Writing the Note for the third issue of the Iranian Review – IRFA – as in the case of the previous issue is certainly a matter of pleasure and pride, not only for me, but for all of us – the IRFA family. The fact that we have succeeded in taking the third step along an intrinsically difficult path and, more importantly, with the same sense of mission and devotion, and remaining faithful to the quality we have promised to provide and maintain, cannot but be reassuring to all of us. That in itself makes the burden on our shoulders, especially looking to the future, all the heavier  .

The feedback we have thus far received from our growing readership, in Iran and elsewhere, both from Iranians and others, has indeed been encouraging, and has helped us improve the Journal. This notwithstanding the fact that as a young English-language journal published in a non-English-speaking country and ambiance, we have had to grapple with the inevitable constraints of outreach at the initial stages of a new publication. We have relied – thus far - on the Website for outreach, connecting us – the Journal – to its readers everywhere. The hard copy for the first two issues has been distributed so far in Iran only; its distribution outside of Iran, an original goal of our endeavor, requires certain institutional preparations that take time – to say the least  .

As we continue to throw the net far and wide to invite and solicit contributions for our future issues – which can be made in three forms; full-length articles, book reviews, and short analytical essays – we will have to explore, at a more institutional level, practical ways of improving the outreach. Some initial steps have been taken in this direction, which we hope – and expect – will help the Journal reach its intended interlocutors and all those who look for serious objective analysis on Iranian foreign affairs. All suggestions in this regard to help improve the outreach will be very much appreciated. Under the circumstances, we hope a wider readership for IRFA would bring some depth, however modest, to the less-an-ideal state of communication and dialogue  .

With these brief introductory words, as in the previous two issues, I turn to the contents of this issue. The issue has managed to bring together seven articles, a book review and a short analytical note, written by a good mix of Iranian diplomats and academics and also two Western analysts. The first article looks into the Russian-Iranian relations in the context of the three-partite Tehran Declaration on uranium swap deal. In the second article, an Iranian academic explores the rationale for the recent turn to Latin American countries in Iranian foreign policy. In the third article, an American analyst discusses the concept of “mutual respect” in Barack Obama’s personal outlook, especially in so far as it relates to his Iran foreign policy. The next article, by an Iranian academic, undertakes to explore the roots of the heightened tension between Iran and the US since 9/11. The fifth article, by another Iranian career diplomat, deals with the recent NPT 2010 review conference and tries to analyze the rationale behind the US focus on Iran’s nuclear program. The sixth article, also by an Iranian diplomat, analyzes the legal-political factors accounting for the slow progress in Iran’s application for accession to the World Trade Organization. And in the last article, a Scot academic at an Iranian university looks into one of UNESCO’s conventions on diversity of cultural expressions and discusses its benefits for Iran. The first book review, written by the Journal’s Editor, reviews a recent major work on multilateral diplomacy (in Persian) authored by two career Iranian multilateral diplomats. The second book review, practically more in the form of a short analytical note, introduces an Atlas of the Persian Gulf Maps – a tribute to the historical name of the body of water lying to the south of the Iranian plateau .