It is sometimes argued that ideology does not make any sense in foreign policy! Some would say that foreign policy is a platform for facts and not a place for idealism. Of course, this claim, apart from being false in our point of view, is not accepted by anyone in the world in the debates on foreign policy.
Look at this very America! Every Secretary of State who comes to power would make its foreign policy clear by saying this is the principle of my foreign policy or this is the target of my foreign policy, etc. Everyone who comes in would speak of America’s “values” and the values of its foreign policy. They would discuss in details; that is to say, it is not an issue to be specific of a particular country.
There are a number of serious documents in this area, such as the document on ‘US National Security Strategy’, wherein these issues have been discussed. Look at the document for 2017, in Trump’s term, or 2015, which is related to Obama; it exactly talks about these issues. It talks in details about “American values”. It speaks about its goals and…
The same is true about France. At least in the past decade, documents on French foreign policy whether in the name of foreign policy or national security, etc., these same issues are raised. If you look at the case of England all these topics are there.
Therefore, in our world in which there are nearly 200 countries, each of these countries has a paradigm in its foreign policy that has principles and goals on the basis of which they define and pursue their rights, interests and tactics. It is according to this paradigm that each country defends its interests, rights and ideals.
- A) Points of difference and commonality among countries in foreign policy
In this area, for example, if you assume the two countries “A” and “B”, each has targets in foreign policy. They have a principle, and … this is where the points of commonality and difference take shape.
This commonality and difference is observed sometimes in basic debates; for example about a principle and sometimes in tactic and, of course, their spectrum is different from each other.
Now there is a question about our own foreign policy, for example, why do we not have relations with the United States? Because in this matter there is a serious contrast between the “principles” of foreign policy of the two sides.
Almost every foreign minister and every president that assumes power in the United States, one of the issues he would raise as a principle in foreign policy – not as a position – is the commitment to Israel’s security. Bear in mind; it is interesting in its own way that a country that is a superpower has principles that are not many in number; does not introduce more than four or five principles; one of these principles is the commitment to Israel’s security. Now, what is the principle or one of the principles in the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran? Non-recognition of the Zionist regime. It is natural that these two principles are in serious conflict with each other. This is a fundamental conflict that overshadows the relationship or non-relationship or the type of the relationship between the two countries and gives an answer to the above question.
- B) From “commonality or difference” in the goals and principles of foreign policy of countries, “interaction and confrontation” emerges, and from these interactions or confrontations, “opportunities and threats”
Now, when points of commonality or points of difference are created between the two countries, naturally the ground will be paved for the emergence of interaction or confrontation. From the point of commonality the arena for interaction will be created, and from the point of difference, a kind of confrontation will emerge. As a result, from interaction opportunities will be created for you, and from confrontation threats will be produced.
Naturally, relations that take shape between different countries form several multivariate equations; that is to say, for one country alone with about two hundred other countries, points of confrontation and interaction or opportunity and threat are created; in addition, from the relations of other countries – for example, the interaction or confrontation that countries “B” and “C” have with each other, and … again, for country A, either interaction and opportunity is produced or confrontation and threat.
In fact, if country “B” and country “C” find common grounds on a problem, it might create a new threat for you or double your old threat; as it is possible that if country “D” and country “E” have interactive or confrontational relationship, that relationship will generate opportunities for you. The complexity and extensiveness continues to the same extent.
The arena of international relations is an intertwined field that you, as a foreign policy apparatus, must analyze the relations between countries to see where you can seize opportunity or repel a threat.
- C) Scene of foreign policy; game of threats to opportunities
In this way, the arena of commonalities and differences between countries forms a 180-degree angle from the distance of opportunities to threats in front of you.
In examining the opportunities of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the field of foreign policy, for example, we can say that we can gain a few degrees of opportunities from relations with Venezuela, as well as other degrees that can be gained in relations with other countries. Based on what we have said, even the interactions and confrontations of other countries with each other can create some degrees of opportunity for us.
Eventually it becomes clear that with the set of efforts that have been made, you can create a certain amount of opportunity; next you need to enable those opportunities. As is the case with threats. For example, you say that my relations with a certain country produce ten degrees of threat; more or less than the other…
The art of the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is to act in the best possible way in the circle of opportunities and threats, according to the directives of the Supreme Leader based on “extensive and constructive interaction”.
- D) Quiddity of “broad and constructive interaction” as the basis of foreign policy of the Islamic Republic
Extensive interaction means that the world is not just three or four countries. There are two hundred countries in the world. “Extensive” means that you can take advantage of every opportunity that exists in the world. One of those opportunities may be in Latin America. The other will be in Asia or Africa, and … the same as you must be able to repel threats coming to you from everywhere in the world.
The second condition is that the interaction must be “constructive”. Care should be taken; when we say “extensive interaction”, it does not mean merely interaction and nothing more! No… this interaction must be “constructive” as well. Because I also have my own goals, principles, values, interests and rights and I want to achieve them. We do not want to have just one embassy all over in the world and say that is enough; rather, we have to pursue our goals, interests and rights in that embassy.
In a word, an interaction is extensive and constructive that can achieve your foreign policy goals wherever possible.
- E) Quiddity of “maximum pressure” strategy
If those documents of the US National Security Strategy that were mentioned above are studied – for example, the 2015 document that belongs to Obama – one of the cases that he refers to there is that, first we are the world leader, and second, this leadership must be preserved for the next hundred years. Note that he makes this statement in the document, not in his own words or as said behind the scenes. In 2017, Trump reiterated the same claim in the document in other ways.
What is the point in this proposition? That is, the Islamic Republic of Iran today is confronted with this strategic proposition of the United States for various reasons, and the United States is facing the Islamic Republic of Iran according to what it has stated in its national security document. This confrontation is a fundamental confrontation. That is not to say, for example, that if we smile and talk, it will be solved and… no; he wants to be the leader of the world and this issue cannot be solved with a smile and dialogue! What has happened in the past few years has at least shown what the situation is and how it is proceeding? After all, this is a serious confrontation; it is not superficial for a variety of reasons that the Americans themselves repeatedly state.
On the other hand, with all its principles and goals, it stands in front of the Islamic Republic of Iran, what strategy has it adopted against you? “Maximum pressure strategy”. It has both officially announced this and is implementing it, and has no hesitation. Then it says it would follow economic pressure in this strategy. It says it did other things but did not get the result. There has been the imposed war and … this and that. He has reached the point to exert maximum pressure with economic pressure. The important point is that in this American strategy of confrontation with us, it constantly resorts to one tactic; that is to say, the strategy of comprehensive and maximum pressure, with the “tactics of calling for negotiations”.
- F) Difference between primary and secondary US sanctions
What is the US tool in this maximum pressure strategy? It is the sanctions. A country can say that it does not accept such and such country. We have serious conflicts in principles, in goals and in everything. We do not have relationship with that country at all. I do not sell goods to this country and do not buy goods from that one. I sanction it. This can be the same sanctions that it can have against us, which are called primary sanctions; but what is his other tool and supplement to this strategy? It is the subject matter of secondary sanctions.
That is to say, he says any country that intends to have economic relations with Iran will be boycotted and we will not allow it to have relations with Iran. This is the subject matter of secondary sanctions. This means that you have to find your economic opportunities one by one and activate them. In return, the enemy wants to put obstacles on your way by sanctioning the other side. The Islamic Republic of Iran must also have its own dynamic strategies and tactics against this strategy and this tactic.
- G) How to dissipate maximum pressure
So the enemy has come with full power, saying that not only I will block Iran’s economic relations, but will not allow others to deal with Iran either. The United States is a country that eventually has some facilities and some tools. It is in the Security Council. It has nuclear weapons. Its relations with other countries and…
Now you have to make a move under this situation so that when it says maximum pressure, you can break that pressure. As in the war, there was an eight-year resistance. Once, the United States put its pressure on the war and the military dimension. It imposed eight years of war and in fairness, it did not fail! It helped your opposing side and put what it had at their disposal. Economic, political, militarily, financial, they put everything at the disposal of the other side in order to achieve their goals, but they failed with the resistance. Now the question is whether it is possible to defeat the other side again with a successful and dynamic tactics, again through resistance and, God willing, defeat it?
- H) Export leap as a tool for success of production surge
Maximum economic pressure is the US strategy in today’s war. You have to break it in order to disappoint it in the strategy of maximum pressure. The meaning of the endogenous economy was also mentioned by the Supreme Leader this year; “Production Leap”; that is to say, if, for example, you produced one ton of tomatoes each year, produce ten tons this year; but note that one of the tools of the production leap is that you can have export markets. This means that if you increase your production and multiply it, you must have an export market for the surplus of domestic consumption. Therefore, the prerequisite for the success of the production leap is the export leap. What is the need for the export leap? It is to be able to find your market among these 200 countries of the world.
Iran’s exports to 28 EU countries after implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are less than half of its exports to Afghanistan. Right now, Afghanistan which is your neighbor has a market of at least 6 billion dollars. What is your place there? Or, for example, Syria has four billion dollars worth of imports under the status quo. The first three countries present there are Turkey, which is at war with Syria; another is China and the other is the UAE. Where are we? Or the opportunities that exist for exporting to Venezuela, you have commonalities and you have to turn them all into opportunities. Our issue today, besides having strategy or tactics, is speed of action. Inaction and slowness have been turned into a major calamity for our strategies and tactics.
- I) Strategic opportunity of the 25-year Iran-China agreement
The 25-year Iran-China agreement is an opportunity that could break the pressure of the other side at this point, and for this reason it has been attacked by US regime officials. Read the statements of Pompeo or other American regime officials on this particular issue, you will realize how the issue is important for them.
There is a commonality for you and China which has created opportunity; that is to say, while the other side says it would exert the maximum pressure and the secondary sanctions, this proposal has been made.
Therefore this proposal for strategic cooperation is important under the present situation. Of course, this issue, like any other agreement, should go through its legal path and, as it was mentioned before, should become really operational; in particular, we must make the necessary and sufficient follow-ups to make it work.