How do you assess the participation of the Iranian foreign minister in the Munich Security Conference? What goals will Amir-Abdollahian pursue during his trip to Germany?
The Munich Security Conference and the Davos Annual Summit are among the most important annual gatherings in the world, in which countries try to express their security, political and economic positions, and use the opportunity to consult and discuss issues of mutual interests with other countries on the sidelines of the meetings.
The Munich Security Conference has become very important in recent years due to the presence of more heads of state and delegations. Amir-Abdollahian's visit to Germany and participation in the conference will definitely have considerable benefits for Iran.
The negotiation on the Iran nuclear deal revival, which has reached a critical state these days, is one of the important issues.
There are a number of different issues between Iran, Europe and the United States, including Iran’s nuclear program, which need to be resolved. It seems that the presence of Iran’s top diplomat in Germany is aimed at negotiating and bargaining with European, Chinese and Russian parties.
In addition, the Munich Security Conference is a good opportunity for Iran’s public diplomacy to announce its positions on the nuclear issue and other political and security issues to the public opinion in the world.
Unlike the previous rounds of nuclear talks between Iran and the world powers, the new round in Vienna has not been widely covered by the media, and so there has been an imbalance between Iran and the European and Russian sides in providing more details about the negotiations. It means that the Russian and European sides are giving more information about the talks than the Iranian side.
However, in recent weeks, the foreign minister and Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council [Ali Shamkhani] have repeatedly announced Iran’s positions regarding the issues being discussed in the talks. But, the presence of the Iranian foreign minister in Munich is important in terms of informing the public opinion and world leaders of the Vienna talks and the positions of the Islamic Republic through an international and important forum.
The announcement of Tehran’s stances, of course, is not limited to the nuclear issue, and Amir-Abdollahian can consult with other countries and express Iran's positions on political and security crises in the region and other parts of the world.
Security in the Middle East is one of the major concerns of countries in the region and trans-regional powers. Do the Western countries, China and Russia believe in Iran's political and security capabilities to play a positive role in the region and can cooperate with Iran in this regard?
This is a good question. The biggest problem in the Middle East is security, and the efforts made over the past decades have not led to the establishment of a stable security system in the region.
In the 1990s and after the end of the Cold War, there was optimism that the region might be able to move towards the establishment of a security system, but we saw that these efforts failed. Later, the Iraq war and the US invasion of Iraq took place, and the region fell into a chaotic situation again. And later, crimes committed by the Daesh terrorist group, wars in Libya, Iraq and Syria have made the security more fragile in the region.
Given the current situation — the reduction of the US military presence in the region, its withdrawal from Afghanistan and the reduction of its forces in Iraq — it seems that a new atmosphere has been created in the region, and the regional countries are trying to use this opportunity. Some of these efforts are in Iran's favor and some against. For example, the so-called "Abraham Accords” and subsequently the normalization of relations between some Arab countries in the region with the Israeli regime are not in favor of Iran.
Therefore, there are many security issues in the region, such as immigration, security of shipping lines, security of energy transfer, civil wars in some countries, etc.
Logically, Iran is a key player in the region, and the big powers and even regional powers want to know Iran’s stance and how they can cooperate with it under the new circumstances.
Do regional and trans-regional countries accept Iran as a regional power?
Iran has political and security capabilities in the region, and Westerners and countries in the region know it. However, it is a long-standing debate among the Western parties to recognize Iran as a regional power. Americans, specifically, had designed their policies based on containment of Iran, and this had provoked a reaction from Iran. Therefore, Iran took a series of measures to maintain its security, which were interpreted by the West as destabilizing. The main issue is that Europeans are evaluating whether the situation is prepared for cooperation with Iran or not. On the contrary, Iran is seeking to bolster its economic and security cooperation with the regional countries in the region’s new situation. The policy adopted by Iran’s current government is the policy of good neighborliness and the expansion of economic relations.