The Tehran Foreign Policy Studies Quarterly

Editor's Note

Hossein Safdari

Editor's Note 


Authority and Power

Authority is the basis of the sovereignty of the states and governments and the political and social powers can't exert their willpower in the absence of the needed authority and would inevitably get involved in struggles, conflicts and instability in political arenas. Authority is one of the most efficient examples of spiritual influence and is closely intertwined in concept with the influence and possession of power infrastructures. Authority is basically the accepted power by the public opinion and hardly anyone allows themselves to oppose or stand against it. Authority isn't merely the hard power and the ability to force others to do things; it is essentially a combination of power, wisdom, influence, and the capacity to impact accepted and officially recognized by others. 
Currently, the authority of democratic regimes –which is based on people's satisfaction and their right to rule (democracy)- is far more influential than the authority of dictatorships. Governments managing their domestic and foreign relations with reliance on their authority and spiritual influence will pay far less costs to administer their affairs and have more spectacular accomplishments compared with those reliant on hard power and their military capacities. Considering this framework, we can conclude that gaining power doesn't necessarily produce authority; power is only one of the factors leading to it. 
Using power in two or multi-lateral relations and in international arenas takes different forms and patterns including: 
Deterrence: deterrence is intended to both avoid and prevent any invasion or strike by the enemies. The advantage to deterrence is showing the ability to threat retaliation against the enemies' assets and the readiness maneuver for giving a decisive response to any sort of invasion, violation or any measure jeopardizing the national security or interests. 
Defense: the purpose of defense is to repel attacks and decrease the damages caused by any kind of invasion by the enemy; defense is in fact a response or reaction to the enemy's act. 
Coercion: coercion is intended to force the enemy to do or stop doing something against their will in order to protect national interests or security. 
Psychological maneuvers and measures are intended to demonstrate power-making capabilities and capacities leading to accumulation of power and prestige of a state; these measures may follow some goals regarding deterrence, defense and coercion in a covert way. 
Power is definitely one of the factors leading to authority; however, it needs to be confessed that power acts as the "head" for the "body". Power has some other components such as bigger population, larger territory, stronger government, a more consistent regime, military capabilities, economic abilities and capacities and so on and so forth. But, the following factors play key roles in enhancing power infrastructures in each country: 
A larger population is somehow a guarantee of great power status. Countries with rapid population growth can act more strongly in international arenas. 
Capable, willful and high-achieving managers and leaders who can conduct and manage different equations such as political, social, cultural, scientific and also foreign and domestic relations wisely, bravely and sympathetically. 
Economic strategic capacities such as natural resources, raw material, mine etc. 
Military power and domestic defense mechanisms and independence from other powers to maintain security and defending national independence. 
National solidarity and strong willpower to advance grand national goals. 
The Islamic Republic of Iran enjoys all the components of power and has proved its authority by standing against the United States' oppressive approach. Basically, Iran has combined power and wisdom to prove its influential power in regional and international equations and convince everyone of that power. The regional stance of Iran and the spectacular capacities of the country have improved Iran's authority in global equations and its ability to resist America's arbitrary policies. In fact, Iran has such a remarkable authority that the White House has been forced to act with caution against Iran's defense or vindictive approaches. America's cautious reaction against Iran after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps shot down a United States surveillance drone on 20 June 2019 is an example of this assertion. The White House's weak and cautious reaction to Iran's missile attack on al-Asad Airbase on 8 January 2020 is also an example of their acceptance of Iran's power to strongly react to any kind of threat. This considerate and circumspect reaction has been unprecedented in the US relations with other countries of the world since the Second World War. The same theme is implied in the Second Phase of the Revolution, a statement issued by the supreme leader in February 2019: 

"The Islamic Revolution of the Iranian nation has been mighty, but merciful; forgiving and even oppressed. It has not committed any of extremist and deviated acts that have marked many other uprisings and movements with stigma. In no conflicts—not even against the United States or Saddam Hussein—did it ever shoot the first bullet and, in all cases, it defended itself after the enemy's attack; of course, it blew the defensive strike vigorously. Since its inception, this Revolution has never been merciless nor has it ever shed blood; it has neither been passive nor hesitant. Standing assertively and courageously against bullies and thugs, it has defended the oppressed. This revolutionary bravery and gallantry, this honesty, assertiveness, and sovereignty; this global and regional realm of action in support of the oppressed of the world represent a source of pride for Iran and the Iranians, and may it persist eternally!"
The animosity of the United States of America with Iran stems from the fact that Iran has been extremely victorious in introducing a successful model of political system which has been widely accepted by other nations because of its reliance on people (religious democracy), independence, and a particular emphasis on the expansion of justice. The Islamic Republic of Iran has not only introduced this model, but has been advancing in different areas of science and technology and defending its interests and accomplishments. These capabilities aren't exactly compatible with totalitarianism and oppressive approaches and therefore angers the United States. Hence, hostility and malevolence against the Iranian nation has become a second nature to all the American politicians. This blemish derives from two main sources: first, the feebleness and inefficiency of the instruments to exert power in America, which is deprived of advancing its strategic goals in spite of having the component of power. Second, the Iranian nation's capability and power in forcing their will against American statesmen's will and intentions which has, in general, broken the old power balance in Iran-US two or multi-lateral equations. In fact, the inability to move its policies forward against the Islamic Republic of Iran has made the White House resort to violent yet empty stances in order to supposedly intimidate the Iranian people. It's basically why the American authorities regard Iran their biggest challenge. 
Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations said in answer to the Fox News reporter's question, "We should be concerned about Iran; frankly, right now Iran is the biggest problem and issue we are dealing with." 
It may be the question of "what is behind Iran's authority –in spite of all the failings and material limitations compared with the US" which has baffled the American presidents and made Iran so great in their eyes to the point that they wish Iran could never see the fortieth anniversary of the Islamic revolution. 
The Americans know that the Islamic Republic of Iran has increased the parameters of its power in spite of all the economic limitations imposed on the country from the US. Iran has also enhanced the deterrence capacity in defense department by updating its native capacities; Iranian ballistic missiles can hit any target in the range of 2000 km. Iran's defense system can even observe and identify the micro air vehicles (MAVs) and shot down the American drones. The country has impressive achievements in nanotechnology and peaceful nuclear power. 
The speed and big leaps of military power or technology in Iran is undeniable, but what has really contributed to Iran's authority is first the native nature of science – such as nanotechnology, rocket science or the science of peaceful nuclear power- which has rendered all the powers powerless in impeding or limiting the advancements in Iran, because the science is etched in the soul and brain of all the Iranian scientists and will only be optimized. And, second, the psychological resilience of the Islamic system and Iranian strong people against the foreigners' threats and pressures; this resilience is the ability to cope with the crises and the toughness to spring back into shape after all the pressures and hardship unfairly imposed on us by the US. These pressures included the economic pressures, sanctions, pharmaceutical limitations and all the medical and hygienic restrictions imposed on us especially during the covid-19 pandemic which requires medical and hygienic commodities more than ever. 
What has added to Iran's awe-inspiring status in front of the United States is the people's resistance and toughness which should never be taken for granted. Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is solely in debt to the resilience of Iranian people and not any other foreign power coveting to occupy this holy territory. It is this internal power source bestowing authority to the country and forcing the enemy to err on the side of the caution. The wise leader of the Islamic Revolution reminded us in the Second Phase of the Revolution statement –where he was listing all the blessings of the Islamic Revolution- of:
"The magnificent and glorious epitome of rising up against the bullies, thugs and arrogant powers of the world—led by the criminal and warmongering U.S.A.—grew more prominent day after day. During all these forty years, Iran and the Iranians—particularly the youth of this land—have been known as never surrendering and always safeguarding the Revolution, its divine magnificence and its pride against arrogant, haughty states. The hegemonic powers of the world—that have lived on trespassing the independence of other countries and plundering their vital interests in order to fulfil their evil intentions—have confessed to their weakness in the face of the Islamic and Revolutionary Iran. In the lively ambiance of the Revolution, the Iranian nation managed to first expel the puppets of the United States, the agents who betrayed the nation, and since then, the Iranian nation has vigorously prevented any domination over the country by bullying powers." 
From the renowned theorists' point of view, the Islamic Iran owes its authority to the Iranian nation's resistance and resilience and the resilience-teaching attitude of the leader of the regime who has taught resistance to the Iranian society over the years by always reminding them of these two verses in Quran: "Believers, if you aid Allah, He will come to your aid and will plant your feet firmly", and "If God helps you [believers], no one can overcome you". 
The Iranian nation has reached many high summits with this attitude and stepping in the path of producing power and increasing authority and the Islamic Republic of Iran is just getting ready to gain more accomplishments and more effective achievements in the regional and global equations.

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