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Iran: Time for shrewd diplomacy

By Behnam Elmi, Tehran Times Opinion Column

TEHRAN, March 6 (Mehr News Agency) -- To maintain its national interests and solve its political problems, the wisest course of action for Iran would be to properly inform the West about the nature of its major strategic interests.

The main objectives of a country's foreign policy are to ensure it attains its rightful place in the international arena, to prepare the ground for proper cooperation with international organizations, and to provide citizens a dignified life.

In foreign policy, countries are now abandoning traditional diplomacy based on realpolitik and adopting modern diplomacy based on an intellectual policy in which soft power is given importance.

Officials and diplomats all over the world have reached the conclusion that they should choose diplomacy as their main strategy in the twenty-first century.

This is because political leaders have changed the way they justify their decisions in order to reduce tension which could harm their countries.

In this age of technology, in which conflicts can be much more devastating, diplomacy can find compromises which are necessary for justifying decisions. That's why Western countries always try to soften their stances toward each other in order to legitimize theirs decisions.

In addition, diplomacy can increase ideological influence through exporting cultural and political institutions.

The main goal of foreign policy from the Achaemenids, the Athenians, the French revolutionaries, the U.S. structuralists, and the Bolsheviks to the Islamists has been to export political systems. The reason for this is very simple. If countries share their political values and cultures, they can build relations with other countries based on confidence and transfer many of their political ideals amiably.

As a country with an international mission and an ideology to export values, Iran is in need of more active diplomacy.

Since Iran is in the midst of international crises and has ideological differences with many members of the international community, efficient diplomacy is essential.

The West has never been pleased about Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution and its independence and has used every dirty trick in the book to undermine Iran's development and prevent Iranians from achieving their goals.

Thus, in the face of ideological differences, shrewd diplomacy can reduce the crises to a great extent.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians were killed and the country suffered billions of dollars of economic damage due to the 1980-1988 war with Iraq.

Two decades on, threats against Iran are increasing and the nuclear row has put national interests in jeopardy.

So far, Iran-EU talks have not borne fruit because Tehran's strategic interests have not been taken into consideration. When the issue of the ruling system of Iran is raised, the European Union is incapable of addressing the matter. Then the United States enters the picture and this is the crux of the problem.

Iran's diplomacy can be successful in arranging Iran-U.S. talks only if it presents a comprehensive framework for negotiations in which all the differences of the two countries from the 1953 coup to the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, Palestine, and Israel's nuclear weapons are addressed.

Adopting a more moderate line in foreign policy can help solve many problems and in no way is a sign of weakness. Quite the contrary, this would be the wisest decision.

... Payvand News - 3/7/07 ... --

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