Foreign Policy Blogs

Top 5 List: Favorite States of the Iranian Government

If Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were to make a list of countries that he loves right now, I would imagine his list would be very similar to this:

5. Iraq: For stealing the spotlight away from Iran.

This week, Iran and its nuclear program took the backseat as the American policy makers watched the Iraqi election anxiously. The big questions on American policy makers’ mind was will this election pave the way for the U.S. government to withdraw its soldiers from Iraq.  An answer that Iran might hope will be not any time soon. If Iraq once again became the “problem child” of the Middle East, it not only gives Iran more leverage against the United States but also diminishes the changes of the United States militarily striking Iran.

4.  Qatar: For signing a security cooperation pact with Iran.

This pact is nothing more than a promise that the two countries will cooperate in the campaigns against illegal drugs, smuggling, forgery, and money laundering, but it must be nice to know that despite all the efforts by the U.S. to make Iran a pariah in the international realm, Qatar is willing to cooperate with Iran. Ahmadinejad’s day must certainly have gotten better after hearing what the Qatari prime mister had to say. Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani stated Iran’s right to nuclear technology should be respected and Qatar supports Iran’s peaceful nuclear energy program. He also said Qatar will not allow any country to interfere in its relations with Iran.

4. Turkey:  For publicly criticizing sanctions against Iran.

Top 5 List: Favorite States of the Iranian Government(Photo taken from Al Jazeera)

Recep Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, cautioned against further UN Security Council sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program during a visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He told the journalists that “I don’t believe that any further sanctions will yield results,” adding that earlier rounds of sanctions “have never yielded results.” Plus the fallout from the US “Genocide” Vote is sure to benefit Iran. As the relationship between the U.S. and Turkey sour, there is less pressure on Turkey to support any U.S. led sanctions. This is especially good news considering the fact that Turkey is one of the ten non-permanent members right now in the Security Council.

2. Brazil: For rebuffing U.S. pressure for Iran sanctions.

Top 5 List: Favorite States of the Iranian Government(Photo taken from NPR)

During a visit from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Brazil dismissed a U.S. appeal for new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, vowing not to “bow down” to gathering international pressure. According to NPR, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva pre-empted Clinton even before she could make the case for new United Nations Security Council penalties. He told the reporters, “It is not prudent to push Iran against a wall. The prudent thing is to establish negotiations.”  What makes these statements even more important is that Brazil is also one of the ten non-permanent members right now in the Security Council. Brazil might even replace Venezuela to become Iran’s favourite Latin American country.

1. China: For also rebuffing U.S. pressure for Iran sanctions.

As senior American diplomat James Steinberg arrived in Beijing for talks on Iranian nuclear program, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang stated, “We call for a resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic means. We believe there is still room for diplomatic efforts and the parties concerned should intensify those efforts.” But why is Brazil # 2 on the list and China is #1? The answer is very simple: China is a permanent Security Council member. Without China’s support, the U.S. cannot pass a United Nations sanctions resolutions on Iran. Especially, with Russia signaling that it would consider new sanctions against Iran, China’s position against sanctions has become even more significant.



Sahar Zubairy

Sahar Zubairy recently graduated from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas- Austin with Masters in Global Policy Studies. She graduated from Texas A&M University with Phi Beta Kappa honors in May 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. In Summer 2008, she was the Southwest Asia/Gulf Intern at the Henry L. Stimson Center, where she researched Iran and the Persian Gulf. She was also a member of a research team that helped develop a website investigating the possible effects of closure of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf by Iran.