NSTletters 'In Iran’s development programmes, foreign policy plays an important role.'
LETTERS: Iran has important historical, cultural and economic importance. Its geographical location between east and west gives the country a geopolitical importance in the modern world, particularly among Muslim countries.Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani presenting Teheran’s views during the KL Summit last December. - NSTP file pic February 20, 2020 @ 12:01am LETTERS: Iran has important historical, cultural and economic importance. Its geographical location between east and west gives the country a geopolitical importance in the modern world, particularly among Muslim countries. 41 years ago, the people of Iran decided to determine their own progress, planning developmental frameworks by themselves without the influence of foreign powers. It became a historical milestone for Iranians, taking the form of the Islamic revolution. Fundamental to this historical transformation were independence, freedom and the Islamic Republic, supporting the rightful demands of Muslims particularly on the issue of Palestine and a necessity of achieving comprehensive and sustainable development. After 41 years, it seems we can evaluate the achievements of the Islamic Republic in shaping local development. In Iran’s development programmes, foreign policy plays an important role. The adoption of independent policies without being influenced by foreign powers has freed the minds of Iranian elites from the prison of colonial narratives in foreign policy. Leading Malaysian sociologist, the late Professor Seyyed Hossein Al-atas, in his book Captive Mind, emphasises the liberation of the human mind from the captivity of the mindset. In the light of freedom of thought due to the revolution, Iranians are able to choose their economic and business partners by looking East and specially Southeast Asia because of the historical and cultural commonalities. Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country and in its Constitution, Islam is the official religion. Malaysia is also a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and its foreign policy is based on her own historical and cultural values. After World War 2, Malaysia has taken great strides in nation building and sustainable development. It is now recognised as an advanced Islamic country in the world above many other Muslim countries. Being a friendly and brotherly country, as well as being a Muslim-majority nation, all these have been taken into consideration by Iran. Iranians believe that both countries share similar experiences on their development paths and can work together in order to fulfil their ideals. Over the past two decades, Iranian tourists to Malaysia have increased and vice-versa. Cooperation on scientific and cultural and economic fields are other important aspects in the relationship between both countries. In light of the cultural, political and economic capacities of Malaysia and Iran, both countries will be able to create a bridge between the East and West of the Islamic world and cooperate for a better development of Muslim nations. ALI SALEMI Public diplomacy consular officer, Iranian embassy, Kuala Lumpur The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times Related stories Read more: New Straits Times
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