the country’s capacity, reinforce the culture of development, and construct susceptible grounds for institutional transformations. Therefore, within the frameworks of this 20-Year Vision Plan, one can examine, analyze, and critically address the foundations of the strategic behavior of Iran.

            Capacity building in the sphere of economy and strategy calls for the use of constructive indicators and models in arenas foreign policy. The twenty-year plan for economic growth and development, in perspective, provides the blueprint of creating proper groundings for realization of capacity building domestically and in the arena of foreign policy. This vision plan emphasizes conduct in accordance to national security objectives of Iran. Therefore, executive institutions and governmental/public organizations are required to coordinate and create the necessary foundations for national capacity building by means of structural reforms (Keddie, 2003: 83).

            Capacity building takes place at different levels. The first requirement of effective capacity building is the necessity of improving the country’s capabilities is areas of culture, economy and strategic planning. The requirements mentioned for domestic capacity building can also be considered part of the necessary components of a foreign policy that prioritizes goals such as tension and conflict resolution. To achieve such goals certain measures need to be taken including construction of necessary infrastructures to fructify and empower foreign interrelations and international dynamics.

            Conflict and tension resolution as a foreign policy goal necessitates domestic coordination, structural adjustment, reduction of state bureaucracy, and transforming duties of domestic governance to construct reciprocal consideration, sufficient sympathy, and harmonizing alignments for a common vision of peaceful foreign relations. Iran’s 20-Year Vision Plan lays out the above domestic processes, the implementation of which depends on proper guiding of human resources and talents towards development programs as outlined in the vision plan document. In this path there is a need to tackle obstacles of structural reforms within the body of the government (Ramezani, 1382 SH/2004: 22).

            At the present time Iran has started implementing the “Iranian Targeted Subsidy Plan” which was passed by the Iranian parliament in January 2010, and put into effect in December 2010. This plan directs a series of economic reform for social justice by optimizing, and in some cases eliminating food and energy subsidies and forming a targeted social assistance system as an alternative. Nevertheless, the outcome, consequences and possible ramifications of the subsidy reform program is quite uncertain at this point. Similar programs conducted in other countries that focused on reforming and limiting subsidies granted by the government were generally unpredictable and risky. Under the present circumstances that Iran is under international pressure and facing much limitation it is crucial to maintain domestic tranquility, national unity, and political cohesion.

            In such difficult state of affairs, any structural preparation and move towards socioeconomic capacity building needs to proceed with caution, taking advantage of well-calculated steady strategies. Additionally, it is only in the context of this complicated circumstances that one can observes indicators that signify a shift towards interactionist national security; a shift in policy that is efficient, effective and is committed to gradual execution of the economic and strategic necessities of the country. This gradual transition is indicative of the significance of policy formulations that grant value to developing an efficient economic policy as the infrastructure of any fundamental transformations in the processes of structural capacity building.

            Preparation of the executive branch to interact intelligently with the rules governing the trends of globalization is an inevitable necessity of the processes of conflict and tension resolution within foreign policy. It is imperative that this preparation happens with a gradual pace, through a realistic targeted operation, along with development of human capital, and elevation of political/economic standards to a higher level. In theory, any programs of capacity building that targets social foundations through social capital building and strengthening human capital will result in desirable strategic outcomes in a relatively short period of time (Nye, 1387 SH/2009: 246).

            Any form of capacity building will develop susceptible economic foundations for increased productivity and lead to increased efficiency of national security. Adapting to recently developed conditions in the sphere of national security can be accompanied with embracing discourses of development and effective performances. This incorporation of discourses of development into national security policies can be systematically organized according to Iran’s strategic necessities and regulated so that it is managed within the fundamental values of the IRI as a political system. As might be expected in such circumstances that national security is of concern, any decision requires use of interactive models, respect for a collective rational, and middle-ground moderate political positions based on tolerance and compromise.

            Accomplishing this politics of tolerance and compromise will require the executive branch to undertake parallel programming and regional multilateral cooperation. For broad-ranging results, such an endeavor demands experts and calls for employment of specialist authority that can plan strategic programs and systematically prepare Iran’s foreign policy to move towards desirable outcomes. This requires governing conditions based on constructive criticism whereby establishment of independent review-based systems will employ inspiring, skillful, influential experts and executive directors with a critical vision to enable and support development. It goes without saying that if such expert-driven critically-heuristic processes achieve its aim, it will also give rise to susceptible grounds for development of dynamic organizational structures. All these infrastructural transformations will have its effects on dominant paradigms of national security. That is to say, economic and strategic capacity building will bring about required conditions for conflict resolution and employment of interactionist models in the area of national security (Zakaria, 1388 SH/2010: 198).

            In other words, capacity building has its broader effects and influences on other areas; the substantiations of which appears as manifestations of interactionism in the sphere of foreign policy. If all required productive measures are organized they can be constructive in accomplishing desired outcomes working along an effective national security force. As such, capacity building is a process in which different parts of the political structure are involved and have effective participation in (Callahan, 1386 SH/2008: 144).

            Indicators of capacity building and components of structural reform processes demanding the strategic interests of Iran will manifest in foreign policy provided that the following conditions are met:

a)     Formation of susceptible grounds for upgrading of organizational activities and enhancement of the efficiency of government divisions responsible for national security.

b)    The above conditions make available the requirements that contribute to an increase in political role and effective influence of Iran in regional economic competitions.

c)     The aforementioned conditions collectively are conductive in strengthening Iran’s relations with neighboring countries in economic and security programs.

d)    Relations with neighboring countries generate a competitive economic and political environment in the region creating serious incentives for regional governments to improve cooperation and make an effort for a reciprocally balanced conflict resolution in their foreign policy conducts.

            Combined together, the above conditions will bring about a collective regional tendency for stability, security, and regional development through balanced tension and conflict resolution in foreign policy (Kagan, 2010: 4). 

2 – Organizing Regional Peace Building based on Multilateral Regional-International Engagement

            Interactionism can be considered the initial step towards creating peace and regional cooperativism. Viewed in its qualities, interactionism is a function of participation of multilateral political units. Generally speaking one can emphasize that foreign policies concerned with conflict resolution follow interactionist trends when dealing with regional security. Interaction occurs through negotiation, compromise, deliberations, bargaining and multilateral cooperation. Each of the above mentioned components reflects some aspects of strategic cooperation and competition.

            If interaction is to all its intents regional, its effects and consequences will not be merely regional as reflections of regional interactionism may also have international implications. On the other hand, international interactionist engagement will manifest it signs in the regional sphere as well. That is to say the sort of interactionism which in the processes of foreign policy is concerned with conflict and tension resolution has both regional and international aspects. In a configurational make-up, interaction at the level of each sphere of international and regional will ultimately influence the other (Clemons, 2010: 13).

            In achieving a stable regional security, interactionism is considered one of the indispensable constitutes of Iranian foreign policy. As a general rule the more desirable results the IRI receives from exercising interactionist politics and the higher the success rates of adopting interactionist models, the greater is IRI’s ability to handle, manage, and act towards foreign policy models employed by the hegemonic political systems. Emphasis here is put on the advantages of interactionist models; any confrontation with those international powers that employ unilateral, supremacist, hegemonic international practices is possible through counteracting by way of multilateral interactive processes in the sphere of foreign policy conduct.

            Resorting to productive diplomatic steps within regional relations can have an interactive quality. This interactionist quality is visible in the actual documentation of IRI’s 20-Year Vision Plan which includes provisionary measures, domains of actions, and visionary programs that make available the necessary grounds for achieving the goals expected. The cornerstone of strategies of balanced conflict resolution, as resourceful adaptations by Iran’s foreign policy outlook, can be explored in the actual document of 20-Year Vision Plan. This document is not only advocating multilateralism in foreign policy, but it is also itself a multifaceted enterprising plan concentrating on a relational frame of analysis in diplomatic, economic and strategic aspects of reform in their configurationality (Alavi, 2005: 48).

            In general, Iran’s foreign policy predicaments require that political actors and agents involved employ interactionist models within the frameworks of the anticipated goals of the 20-Year Vision plan to work towards Iran’s strategic objectives. Availing Iran of using interactionist models is achievable only when some preliminary measures, steps, actions in various regional and international spheres are taken. Tension resolution without engaging in processes that will lead to multilateral cooperation and dispute resolution is merely not enough and will not yield desirable results in foreign policy (HajiYousefi, 1384 SH/2006: 63).
            Working towards the aforementioned preliminary measures requires conducting a series of innovative initiatives. The first step towards resolving security related issues for a broader conflict resolution is negotiating to demarcate common boundaries with other countries. Within the frameworks of their mutual national interests, all political regional units involved need to intervene and resolve boundary disputes with neighboring countries by finding solutions for high-risk possibilities or eliminating security threats. Secondly, peaceful settlement of disputes with non-hostile countries should be placed on IRI’s foreign policy agenda. The third step is defense coordination with armed forces of regional countries to enable peaceful cooperation among regional military units (Mottaghi, 1388 SH/2010: 225).

            On the other hand, any interactionist foreign policy requires attentiveness in related areas of international politics as well. This can happen by way of commissioning and furthering relations with adjacent (trans)regional powers within the domains of Iran’s strategic geography including countries like India, China, Russia and Japan. Such actions can be effective steps towards developing interactive relations with (trans)regional countries. In other words, working with major powers surrounding the geostrategic sphere of IRI’s can lead to more regional integration giving prominence to empowering the Islamic world (Molavi, 2005: 122).

            Achieving the aforesaid expansion of interactionist relations with nearby countries, would not be feasible unless IRI is willing to engage in systematic efficient cooperation with these countries. For example IRI can endow other countries the chance to invest in Iran’s economic capacities and opportunities. This can only be achieved under conditions that receptive grounds for cooperation, negotiation, and ratification of economic contracts with neighboring and regional countries are established. On the other hand, countries involved can even take further major steps towards economic and strategic cooperation by taking the following measures:

  • Reducing potential risk factors by risk management in order to draw foreign capital
  • Efficient exchange of economic-related information and intelligence in international relations
  • Building on the academic capital of experts of economics by investing in educational projects and by facilitating expert workshops, conferences, conventions etc…
  • Using available international capacities to promote particular economic plans
  • Encouraging and facilitating more trade contracts, economic relations, bilateral investments, and strategic cooperation agreements in the area of commerce by reducing and optimizing tariffs, entering into most favored nation treaties with other countries, reducing or favoring tariffs, and having provisions for relief from double taxations
  • Issuing contracts for export of engineering and technical services
  • Working towards creating suitable conditions for joining the World Trade Organization (WTO)

            The above mentioned measures are only fragments of the inevitable realities that Iran’s security policies and strategies should take into account. These measures might be taking place in the domains of economy, culture, and education; however, the broader strategic implications of all these efforts will be observable in IRI’s sphere of regional-international relations. Reforming of domestic economic sphere and expanding of international interactionist trends occurs in a dual state of anarchy and stability. That is to say that relations with others (be it state or non-state agents) in a world that is based on the one hand on anarchy and on the other hand resilient flexibility, can only occur through deliberation by making use of public reason in foreign policy (Ansari, 2006: 172).

            With a little critical persistence one can study the possible challenges that the various previously discussed components of regional/international interactionism might face and foresee possible mechanism of control and restriction. Interactionism sows the seeds of participation and integration of countries in the region, creating resources, solutions, and opportunities for furthering various possibilities of interactive relations. As might be expected, achieving such interactionist goals is not possible without paying attention to the ways in which agents (states or non-state) act under various operational conditions of cooperation, tension, and crisis. Therefore, to optimally accomplish such interactionist objectives, states and political actors need to expand power, influence, and collaterally build confidence by means of adapting interactive models in the process of conflict resolution in foreign policy.

3 – The Role of Extroversion of Foreign Policy in Organizing Regional-International Balance

            Extraversion as a fundamental principle of national security in this time and age of globalization requires active, constructive, and comprehensive diplomacy. Employing active diplomacy is considered to be effective towards building extensive grounds for development of capabilities and efficient bureaucracy for national security. In such circumstances, interactionist political units try to facilitate effective use of resources, capital, opportunities, and initiatives of international cooperation. In fact, conflict and tension resolution requires use of cooperationist and interactionist diplomatic tools in the area of foreign policy. This is achievable through adopting models such as peaceful coexistence, confidence building, and tension and conflict resolution in foreign relations amongst countries involved (Garthwaite, 2005: 77).

            Of attributes of the Islamic republic of Iran’s foreign policy are its extrovert quality, cooperationist tendencies, interactionist inclinations, and internationalist aspirations. The above priorities make available and prepare Iran’s position in the sphere of international cooperation based on multilateral interests. In spite of all this, at the present time the dominant discourse of IRI’s foreign policy has raised significant criticism towards the existing world order. IRI addresses global hegemonies, emphasizing the need for reform of the global system and the paradigms governing it in order to fulfill the interests of all actors involved. This critical approach of IRI is presented in various areas of diplomatic action (Cordesman, 1382 SH/2004: 122).

            One can emphasize that interactionism would not be realized without appealing to a general sense of justice and fairness in the utilization of resources and opportunities for all countries. The realities of international politics lead one to believe that any attempt to reform this hegemonic world order necessitates cooperation and interaction with other actors and countries. Any interactionist course of action that is adopted can consequently bring about required conditions for promotion of multilateral cooperation based on models of balanced (inter)action and common interests (Naqibzadeh, 1388 SH/2010: 16).

            In other words, political and economic reforms in today’s world order require mutual respect amongst countries. This respect will create peaceful living conditions for productive activism through activities and proceeding that allow for various countries to pursue interactive policies in relations with one another. This form of interactionism is possible despite the possible disagreement and conflicting interests among actors in the economic/political spheres of global world system (Jamshidi, 1386 SH/2008: 49).

            Thus, one should emphasize that adopting strategies of balanced conflict resolution does not mean that a country will have to deviate from its national principles, national interests and the country’s national security. Regardless of the strategies adopted, balanced reconciliation here constitutes a kind of modern global rationalism that is based on principles of reciprocity, taking place on mutual grounds and according to the common interests of the associated parties. In this form of proceeding, countries maintain their own national identity and concomitantly pursue their national interests and rights while observing and respecting the interests and rights of other actors. This suggests that peaceful coexistence and balanced conflict resolution refrains from any absolutist essentialism in securing the interests of all countries. Such a model of political behavior in the sphere of foreign policy prioritizes common interests and parallel likenesses in the conduct of political units in an interactive space.

                   One can insist, in theory, that the conflict resolution firstly includes principles that can at least bring about contexts receptive to diversity, accepting of differences, ideological disagreements, values, and norms amongst various political players in the global world system. Of course, the principles of conflict resolution accept the negation of hegemony alongside the negation of domination. Secondly, such a process of reconciliation attempts to resolve disputes and conflicts among countries and regional/international actors peacefully, in a global world system free from disturbances. This form of conflict resolution resorting to a modern rationalism will take place without turning to force and violence (Tajik, 1387 SH/2009: 22).

            Moreover, if the opposite parties involved adhere to principles of non-violence and reciprocity, then susceptible grounds for sustaining relationships and interrelated associations based on respect and mutual interests with other countries are formed. This will result in the active participation of political units in international organizations and institutions. Thus, it is necessary that IRI’s foreign policy is organized in a series of actions that ensure suitable circumstances for participation and supervision in the process of international normalization. These include active and effective presence in resolving regional, international, transnational and global conflicts and disputes as well as participation and engagement in the regulation and systematic arrangement of governing regimes in the international sphere (Ehteshami, 1378 SH/2000: 173).

            The above mentioned goals are achievable through planning, systematic arrangement, implementation of the courses of actions needed in the regional, international, and global configurations and structures. Of course, these achievements are realizable based on peaceful efforts in the process of reform, reconditioning, and improvement of foundational principles of international action. In other words, in this process of balanced conflict resolution, any cooperationist initiative on part of IRI’s foreign policy is contingent on the achievability of goals whose signs are in line with aspirations of accomplishing more equitable system of distribution of benefit for all actors: i.e. the benefits that these actors might receive in the workings of all various sets of international governing systems (Haji-Yousefi, 1384 SH/2006: 33).

            Indeed, application of conflict resolution is feasible in extrovert foreign policy. This can be a symbol of acceptance of international pluralism in Iran’s national security paradigms. Accomplishing and contributing to this international pluralism is only possible in the absence of unproductive patterns of confrontation and negation of conflict in diplomatic relations and multilateral interactionism. Thus, cooperation and coexistence with other actors and countries involved is considered an important implement of balanced conflict resolution in foreign policy. To accomplish this, actors involved in interactive relations need to sustain a fair configurationality of multidimensional interests of various countries in the regional, the international, and the global sphere of action (Biden, 2010: 35).

            Conflict resolution as the basis of modern extroversion in diplomacy concentrates on reducing conflicts, rivalry, and struggles in the relationship of two or more countries or in relations of one particular country with the global world system. Conflict resolution while minimizing the existing differences and tensions between actors makes an effort to reconcile differences and tensions peacefully and without resorting to force and violence. This is done by aspiring to just equitable distribution of relational national interests of the parties involved. Relational and not relativist equitable distribution of interests is the key concept here; this means that relational configurations of national interests of countries in obtaining opportunities and interests will officially be accounted for and recognized as necessary in resolving differences and conflicts among countries (Bagus, 1385 SH/2007: 29).

            In the history of international relations, conflict resolution has always been introduced as a gradual process among countries, starting with more moderate policies leading to more drastic measures. However, the success of conflict resolution has always depended on it not being used as a framework for a tactical strategy in conflict and war. That is to say conflict resolution cannot be a pretext for aggression. Generally speaking, in the circumstances that political actors resort to conflict resolution the changing of political settings and the refashioning of foreign policies adopted by political units is an inevitable occurrence (Hill, 1387 SH/2009: 61).

            Conflict resolution in a similar manner to peaceful coexistence is founded on multilateral cooperation of political units and the belief in the principle of interdependence of countries. As such, conflict resolution is considered constituent of cooperationist models that are shaped within the frameworks of multilateral diplomacy. In other words, multilateral diplomacy can be pursued through negotiations, ratification of international treaties, agreements, compromise, and constructive competitive relations with other actors in the global world system (Ansari, 2006: 36).

The above constituent methodologies require the use of cooperationist interactionist models to accomplish multilateral diplomacy in the international level. Therefore, the political units need to generate political discourses surrounding issue of multilateralism to be able to achieve international understanding. This formation of multilateral discourses will bring about the establishment of suitable grounds for development of conflict resolution, peace, and security through multilateral cooperation and interaction. Multilateralism can be considered one of the necessities and characteristics of the global world system in time of interdependence. This indicates that conflict resolution in the sphere of the global world system does not occur as a consequence of enfeeblement and inaction but in pursuit of multilateral cooperation in order to build confidence and trust (Kurzman, 2004: 173).

            The global world system will require processes of conflict and tension resolution.  Accomplishing this form of reconciliation and tension resolution can be associated and accompanied with various forms of (re)fashioning at different international political times and stages. For example, since the year 1376 SH/1998, conflict resolution within Iran’s policies of national security went through a shift in paradigms adopting more trust-building efforts. Trust-building is considered an evolutional step in the developmental stages of conflict resolution in national security. It was this process of trust-building that prepared the grounds for introduction of the principles of “Dialogue among Civilizations” by president Khatami and his administration as an idealistic approach to foreign policy. Furthermore, under the conditions of confidence and trust-building the possibilities of organizing multilateral processes to change the structure of international institutions come into existence.

            In the processes of conflict resolution in foreign policy, countries need to take advantage of models of confidence building and cooperationist conduct. Generally speaking one can emphasize that confidence and trust building plays a key role in promoting extraversion in diplomacy. This strategy of trust-building is essentially interactive in quality including aspects of multilateralism, pragmatism, and reconciliationist policies. In other words, conflict resolution can make susceptible grounds ready for implementation of models of multilateral conduct and this further leads to patterns of interdependence in the structure of the global world system (Ehteshami, 1378 SH/2000: 165).

            Conflict resolution, trust and confidence building, interdependence and multilateral cooperation work towards achieving stability and balance in relations between countries. Actors involved can execute this by way of exchange of intelligence, information, and communication. This interchanging of information reduces or eliminates mutual uncertainties and anxieties of the two sides surrounding issues of security and relational strategic positions. Such a process creates trust and builds grounds for confidence among countries and international institutions.

            In fact, it is often distrust between the countries that creates security crises. On the other hand, clues from the political conduct and behavioral signs of various countries suggest that any suspicion and distrust of political units with respect to each other and lack of knowledge and confidence in relation to the intentions of others leads to inefficiencies in the processes of conflict resolution in foreign policy. In other words, the main pivots of models of cooperationist political conduct in international relations revolves around circumstances in which some aspects of confidence and trust building are manifested (Djerejian, 2007: 33).

            International politics is still based on signs and indicators of anarchy, disorder, and conflict and it is in this setting that countries like IRI are putting emphasis on, discussing, and bringing to the fore multilateral cooperationist trends. In other words, the international security system based on the principles of realism in international relations gives prominence to assumptions of suspicion and distrust. Therefore, it is expected that these assumption are the underlying source of the disorder and anarchy in the global world system (King and Ephraim Karsh, 1378 SH/2000: 122).

            Constructivist theorists believe that countries construct anarchy. Consequently, to achieve reciprocal cooperation and mutual interests, countries need to (re)fashion indicators of normative, ideational, and perceptual constructs. It is only in such circumstances of constant (re)fashioning of ideational constructs that any attempts of conflict resolution will lead to advancements in interactive cooperationist objectives for balancing. The realization of this form of balancing requires regional and international confidence building (Abdullah Khani, 1386 SH/2008: 118).


            One of the main specific functions of various countries’ foreign policy is maintaining peace and security. Of course, accomplishing order and peacefulness would not be possible unilaterally. Peace building is formed in extensive processes of cooperationist and interactionist policies. This is why “peace organization” is considered one of the models of security building in the regional sphere. Accomplishing security building by way of peace organization requires use of participatory models in parallel to the strategic use of tools of power.

            On the other hand, one can emphasize that any initiative to organize peace requires the formation of “regional balance.” Regional security, in turn, will not be achieved without regional balance. In such a codependent process, the requirements of security building in the Persian Gulf necessitate occurrence of at least some manifestations of regional balancing in power, norms, and patterns of behavior and conduct of actors involved. In general, one can show that the organization of regional peace and balance in the Persian Gulf region is possible when the following initiatives are considered.

            1 – The ability to take advantage of cooperationist models in the area of foreign policy is a difficult endeavor. This paper attempted to analyze various models of peace building in the very volatile region of Middle East in general and for countries such as IRI in particular. This article, however, mainly focused on balancing conflict resolution in foreign policy.

2 – This paper showed that such model of balanced conflict resolution is only practically feasible when political actors involved have the benefit of a relative mutual trust. On the other hand, rather than adopting models of “Balance of Power,” agents should be compelled to prepare and employ models of “Balance of Threat.”

3 – To go through a political state of balancing of power requires occurrence of at least aspects of balanced conflict resolution. One can consider accepting perceptual models of cooperation in international politics as the main infrastructural requirements of conflict resolution in foreign policy. This approach of balancing conflict resolution might be disfavored in theoretical articulations of the realist, the neo-realists, and the strategist school of international relations. However, the realities of international relation, the “real politics” of it, indicates that the use of certain cooperationist behavioral models along with creative initiatives, agents, states, and actors involved can achieve strategic benefits.

4 – To further realize these creative initiatives of balancing along conflict resolution, state and non-state agents need to carry out capacity building as well as structural reforms in the fields of economy, technology, culture, and foreign policy. On the other hand, this paper concludes that without paying the due attention to economic requirements such as capacity building, the possibility of achieving the provisionary outlines and indicators of the 20-Year Vision Plan is a dim prospect. Since the 20-Year Vision Plan is a document dealing with the social and cultural groundings of Iran’s foreign policy, therefore, taking advantage of such social and cultural signs and indicators in Iran’s foreign policy will achieve more effective desired results in the area of international relations.

5 – All the aforementioned indicators in this paper entail the necessity of at least aspects of interactionism in the regional-international sphere of action. This can be grounds for promoting the national government’s role in achieving more perceptual relations and political interactions with other actors involved. In other words, structural interactionism requires that manifestations of actions based on the position of regional and international actors be considered. Patterns based on unilateralism cannot be accepted by other actors involved. The decline of Conservatives in United State’s political structure after the year 2006 can reflect the failure of their unilateralism in the years 2006 to 2001.

Persian Sources:

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