The Geopolitical Explanation of Iran’s Foreign Policy in Persian Gulf Region Regarding Fossil Energies

Document Type : Original Article


1 -Associate Professor of Political Geography, Tehran University, Tehran, Iran

2 -M.A Student of Political Geography, Tehran University, Tehran, Iran

3 - M.A Student of Political Geography, Tehran University, Tehran, Iran


Foreign policy is defined as theoretical bases and behavioral patterns of a particular government to obtain and clarify national rights and security from and for official and unofficial players in international arena. An individual can study foreign policy in different levels such as local, regional, continental, and global. Persian Gulf is a unique region which has been one of the main targets of Islamic Republic of Iran's foreign policy for several reasons. This means that, in addition to the existence of Southern long boundaries, other geopolitical phenomena in this region has caused more meticulous use of foreign policy means. Huge fuel resources and their accessibility for all other countries in the region have added significance to Persian Gulf more than anything else. The existence of shared gas and oil fields, competition for marketing and sale, and competition on being the most influential in decision making process in OPEC and foreign investment in this section has caused this geopolitical phenomenon (fossil fuels) to have a remarkable effect on foreign relations of the countries locating in the region.
The research methodology adopted is descriptive- analytic and the data- gathering procedure is library and field finding.
Although there are naturally some challenges for Iran’s foreign policy regarding Persian Gulf and fossil energy, but they are rather political in nature than technical or legal. Sometimes these challenges have been created as the result of imperfect impression of concepts like security and sometimes as the result of ideological factors or competition to gain power in the region, but they are to some extent surmountable per se and have the potential of turning into constructive opportunities because the two other power-creating factors namely geo-culture and geo-economy possess the capability of resolving geopolitical conflicts such as energy issue. The Results of the research suggest that in those systems which involve a highly specific distinctive factor such as fossil energies, interfering forces will interfere aimed at making their own benefits. Beside of the posing obstacles, these forces tend to escalate existing problems in the region. Consequently, fuel resources have turned into a locus of foreign policy conflict between the US and Islamic Republic of Iran related to the US role playing in the region.  In Persian Gulf region, issues related to energy are different in nature. Sometimes, shared field has been the source of these problems and other times competition over production and related issues. Also, the nature of Iran's relations with other countries is variable. Ultimately, after a holistic examination of the three approaches so-called contrast-based, rapport- based, and competition-based regarding Iran's foreign policy toward energy issues, we tried to analyze these challenges. In general, on the one hand, in 20-year perspective horizon, oil-gas industry which is considered as relative advantage for the country, require a large amount of investment in order to precipitate national development. On the other hand, global market needs role playing of Iran the area. Therefore, any approach to foreign policy should be in the direction to the Iran's reaching at the position of superior power in the region in 1404. The aforementioned approach ultimately has been reflected in national development.
The regional competition in Persian Gulf on fossil energy pivots around three issues:
Shared gas-oil fields in 4 regions in Persian Gulf; In Persian Gulf, Iran possesses several shared oil-gas fields with neighboring countries. There is an intense competition among countries in the region over utilizing these resources. The results show that naturally every country's effort is made toward maximizing their benefits from these resources. In addition, political conflicts between Iran and the interfering forces have made these competitions intensified. 
Competition over amount of production among Persian Gulf countries; the nature of ongoing conflicts among oil-powers is similar to political conflicts than economic competitions. Because of the matter, it is worth to emphasize that oil market and OPEC will be influenced by these conflicts. Consequently, this factor will affect foreign policy adopted by these countries. Among Persian Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia is the biggest oil producer in OPEC and Iran ranks second in this area.
The competition over OPEC presidency among Persian Gulf countries; also, competition over the occupying general secretary position by Iran, not only has improved Iran's image in the international arena, but also Iran will undertake general secretary position. Because of Iran and the US conflicts on the one hand and competition and even enmity of some Arabic countries towards Iran from the other hand has posed obstacles for Iran to reach at such a position.


Volume 10, Issue 35
September 2014
Pages 56-75
  • Receive Date: 01 June 2013
  • Revise Date: 21 November 2013
  • Accept Date: 18 March 2014
  • First Publish Date: 23 September 2014