Economy, Domestic Economy

Presidential Advisor Lays Out a To-Do List

Presidential Advisor Lays Out a To-Do ListPresidential Advisor Lays Out a To-Do List

Iran has been a key player in the Middle East for millennia, yet the role it has played and its importance have changed over time.

Now that it is emerging from isolation and is reconnecting with the global economy, the question is: What makes a nation powerful? How will Iran define itself?

Mahmoud Sariolqalam, a presidential advisor, has pointed out 30 conditions of a good foreign policy for Iran. While he offers no reasons for support and does not elaborate, some of the arguments may have merit, TCCIMA’s news service reported.

The backbone of a modern power is its economy and Sariolqalam says the government should open the economy to the private sector to increase output. Iran needs an over 4% annual GDP growth for a decade and a $15,000 per capita income to prevent “big powers” from exerting pressure on it.

Nevertheless, Iran should foster deep economic relations and interaction with its neighbors. It should actively pursue exporting goods and services to neighboring countries, strike up relations between Iranian universities and their foreign counterparts.

“The best way to increase Iran’s power is to interlock its economy with its neighbors’,” says the advisor.

Here technology and science are central. Iran can cooperate with South Korea, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Singapore and the US on science and technology. He specifically singles out Europe for information technology cooperation.

Iran is emerging from isolation. The nuclear accord that limits Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for the removal of sanctions went into effect mid-January, ushering in a new era for Iran.

Sariolqalam says Iran must maintain a balance in its relations with China, Russia and the West, in other words between democracies and autocratic powers. Too much reliance on either side, both politically and economically has had bad consequences in Iran’s contemporary history.

There are countries on which Iran can rely as stable political partners. Iran has good relations with Germany, France and Japan, and none has tainted records in their dealings with Iran.

Sariolqalam says Iran should also do more to stop its best and brightest from leaving to test their fortunes abroad, noting that other than slowing the flight of human capital, the Iranian government should increase the role of media, invest in education and healthcare of poorer Islamic nations, and raise its cultural and scientific prowess.

Sariolqalam specializes in international politics of the Middle East, Iranian foreign policy and political culture. He is a member of International Studies Association and Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum.