The first national conference of Iran and the neighbors was held on Monday, January 24, 2022 with cooperation from the Institute of Islamic World Future Studies (IIWFS) and the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS).
At the conference, Dr. Seyed Yahya "Rahim" Safavi, President of the institute of IIWFS, Dr.Vahidi, Minster of the Interior, Dr.Khandouzi, Minister of Economic Affairs, Dr.Mohammadhassan Sheikholeslami, Research Deputy of Foreign Minister and president of IPIS, and Dr.Jalal Dehghani Firoozabadi, as secretary of the conference were in attendance and mad speeches. The conference was held in two morning and afternoon parts in the form of speeches and specialized meetings.
Here are the major topics raised at the conference:
Following welcome to the attendants, Dr.Mohammadhassan Sheikholeslami raised this matter that the concept of neighborhood as utilizing the geographical opportunities was to be specially analyzed for foreign policy. A successful foreign policy, as the agenda of the 13th administration, reduces the mutual neighbors’ security concerns and the costs of countering the enemies and propagates the Islamic revolution’s values. The minimum expectation of this policy is non-coordination of neighbors with the enemies. This policy provides a lot of economic, communication, security and cultural opportunities. However, a neighbor need not necessarily be on the border and the elements of neighborhood, extent of neighborhood, and dynamism of neighborhood are worth to be examined. In the recent two years, the IPIS has conducted research in this regard and in interaction with IIWFS has held the Conference of Neighborhood Policy.
Also, Dr. Seyed Yahya "Rahim" Safavi stated that the applied-science conference was a combination of specialist professors and state executive officials to achieve the desired conditions. A new era has begun in Iran’s foreign policy, and this condition has made passive the domestic and foreign agents. Iran, to the analysts, media, and international professors is the undeniable prominent actor of the region. The main aim of the conference was reaching common understanding with the neighbors against all types of threats and creating opportunities for their nations; including utilizing the capacities of tourism, exports, bank tariffs and reducing customs tariffs, providing defense documents and non-hostility with the neighboring states. Iran, after China and Russia, has the most neighbors and its unique geographical position has made it special in the geopolitical and geostrategic areas. We are witnessing the shift of world’s center of gravity from west to east.
Dr.Vahidi, Minister of the Interior, stated that conferences of this type had a positive role in the discursive-making of the Neighborhood Policy, and mutual perception-building among the neighbors operationalize it. In the upstream and strategic documents of the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the Vision Document, Preparation Policy, Economic Resistance Policy, while considering Iran’s international and global vocation, the regional Policies and Neighbors have a special status. In this between, there are problems that must be in the general concept expanded on the bed of discursive dialogue of the elite and the governments. Shared regional identity can play a major role in consolidating this policy.
Dr.Jalal Dehghani Firoozabadi, as Scientific Secretary of the conference, pointed to the coordination of the Iranian academic community in holding the Neighborhood Conference. The specialized panels are centered on ten pivots, whose articles are comprised of 600 pages. Also, he stressed the necessity of formulation of the Neighborhood policy in the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially the 13th administration and further stressed that such conferences for understanding and creating joint perception of the stages and barriers between the Academic Society and executive organizations were beneficial as well as needed for foiling the Iranophobia and de-Iranization project. The operationalization stages of this policy include: first, making unity, and next, determining the nature of the Neighborhood Policy, and third, a national will for implementing them. It has to be noted that the shared interests must be included in this policy as well as attention to the joint threats.
Also, Dr. Seyed Yahya "Rahim" Safavi stated that Iran had managed to keep its geopolitical weight in the region. And in case order was restored among the neighbors, realization of the Neighborhood Policy would be more achievable. In addition, he pointed to the continuous efforts for holding the conference in the last two years with the cooperation of the IPIS institute of foreign ministry.
Dr.Khandouzi, Minister of Economic Affairs, hinted at the fact that the Resistance Economy stressed endogenization for stability and extrovertism for maximum exploitation of the foreign capacities. Therefore, introvertism and extrovertism must be considered simultaneously. The Islamic Republic of Iran, given its geopolitical position, can by utilizing the Neighborhood Policy deepen its weight and status and reduce the amount of its influenceability from the unfolding events. Also, through linking to the 15 neighbors, Iran can act as a corridor of communication. The needed strategies for implementing the neighborhood Policy include: reduction of dependence on the sanctionable banking and financial systems, establishing 5 trade hubs in the Iranian economic poles in the neighboring countries, speeding the agreements and facilitating visa issuing.