An overview of the current state of relations between the West and Iran and the outlook for improved relations
Dr Seyed Salman Safavi
First, I will discuss the current state of the relations between Iran and the West, from the perspective of Iran. Second, I will briefly offer some suggestions for improving mutual relations between Iran and the West.
Currently, the relations between Iran and the majority of countries of the world is positive and constructive, other than the relation’s between Iran and the United States and its regional ally (the Tel Aviv Regime), with both of whom relations are extremely tense. As a result of US actions during the Trump era, such as exiting the JCPOA, starting an economic war against the Iranian nation through sanctions and the terror of General Qasem Soleimani by the direct order of the American president, Iran and the US have been in the worst era of their relations since 1979.
Although the Europeans did not exit the JCPOA, it was not capable of fulfilling its commitments to Iran. America’s strategic partner in the region (Tel Aviv) has been conducting a continued cyberwarfare and terror campaign against Iran; they have assassinated a highly esteemed Iranian scientist, Dr Fakhrizadeh, and have damage one of Iran’s nuclear facilities. The West has sold advanced offensive weapons such as advanced fighter jets to Iran’s neighbours, which has resulted in an increase in tension and insecurity in the region and is a direct threat to the national security of Iran.
However, Iran hopes that in the era of President Biden, the US has understood that through economic war against the Iranian nation it cannot make Iran surrender to its irrational demands.
Thus, in the current era, Iran hopes that the tensions in Iran-US relations are lowered by the US changing its behaviour.
Iran is ready to expand its economic relations with Europe. Expanding economic relations between Iran and Britain can be helpful to the British economy in the post-Brexit era.
Iran’s policies in light of the experience of JCPOA and American sanctions during the Trump era in the fields of economy, defence and international relations are as follows:
- In the economic sphere, Iran has concentrated on national development by relying on domestic capabilities. In the past few years, Iran has made good advances in the fields of knowledge-based companies, refineries, and the mining industry. Secondly, Iran is pursuing expansion of economic relations with China and Russia, and thirdly If Europe is ready, Iran will welcome economic cooperation with Europe.
- In the defence sphere, from the perspective of Iran, there is a global “military apartheid” that is led by the US. The United States is the greatest threat to global security, particularly due to its large arsenal of nuclear and other offensive weapons, having the largest military budget in the world and as the largest exporter of weapons in the world particularly to West Asia. Therefore, because of continued military threats by the US against Iran, the arming of Iran’s neighbours with advanced offensive weaponry and the experience of the eight-year war imposed by Iraq on Iran (1980-1989) in which Iraq’s military was armed by the West with advanced weapons including chemical weapons, Iran has adopted a missile defence policy in order to defend itself, its people and its territorial integrity. The suggestion that Iran should limit its missile defence is an unrealistic suggestion that does not consider Iran’s considerations; it is a suggestion born out of “military apartheid”. Therefore, from the perspective of Iran, under current circumstances, it is completely unacceptable.
- Iran’s International relations policy is that of maintaining constructive relations with the majority of the international community, expanding relations with Asia, lowering tensions with Saudi Arabia and actively supporting International and regional peace and security.
Iran considers the presence of American military bases and military vessels in the Persian Gulf to be detrimental to the security of the Persian Gulf and the national interests of Iran.
In the framework of lowering tensions between Iran and the US and Iran’s neighbours, I have the following suggestions:
- Considering the behaviour of the Trump administration, the US exiting the JCPOA and the terror of General Soleimani, Iran distrusts America. Therefore, the US government should give practical guarantees to Iran that by a change of government in the US, it will not cancel mutual agreements and treaties.
- In order to establish peace and security in the Persian Gulf, Western military forces must leave the Persian Gulf.
- Defence cooperation agreements should be signed between all countries of the Persian Gulf in order to provide security for the Persian Gulf.
- Iran will cooperate for the respectable withdrawal of Saudi Arabia from Yemen and is ready to cooperate with Saudi Arabia to lower tensions based on the legitimate interests of both sides.
- To confront the nuclear race both globally and in the Middle East and to start global nuclear disarmament, it is suggested that as a first step the Middle East be designated as a nuclear-weapons-free zone and governments which violate this be sanctioned by the international community.
- Considering the great economic potential of Iran in terms of natural resources, specialised human resources and a strong industrial infrastructure, Iran welcomes economic cooperation with Europe, and I think this cooperation will be beneficial for both sides.
- Iran is ready to support Afghanistan and the West so that after Western military forces leave Afghanistan, this country does not once again become a haven for foreign terrorists to stage terror operations against the West from.
- Iran is ready to expand its cooperation with Europe in various fields such as the fight against terrorism, stopping the production, distribution and smuggling of narcotics, the environmental crisis and other important areas of mutual interest and concern.
It appears that considering the defeat of the American policy of maximum pressure against Iran, perhaps the US has become aware, and realises that by changing its hostile behaviour towards the Iranian nation we can return to diplomacy and dialogue and start a new era of good relations between Iran and the West based on mutual economic, political and security interests.