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Globalization of the economy and Iran's foreign policy

Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 21:14

The changes, taking place in the world arena at the beginning of the XXI century, forced the states of the world to reconsider its attitude to the world, and in particular to foreign policy. Economic globalization and liberalization of the principles and rules of the world trade had a tremendous impact on the domestic life and on the international situation in many countries, the objects of international politics. Policy in foreign trade should be one of the main directions of the foreign policy. Iranian diplomacy should equally serve the interests of preserving the territorial integrity, and the integration of commercial interests.
The movement towards the economic globalization has begun in Iran due to the recommendations of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund since the 1990s after the end of the war with Iraq. Initiated reforms were accompanied by privatization and liberalization of many sectors of the country’s economy, especially trade. Unfortunately, many measures to liberalize the economic life were made hastily, without prior examination of the situation and state of the economy, which resulted in serious mistakes and miscalculations. Statistics show that the import liberalization led to a sharp increase in the volume of foreign goods in the Iranian domestic market and to the growth of public debt. According to the World Bank, it has reached the astronomical sum - $ 50 billion. The country was forced to send 50% of the income from oil and other petroleum products in order to repay loans and interest to them. It was the first time when the Iranian government appealed to the international financial institutions to restructure external debts and payments on them. Reducing foreign exchange earnings led to decreasing amounts of foreign investment in the economy. For example, in 1999 the index of investment in the economy amounted to 5%, and in 1992-1997 this figure ranged from 5-7%. The inflation rate in 1995 was 35.2%, and in 1996 - 49.4%. The policy of regulating economic life of the country worsened the economic indicators in the early years of reforms, and the country's president was forced to impose restrictions on the importation of goods. In general, the program of the economic liberalization in Iran, that had the purpose to bring the country’s economy and the global economy together, had serious consequences for Iran.
It must be emphasized that the policy of economic liberalization, being held in several countries on the recommendations of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, gave positive results. The fact is that some states received loans of these organizations, but also with their recommendations they took into account the particularities of the national economy, and the most important thing is that the timing and the pace of reforms in the financial and economic systems went beyond the recommendations of the WB and IMF. That is why the coming "shock" of national economies did not have such serious consequences as in Iran.
On the other hand we need to realize that the convergence of national economies with the global economy is an irreversible and necessary process. Ignoring the globalization of the world economic system has the most detrimental effects on national economies. An example for this is Cuba or North Korea that are unable to provide the most modest needs of national development. On the other hand, the countries’ entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO) requires strong and developed economies, which is necessary to ensure the competitiveness of national products on the market.
For the Iranian economy there are certain barriers to the country’s entry into this international organization. The openness of the Iranian economy, the increase of the country’s economic potential, the strengthening of the economic and social structures may contribute to the preservation and protection of national interests in the context of globalization. Only in this case the entry of Iran into the WTO will yield positive results, and the ignoring of these possible consequences may eventually lead to the emergence of crises in the short and long term prospective.
The development of equitable economic relations with economically and technologically advanced countries of the world is the second important condition. Only equal relations meet the national interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Maintaining stable political and economic relations with less developed countries of the world can have a negative impact on Iran's economy, but on the other hand, such relations can not provide a healthy and steady development of national economy.
The globalization opens up new possibilities for the dynamically developing economy of Iran, which has great potential for increasing industrial production. Tariff reduction helps to overcome barriers that stop the development of the import into the country. On the other hand, the tariff reduction creates a lower price of Iranian goods in world markets and thereby it increases their competitiveness. If the country is unable to produce competitive products for the world market, it will not be able to provide a comparative advantage for its production, and then the policy of tariffs’ reduction and unification will not give positive results. On the other hand the policy of tariffs’ reduction and unification will lead to the increase of the imported goods’ competitiveness in the domestic market, which may have bad results for the national economy.
As it was noted above, after the 1998 the Islamic Republic of Iran particularly focused attention on the economic aspects in its foreign policy. The problem of convergence of national economies with the global economy can not be solved without foreign investment, without the participation of other countries in the development of modern, high-tech industries, without strengthening the international confidence, the development of cultural relations between states, the introduction of new technology, and the active participation of Iran in regional and international organizations, and in the future obtaining the status of a member of the World Trade Organization.
IRI leadership is taking steps towards convergence with the world economy, but does it with great caution. The basic steps in this direction have already been made:
• The policy of public economic sector’s privatization and the reduction of state machinery are in progress;
• The economic policies’ coordination with the actions of the international financial institutions is held;
• Favorable conditions for attracting foreign investment are created.
In the age of the countries’ interdependence the implementation of foreign policy aimed at the domestic economic priority tasks may lead to situations where the states will be unable to use all the opportunities of globalization and the widening gap in technological development may lead to a weakening of their international position. On the other hand, globalization - is a reality that can not be ignored. We need to meet it; the denial of the fruits of globalization means lag and insulation.
The economic structure of Iran, despite the enormous potential, is closed and not dynamical. For this reason, the most important factor of development for strengthening the IRI’s position in the world and the world economy is to focus on the external market, on the external environment, with specific objectives of convergence and attraction of foreign investment. Also the state’s leadership has the task to revise the relations and positions in matters of economic aspects and factors’ importance at this stage.
Economic globalization and mutual economic dependence made some adjustments in approaches and practices of foreign policy, which are primarily based on economic factors in solving international problems and relations between states.
The Islamic Republic of Iran puts mutually cooperation with all states as a priority in order to establish and develop economic relations with neighboring countries, including the states of Central Asia, the European Community and the leading nations of the world, the credibility to the country in the world, implements a policy of non-confrontation. It should also be noted that the first successes in the implementation of a new foreign policy had a political character. Continuation of this course - the development of economic and trade relations between Iran and other countries helped to strengthen the position of the IRI in the international arena.
This policy allowed defusing tensions in relations with a number of states, and thus met the interests of security and stability in the region, created the conditions for the development of mutually beneficial economic relations of Iran with many countries around the world.
Globalization and the Politics of IRI in the field of human rights. The main parameters of foreign policy are based on the Constitution. Taking into account the importance of the principles of respect for human rights, of course, given the Islamic identity and values, the Constitution of IRI legislatively consolidates basic norms and principles of human rights and defines them as one of the defining principles of foreign policy.
Another important ideal of the Islamic Revolution is the protection and support of liberation movements; and this principle is consolidated in the country’s Constitution. This support is a symbol of the Iranian people's solidarity with the world movement for independence and freedom, including the power of dictatorship. The absence of diplomatic relations between Iran and the racist regime in South Africa in the years of apartheid and the occupation regime of Israel is the evidence of this principle in Iran's diplomatic relations.
Establishment and development of relations with the states and governments of newly independent states, as set forth by the will of the peoples in these countries, is a manifestation of respect and Iran’s observance of the principle of human rights’ protection in the international arena.
The Islamic Republic of Iran in its relations with the outside world proclaims the ideas of social justice, the fight against all manifestations of oppression and tyranny, the respect for freedom and human dignity and the protection of the interests of oppressed peoples around the world. These values form the basis of the IRI's foreign policy. Each of these ideas in practice means the protection of human rights at the international level, but the basic idea of those rights protecting is to protect the interests of all Muslims, the development of relations with the democratic regimes, the support for the struggle of oppressed peoples against their oppressors’ modes, etc.
As it was noted above, the principles of human rights’ protection are reflected in the Constitution of IRI and form the basis of foreign policy of the country, and in the context of globalization and the increasing interest of the international community to the issues of observing human rights worldwide, IRI aims to actively participate in international organizations on Human rights. In addition, Iran expresses its own vision of a human rights issue at the international level, the essence of which is to condemn the unilateral approach of the West, when a human rights issue is considered from the standpoint of their culture and law.
On the other hand, since the 90s of last century the Islamic Republic of Iran in its foreign policy strategy has been mainly based on maintaining active participation in international organizations. In the first years after the victory of Islamic revolution, Iran's leadership pursues the course of self-removal from solving international problems and passive participation in international organizations. But since the 90s of the last century, such policy could not serve the interests of the country. As for the new understanding of the human rights issue, the IRI aims to overcome one-sided Western approach to this problem, human rights issues should be considered from the standpoint of the culture of all peoples, they should be universal, meet the interests of all peoples of the world. For this reason, the IRI has been actively involved in the work of The United Nations Human Rights Council.
After the end of the "cold war" a number of states, including Islamic Republic of Iran opposed the global formulation of the human rights issue. Iran took a proactive stance among these countries. Iran considered the submission of the human rights issues at international level as the Western countries attempt to impose their understanding to other countries, and thus to dictate the rules of behavior in the international arena, and also as a means of introducing Western culture and Western way of life. At the UN Conference on Human Rights that was held in Vienna in 1993, the Iranian delegation said: "Iran stands for a serious and deep debate on human rights issues, because the main problem of Western countries is in their unilateral understanding of human rights, and that is why they failed to develop a general idea, supported by other countries. "
Then the Iranian delegation said: "The West wants to act as an arbitrator, judge, prosecutor and jury on human rights issues. At the same time the West serves as the legislative body, which has the right to comment on this law. "
IRI stands for the change in the essence of the human rights issues, because the existing laws, governing these matters, were developed in the confrontation between East and West, during the "Cold War", and this opposition influenced the understanding of the problem. For example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948; many of its regulations are obsolete. For this reason, Iran supported the development of new versions and editions of the fundamental international legal instruments, regulating human rights. The regulations of these international instruments should not be a dogma. There is the need to develop a system where would be an atmosphere of cooperation and understanding instead of controversy and confrontation.
IRI efforts in the international arena aimed at setting a new issue of human rights, releasing it from the west diktat and the Western way of thinking, so that the human rights issues meets the interests of all peoples of the world and doesn’t become an instrument of influence of the West for world domination.

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