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Iran Likely To Be Left Behind If ‘New World Order’ Emerges – OpEd

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By Maria Maalouf *

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Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei last week announced that “the world is on the threshold of a new world order” and that Tehran would have a strong role in creating it. This was the message the most senior cleric in Iran delivered to students enrolled in Iranian universities. In the past, Khamenei has addressed his remarks about the future of global politics to Iran’s Assembly of Experts. This time, the audience was different.

According to Khamenei, there are many students who attend universities in America who loathe the imperialist instincts of the US. He admonished his audience to start getting in touch with these students to acquaint them with Iran and to let them know about its true character and attributes away from what he considered the bias of the Western media.

He put emphasis on what he considered to be the fact that Iran will be one of the leading countries in this “new world order.” He was predicting that this rearrangement of international politics would replace American influence. This is due to the fact that both capitalism and Western influence are eroding and, consequently, the decline of the US is inevitable.

This political prediction was made while Iran and the US are negotiating to reach an agreement over the former’s nuclear program. The supreme leader also said that America is becoming weaker day after day. And he established a nexus between the rise of a new global order and the war in Ukraine. Again, he advised the Iranian people to be ready for the emergence of this new world order. He characterized it as moving toward multipolarity and away from the bipolar or monopolar arrangements that have long dominated global politics.

However, Khamenei did not give details about the processes through which these radical changes will take place. He did not specify the role Iran will play in such a huge transformation of international politics. He did not list the losers and winners of the decline of America.

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The loss of America’s military power from the region does not necessarily translate into an enhancement of Iran’s nuclear power. The US will retain a big military prowess compared to Iran, which cannot afford to spend too much money on its military. This comes at the expense of the welfare of the long-suffering Iranian people. Any system of interstate relations depends on the big military power that manages it. But Iran will not be able to overtake America’s military power since the US is a formidable military nation. Incidentally, Khamenei did not explain how the war between Russia and Ukraine will change the foundations of international politics.

Perhaps Iran will try to engage with other countries in the world, especially after the lifting of sanctions against it. But it could be rebuffed in its attempt to increase the level of contacts it has with the outside world. Most countries know that the Iranian state is a sponsor of terrorism. They are also fully cognizant of the fact that Iran suppresses its people and that it is not a democracy. Tehran cannot hide its terrible human rights record from the rest of the world. If Iran is a case of a failed political regime, how can its foreign policy be a catalyst for wholesale changes in relations among nations?

The world knows that Iran’s foreign policy has a peculiar goal, which is regional dominance and the disruption of the coherent social and political fabrics of many societies. One more time: How can it be a leader in international circles when its diplomacy is based on the harming of other states’ national interests?

Most likely, Iran will find it sufficient to be a member of diplomatic gatherings such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, of which it is currently an observer state. However, if China and Russia were to reject Iran’s full membership bid, it would be a slap in the face for Tehran’s leaders. It would send the message that, despite Iran talking about its pioneering role in changing the direction of international relations, even the two nations that support it most will not allow it to become a full member of an important regional association of states. Iran cannot effect change in international politics on the basis of an anti-American coalition of nations.

Khamenei’s statement made a prediction about the future of global politics. However, Iran has nothing good or positive to contribute to an improved system of relations between nations.

  • Maria Maalouf is a Lebanese journalist, broadcaster, publisher and writer. She has a master’s degree in political sociology from the University of Lyon. Twitter: @bilarakib

Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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