Iran in the World
By Srimal Fernando, Global Editor, The Diplomatic Society & Prateek Joshi
The oil rich nation of Iran has tapped its natural gas and oil reserves, second and fourth largest in the world respectively to diversify its economic base to include research and development. The Iranian automobile industry is the largest in West Asia with one of the brands ‘Iran Khodro’ having a global presence through joint ventures. The automotive industry contributes almost 10 per cent to the GDP. The Iranian cement industry is considered the fourth largest in the world.
Even in the field of defence Iran has made great strides in the production and manufacturing of defence systems, which has contributed to the rapidly growing telecommunication industry.
Photo: Iranians celebrate the nuclear agreement with world powers -Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammon, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L to R) pose for a group picture at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015.
Iran has been home to one of the world’s oldest and powerful Persian civilization and two religious faiths, namely Zoroastrianism and Baha’ism. The influence of Persian culture was so immense that it extended to Greece in the west and to the Indian subcontinent in the east. Later, the Persians embraced Islam but retained their civilizational heritage, that is, their Persian language, literature, customs and many other traditions.
The political climate of Iran took a sudden turn in 1979, when Shah Reza Pahlavi was ousted by the Islamic revolutionaries and replaced by the Supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini. Soon after, in 1980, a war broke out between Iran and its neighbour Iraq. It continued for eight years and drained Iran of resources which could have been better utilized.
Iran’s nuclear program was placed under scrutiny soon after the United Nations misguided occupation and devastation of Iraq.
The Azadi Tower, formerly known as the Shahyad Tower, is a monument in Tehran City
As a result, international pressure grew immensely and stringent economic sanctions were cast against Iran by the United States of America (USA), United Nations Security Council and the European Union. Despite this Iran successfully defended its nuclear program against the P5 + 1, (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, plus Germany), after 20 months of negotiations. According to Iranian diplomats, who claimed a victory, Iran’s economic base which withstood the sanctions, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s credentials as a progressive leader, who guaranteed the bona fide intentions of the nuclear programme, and the skilful negotiations of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif along with his team of diplomats should be credited for the successful outcome known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The agreement will allow for inspection of the nuclear program while economic sanctions are lifted, unblocking access to oil and gas markets and international asset holdings. The proposed construction of new oil and gas supply pipelines can now go ahead creating fresh economic activity.
Conceived in 2002, the International North South Corridor will open trade between India and Russia via central Asia. Iran forms a vital link for goods transported from India via the Arabian Sea. A railway line to Afghanistan has also been proposed.
It should be noted that in May 2015, a few days before the official signing of the nuclear deal, the Government of India signed a US $195 million Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iran to develop the strategic Chabahar Port in Iran.
Travel and tourism is also a key sector for this country that is steeped in history and traditions of ancient culture and art.