North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) which was established in 1949 by the United States and its European allies to create a defensive shield against the Soviet Union was in a state of confrontation with its rival military alliance during the Cold War, although this confrontation never led to a war. However, since the first days of the Soviet's collapse and dissolution of Warsaw Pact, the necessity of NATO's survival was discussed in political, military and academic circles. It was widely expected that with the lack of any justification for NATO's existence, this military organization would be dissolved. But subsequent developments in the 1990s, especially the conflicts in the Balkans not only kept it alive but also prepared the way for its expansion with the annexation of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in 1999. Then, in another move in its enlargement towards the east, NATO accepted the membership of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia in 2004. NATO's enlargement towards the East and giving a new definition of its missions and tasks brought about a harsh reaction from Russia. But, the September 11 events and Russia's alignment with the U.S. in its struggle against international terrorism set the stage for closer cooperation between Russia and NATO in the framework of "Russia – NATO Council". Thereafter, NATO's activities were facilitated in Central Asia and the Caucasus. A more important event in this regard was the expansion of NATO's operations in Afghanistan and taking over the command of the U.N. forces (ISAF) there in 2003. In fact, this was the first NATO's operation beyond its traditional environment in Europe.

In addition to the importance of abovementioned developments, it is worth noting that NATO's new operations have been mostly taken place in Iran's security environment. The importance of this issue required that it would be discussed from various aspects. Therefore, along with the research activities of Foreign Policy Research Department, conducting a research on NATO's operations and its impact on Iran's national security deemed necessary. This collection aims to provide the means for a better understanding of developments in NATO and activities in Iran's security environment.

The articles in the collection have been organized in three parts:

The first part entitled "The New NATO" includes three articles that surveys new politics in NATO.

The first article, entitled "The New NATO in International Equations", studies the current situation of the alliance following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the necessity of its reforms to adapt with the new situation at the international level. In this regard, the article reviews new relations between Europe and the US after the Cold War and the U.S. emphasis on sharing the burden of responsibilities with the European countries. Finally, the article argues that the U.S. wants that Europeans to take greater share in NATO's new policies and activities in terms of financial and operational affairs. On the other hand, NATO's new activities have brought about the reaction of countries like Russia. The article studies the views of both sides (i.e. NATO's countries and Russia). In this regard, given the conflicting views among NATO's members and Russia's political circle about the full membership of Russia in NATO, the author concludes that neither Russia nor NATO are yet ready to accept this happening.

The second article, entitled "Russia's Foreign Policy Orientation towards NATO" identifies and analyzes Russian foreign policy towards NATO's enlargement. The existence of different values and at the same time common goals between Russia and NATO have made the author to put forward different scenarios on bilateral relations between these two international actors. This article argues that geopolitical identity governing Russian foreign policy, on the one hand, and Russian pragmatism, on the other hand, has led Russia to accept NATO's enlargement towards the east but to prevent this security pact to gain influence in its peripheral regions and buffer zones.

The third article, entitled "The New Strategic Framework in Relations between Russia and NATO", studies relations between Russia and NATO. This article describes cooperation between Russia and NATO in the framework of "Russia – NATO Council", and analyzes its impact on the two sides. In fact, after September 11 events and global war against terrorism, a new mechanism for cooperation between NATO and Russia has been advanced. This article studies NATO's engagement with Russia from three European, American and Russian points of view.

The second part of this collection addresses the issue of "NATO's presence in Iran's security environment" and comprises of five articles. This part tries to study the impact of NATO's policies and operations on Iran's security environment.

The first article, entitled "Emergence of the New NATO and Its consequences for Asia and Europe", the author tries to study the impact of NATO's new activities including acceptance of new members or implementing new plans such as "partnership in Central Asia and the Caucasus" are especially studied. NATO's presence in the Caucasus and Afghanistan has entered it into a new era characterized by the expansion of its operational field beyond Europe. Turkey's membership in NATO as well as NATO's special relations with the countries located in the east and north of Iran has made NATO a neighbor of Iran. This necessitates a kind of institutionalized or official interaction between Iran and NATO.

The second article, entitled "Challenges Facing NATO in Afghanistan: Some Options" addresses NATO's activities in Afghanistan. This article discusses NATO's efforts to redefine its scope of activity including its operations in the framework of ISAF. This was among the most important issues discussed by NATO Summit in Riga, Latvia in 2006. NATO's operation in Afghanistan is an issue which has been attracted the attention of Iran. This article indicates opportunities and threats facing Iran's security interests.

The third article, entitled "The Uncertain Metrics of Afghanistan", is a summarized version of an article written by Anthony Cordesman, a senior fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The author studies the current situation in Afghanistan and the role played by the U.S. and NATO in bringing stability into this war-stricken country. The article analyzes NATO's activities in Afghanistan and finally presents some recommendations for NATO's operations in Afghanistan and for a U.S. success.

The fourth article, entitled "NATO and the Middle East" studies NATO's enlargement and acceptance of the observer status of some Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Israel in NATO and its impact on regional security environment. NATO's presence in Iraq envisioned by NATO officials gives special attention to NATO's Middle East activities. The author focuses on NATO's presence in the Middle East region ant its impact on Iran.

The fifth and last article of this part entitled "NATO's Relation with the Republic of Azerbaijan" addresses one of the most important areas for NATO's activities located in Iran's security environment. In fact, the Republic of Azerbaijan's interest to establish extensive relations with Western sides, especially the U.S., has led its leaders to cooperate with NATO and even membership in it. However, it seems that there are still many obstacles to accept the Republic of Azerbaijan's membership in NATO, so that NATO prefers to define its cooperation with this country in the framework of participative plans.

The third part of the collection includes a roundtable entitled "NATO's presence in Afghanistan" which was held at the Foreign Policy Research Department of the Center for Strategic Research (CSR).

Here, it is necessary to express may gratitude to all dear professors and researchers who contributed to this collection. Also, I am extremely grateful to Ms Afsaneh Ahadi for her efforts in the preparation of this collection.



Dr. Mahmood Vaezi

Part One

The New NATO

The New NATO in International Equations

Nasser Saghafi Ameri

Russia's Foreign Policy Orientation towards NATO

Dr. Davood Kiani

The New Strategic Framework in Relations between Russia and NATO

Dr. Ali Fallahi

Part Two

NATO's Presence in Iran's Security Environment

Emergence of the New NATO and Its Consequences for Asia and Europe

Nasser Saghafi Ameri

Challenges Facing NATO in Afghanistan: Iran's Options

Strategic Studies Research Group

The Uncertain "Metrics" of Afghanistan

A Summarized Version of Anthony Cordesman's Article

NATO and the Middle East

Dr. Hamid Hadian

NATO's Relations with the Republic of Azerbaijan

Afsaneh Ahadi

Part Three


NATO's Presence in Afghanistan