FM Zarif’s Statements on Iran’s Scientific Potential
Iran’s foreign minister has hailed the Islamic Republic’s scientific potential, saying the country can make its presence felt in international scientific arenas.
In a Monday speech at the Taribiat Modares University in Tehran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif elaborated on scientific diplomacy as well as the scientific and technological opportunities facing the country. The following are highlights of his remarks:
With the recent developments in the field of science and technology, the range of the audience has expanded in terms of number and complexity. On the other hand, thanks to science and technology, public opinion is no longer controlled by a specific part of the ruling elite. At the moment, the cyberspace is capable of creating different currents in the foreign policy domain, and that is why its vulnerability has increased as well.
One of the ways in which universities can help the foreign policy apparatus is by using the necessary tools to control the domain of science and knowledge. The reason is that the wealth of knowledge available onlinecannot be used promptly and efficiently. On the other hand, the massive amount of inconsistent information has practically turned into a problem in the way of decision-making by politicians. Moreover, the country needs science and technology when it comes to international relations. The establishment of consistent international relations to absorb foreign students and making use of Iranian universities’ achievements can be among areas of cooperation between the Foreign Ministry and universities in the country.
The lifting of bans on education for Iranian students in certain majors in foreign universities is one of the accomplishments of the nuclear deal signed by Iran and six major world powers known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
At the moment, it is possible for Iran to be present in different international scientific arenas. Iran is currently capable of absorbing and exporting science, and the Islamic Republic’s activities in scientific arenas in foreign countries will help the country make its presence felt in the world.
The key duties of the Foreign Ministry in the fields of exports and imports are as follows:
1. The export of non-oil commodities
2. The export of technical and engineering services
3. The export of efficient manpower
1. Absorbing tourists
2. Taking in foreign investment
3. Importing science and technology
Iran Relies on Domestic Potential for Development, Security
Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif also touched upon the fact that the Islamic Republic relies on its own capacities and resources for its development, security, and legitimacy, while regional states have an outward look in this regard.
Here are highlights of his remarks on the issue:
We live in a world littered with developments; a world where concepts and tools are not static. Back in the 19th century, they would speak of concepts such as the “absolute ruler.” There were rulers who had absolute sovereignty over people. But then came the transition period following the Cold War, and today the state of being a super power is no longer a determining factor in international relations, and governments are not the absolute determiners in international ties. Rather, new non-state actors have emerged that used to be active in the economic domain, but now are operating in security and political fields. Some actors, like the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, have a positive performance, and some, like the ISIS, have a negative performance. Moreover, the diversity of tools of power used to be another determining factor in international relations. In other words, the quantity of munitions and military equipment was a yardstick against which to measure the power of a country. Later, economic power was added as another determining factor. Nevertheless, today other parameters have been added to the requirements of power for a country. And all these factors together increase a country’s leverage. Therefore, growing influence and dwindling vulnerability are among the factors which determine a country’s power.
The regional powers have an outward look in order to gain legitimacy, security or both. At the moment, these countries are either supported by a foreign country or expect to receive such backing. The progress and security of these countries depends on foreign states. However, what makes Iran stand out from the rest in the region is that it, firstly, has people who highly value independence, and secondly, as the country has always been under threats by foreign states since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, it relies on domestic potential.
Iran relies on local resources for development, and looks to its own people for its legitimacy and security. So, Iran is capable of increasing its power with reliance on domestic potentialities and resources.
In transitional periods, usually they speak of the time when countries would emerge or be annihilated. In other words, some countries come into or go out of existence during specific periods of time, such as former Yugoslavia which is non-existent in today’s world. So a precise calculation of the time situation would determine the path on which a country is to move ahead. Therefore, countries such as Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Libya under Muammar Qaddafi, and the division of Sudan into northern and southern parts are a few examples in the current era. In fact those countries are no longer high-profile states because their leaders had gone to extremes in their policies.
At the end of his speech, Zarif took part in a Q&A session attended by professors of Tarbiat Modares University. The Iranian foreign minister also received a plaque of appreciation by the chancellor of the university.