Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the time.”
-Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)
The 14th of July, 2015 will stand as an important and crucial point in modern Iran history. In the said date, Iran and 6 nations (including 5 United Nations security council permanent members plus Germany) and European Union announced a deal to settle the Iran Nukes standoff.
I am not going to discuss the road map and content of the nearly 100 page document now available to everyone. This compromise remains a cornerstone in Iran’s contemporary history. The reason is very simple: This is the first time during last 300 years that we know exactly what we want and how to reach an optimum portion of our demands and rights.
Let me explain few summits of recent events in our history where we lost the game because we wanted to have the whole cake. Here go a few samples:
1. 19th August 1953 is a painful and disastrous day in Iran’s history. The so called Dr. Mossadegh national front government rejected all proposals for peacefully settling Iran’s oil industry nationalization. Dr. Mossadegh succeeded to unite the U.K and U.S against him. He dragged the country to chaos and portrayed himself as a martyr and national champion. Our diplomats had no skill to discuss the issue with London and Washington. We lost everything. and Dr. Mossadegh had no decisive will to fix the problem. His knowledge about international issues was poor. Still after 62 years there are a lot of Iranians, without any rational reasons, who view him as national hero. They mourn his anniversary and pretend that he is the one who got the rights of nation. President Harry Truman dispatched Averell Harriman (1891-1986) to Tehran before General Eisenhower took office on 20th January 1953 and suggested few positive alternatives to settle the dispute. Dr. Mossadegh refused to accept the realities and faced the consequences.
2. Security Council in its 2750th meeting on 20th July 1987 unanimously adopted resolution 598 (S/RES/0598(1987) to terminate the Iran-Iraq war. The resolution called for an immediate ceasefire and repatriation for the prisoners of war and withdrawal to the international borders. Although Saddam grasped at the opportunity, Iran only officially accepted the resolution exactly one year later on the 20th July 1988.The peace negotiations started the aftermath under the United Nations management, but Iran couldn’t lead the sessions. Now after 27 years, Iran and Iraq officially are in ceasefire conditions. Iranians and somehow Iraqis had (and still have) unrealistic anticipations of the said failed meetings. This is a very fatal and dangerous situation for both countries. Iran is not in the peace condition with one of its important neighbours. We failed to negotiate with Baghdad although there is a close relation between two.
3. American diplomat’s hostage taking in Tehran was one of the disastrous events in Iran history. The so called Conquest of the American spy den lasted for 444 days, starting from 4th November 1979 until 20th January 1981. For the first time the United States government imposed sanctions against Tehran. President Carter tried to release the hostages on 24th April 1980 and failed. Nevertheless the diplomatic doors remained open but Iran had no skill to curb this disaster and at the end of the day, Iranians accepted all conditions imposed by the new administration in the White House led by president Regan.
4. The recent agreement with 5+1+EU doesn’t mean that Iran never had willed to discuss and negotiate with others to protect her interests as much as possible. On 29th January 1942 Iran and the Soviet Union, plus Great Britain, reached an agreement and signed the “Treaty of Alliance”, the so called three party alliance. It was managed and directed by Mr. Mohamad Ali Foroughi; Iran’a distinguished and educated prime minister. Keeping in mind that a few months earlier on 25th August 1941 Iran was invaded by allied forces and occupied by them. When the Parliament in Tehran approved the deal, Iran was under the feet of soldiers from the allied forces. Foroughi resigned shortly thereafter on 9th March 1942 less two months after the adoption of three party alliances with the world super powers. He showed a brilliant skill in the negotiations. He was probably the first one in that time who realized the threat of the Soviet Union against Iran’s independence. In the said alliance treaty, the Soviet Union and Britain officially accespted to withdraw Iran immediately after the truce with Nazi Germany.
In Vienna, for the first time, the Iranian delegation acted in the same level of their counterparts in the Palais Cobourg summit. This is really unprecedented in Iran history. We used just to release empty declarations and shout useless slogans. This probably paved the road for the young generation of Iranian diplomats to read once again the real political essays and documents of Machavelli’s collected works. This Italian noble said that in any negotiation you should know what you are searching for, draw your goals clearly, and then find out what your counterpart or rivals want; by doing so you will most probably reach an agreement. Insn’t this exactly what happens in God Father Movies? Big Apple’s gangsters follows the texts of Machiavelli, this is the reason their business meeting were fruitful, although without a joint statement.
As general Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) once said: “There is no security on this earth, there is only opportunity.”
Negotiation is the very first tool and opportunity to secure the national interests and security. We are starting to learn more about this and discovering the might of negotiation.