The victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran under the leadership of Imam Khomeini ® led to a modem transformation in the context of Iranian political issues including both the domestic and foreign policies. On the domestic dimension, there are changes in the government structure, way of managing the country and entrusting the affairs to the people while on the foreign and international dimension, there are the behavioral and normative changes. Both dimensions can be summed up as basing on the pure Muhammadan Islam. Thus, the Iranian foreign policy after the Islamic Revolution has generally differed from what were current and prevalent during the former regime. These changes are caused by the guidelines, which the late Imam used to express in decrees and directives, messages and admonitions, writings, speeches, and interviews on different subjects and events.
In this article we intend to examine some important and influential instances of his ideas and viewpoints in the realm of foreign policy on different conditions and circumstances. Before embarking on the main discussion, I deem it appropriate to touch first on the description of politics and the elements of foreign policy from Imam Khomeini’s viewpoint.
Definition of politics from Imam Khomeini’s viewpoint
“Politics is that it should guide the society, find its way, consider all the interests of society, and guide them to that which is for their welfare.” “Politics means management of the country based on the religious and spiritual welfare of the people.”
Elements of foreign policy from Imam Khomeini’s viewpoint
Generally, the following elements in the context of foreign policy can be inferred from his speeches and opinions:
1. Non-reliance on the global powers, which has been manifested in the Imam’s policy of “Neither East nor West”;
2. Negation of domination and subservience to domination;
3. Preservation of the existence and territorial integrity of the country, and observing the long-term interests of the system;
4. Invitation toward the monotheistic values and fundamentals of Islam;
5. Defense of the integrity and reputation of Islam in the international gatherings;
6. Expression of sympathy to the downtrodden of the world and inviting them to unite with one another;
7. Invitation toward the unity of Muslims;
8. Strategic campaign against the Quds-occupying regime;
9. Harmonious coexistence and forging of equitable and friendly relations with countries of the world and negation of isolationism: and
10. Introduction of Islam as a comprehensive, perfect and practical religion.
It is necessary to explain that a number of these elements have been abundantly discussed in books, articles, university theses, interviews, and others. Detailed explanations concerning them have been given and almost everybody is familiar with them. In this article, there is an effort to avoid repeating redundancies. Instead of those that have been said, those that have not yet been said will be dealt with. It is also tried that this paper be free from repetitive and boredom subjects. The subjects that have been rarely discussed or generally remained uncharted terrain will be treated instead.
Isolationism or active participation in international relations
One of the principles on which the Imam used to stress in the realm of foreign policy was the policy of “neither East nor West”. Regarding the concept of “neither East nor West” policy, as it has been earlier explained in many books and essays, we will thus avoid repeating it. We will only deal on the aspect of incorrect understandings of this principle.