An online meeting of Iran and Indonesia, entitled “Webinar on 7th Session of Dialogue for Political Planning between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Indonesia” was held on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, under the auspices of the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS) and the Policy Analysis and Development Agency (PADA). The speakers at the webinar were Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpoor, president of the IPIS; Seyed Majid Ghafelebashi, IPIS vice-president for research; Mohammad Khosh Haikal Azad, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s ambassador to Indonesia; Ali Akbar Nazari, director of the ASEAN bureau at Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Kayhan Barzegar, university professor of international relations; Siswo Pramono, Director General of the Policy Analysis and Development Agency of Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Jatmiko Prasetyo, Director of South and Central Asian Affairs at Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Priadji, Chargés d'affaires ad interim at Indonesia’s embassy in Tehran; Purna Cita Nugraha, Deputy Director of Directorate for Middle-Eastern Affairs; Derry Aplianta, Second Secretary of Directorate of ASEAN Socio-Cultural Cooperation at Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ersan, Second Secretary of Directorate of Asia-Pacific and Africa Intra and Inter-regional Cooperation at Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry; and Dyah Lestari Asmarani, Director for the Center of Policy Analysis and Development of Asia-Pacific and African Region at Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry.
The first part of the webinar revolved around the world affected by the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences on the international relations and the foreign policy of the two countries. Participants in the second part of the panel discussion, entitled bilateral relations and regional cooperation with the focus on West and Southeast Asia, answered the following questions: 1) How will the post-coronavirus world look and what are the future prospects and possible scenarios for the world? 2) Will the pandemic have systematic impacts on international relations, or will the world be facing just another short-term challenge? 3) What are the latest developments in Southeast and West Asia? 4) What are the main challenges in dealing with the obstacles to peace and stability in the Persian Gulf region? 5) What are the economic stances of the ASEAN member states in future?
The main discussions held in response to those questions were as follows:
The outbreak of COVID-19 is the major challenge that many nation-states are facing in the current circumstances. The problems caused by the crisis have led to instability in the political, economic and social spheres, aggravating the pre-coronavirus troubles of the countries. Strategically, the outbreak of coronavirus has not had a considerable impact on the international system in the short term, but we may see geopolitical changes in many regions in future.
The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Indonesia are celebrating the 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations. As two Muslims nations, Iran and Indonesia share common and close interests in many international subjects and crises. At the bilateral level, the two countries have cooperated broadly in various fields over the past 70 years, such as the political, economic, commercial, cultural and scientific arenas. The results of such process has been obvious in international cooperation, reciprocal supports in the international organizations and circles, and the Islamic world issues. Known as two major and influential countries in the Islamic world and members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation, Iran and Indonesia have always played a significant role in resolving the conflicts, tensions and disputes among the Muslim states in cooperation with each other, and have employed diplomatic approaches and peaceful solutions to settle those crises.
The emergence of regions and growing significance of regionalism after the Cold War have prepared the ground for regional cooperation among the countries. The Islamic Republic of Iran has adopted the regional multilateralism approach and the policy of pivot to East in order to strengthen relations with the Asian countries. By pursuing this policy, the regional countries will be able to not only meet their demands in the fields of energy, minerals, industrial goods, medicine, health etc., but also to address the regional and international problems, such as terrorism, unilateralism and human rights issues. The existence of certain regional organizations, like the ASEAN and the ECO, has always enhanced regional cooperation between the two countries.
The rise of Asia does not mean the rise of China alone. After the trade war between China and the United States, most American companies have relocated from China to other Asian countries. The shape of US-China relations and the formation of political, economic and military competitions between the two powers have forced the US to seek confrontation with China after coming under pressure in the political and economic arenas, in order to prevent the decline of its power at the global level. Since the form of relations between the two countries could be regarded as the most important influential factor in the formation of new global structure, an appropriate analysis of relations and rivalries between the two big powers could have suitable and proper impacts on the relations among the countries and the regional relations. The US’ measures in recent years, such as the illegal withdrawal from the JCPOA, imposing sanctions and maximum pressure on Iran, and its bid to extend an arms embargo on Iran have faced opposition from 13 member states of the UN Security Council, whose rotating presidency was held by Indonesia. The recent measure by the UN Security Council member states and the international community is seen as a logical approach adopted by the international actors for saving the international agreements and protecting multilateralism.