Expansion of NATO Territory in the Baltic Region, the Black Sea, and Eastern Europe, and its Consequences for Islamic Republic of Iran

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor of Political Geography, University of Tehran

2 Associate Professor of Political Geography

3 Ph.D. in Political Geography from the University of Tehran


Following the foundation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949, while trying to keep the Russians in a anticipatory limbo, the Americans deeply involved, and the Germans neutral, NATO has so far shifted its security priorities twice. The first shift took place in 1999 when Warsaw Pact’s priority shifted to identifying new threats, cooperation opportunities, and associations with former enemies, and the second happened in 2010, resulting in its concurrent accompaniment by the priorities of collective defense, crisis management, and common security. This recent shift led to the establishment of the third generation of NATO, causing the organization to be present outside its traditional region more than before. By providing the most comprehensive interpretation of its existence, NATO is present in all parts of the world and engages in various military, security, political, social, cultural, environmental, scientific, and even sports activities with various political units. This trans-geographical presence of NATO, accompanied by the creation of formal organizational structures, has made the organization to be directly and indirectly present in all borders of Iran, a presence that has irreparable impacts on national security as well as the regional role of the country, not only in the short term but in the future also.
Accordingly, this article tries to examine the quality in which the boundaries of this organization are expanding in the geopolitical regions in the far north of Iran, where the authors are trying to proceed using the concept of geopolitical territoriality. The main question of the research is “How is NATO expanding its territory in the Baltic Region, the Black Sea, and Eastern Europe?” Post-Soviet Union power vacuum, enormous sources of energy, and racial and ethnic diversity in these areas, have given them double-fold importance. In response to the present question, the authors believe that "NATO is trying to preserve and extend the sovereignty of liberal values of democracy and free market as the driving force of contemporary global order by utilizing the strategies of expanding official political boundaries, expanding unofficial political boundaries, humanitarian missions, defense and security cooperation, and expansion of its organizational and administrative offices. In this way, it can further expand its territories through a long-lasting presence in the Black Sea, Russia, and the geopolitical regions of the Baltic Sea and Eastern Europe in the far north of Iran.” It is noteworthy to mention that regarding the research background, in spite of a general shortage of geopolitical studies on NATO in domestic literature, a lack of research and studies focusing on its new approaches based on different regions and states is strongly felt.
The research is fundamental, collecting its data collection via library resources and documentary research. The data analysis method is deductive reasoning and the data evaluation approach is based on critical rationality.
Results and Discussion
In a geopolitical clarification, NATO is expanding its territory. In other words, NATO is trying to expand its geographical value outside its original region to preserve and expand the sovereignty of liberal values ​​of democracy and the free market, as a driving force behind contemporary global order. This means territoriality. Accordingly, a review of NATO's documents and performance as well as its leaders’ speeches show that they have adopted some approaches to this end, which include:
A: Expansion of official political boundaries
B: Expansion of participatory political boundaries
C: Defense and security cooperation
D: Expansion of organizational and administrative offices
The planning and operation of NATO's territorialization and territoriality projects as a military-security institution that pursues the protection of liberal values of democracy and the free market clearly contradicts the slogans and objectives of the Islamic Revolution of Iran. These agendas are manifestly in conflict with the discourse of the Islamic Republic as well as the geopolitical territorialization of our country. It is evident that neighboring this organization, which is not only present on the northern borders of Iran, but also on the eastern, southern and western borders, has its consequences for Iran's national security. Given these interpretations, the expansion of NATO's sphere of influence in the geopolitical areas of Russia, the Baltic Region, the Black Sea, and Eastern Europe, though without any common border with our country, poses challenges to our country’s national security in different dimensions such as:

Political consequences
Trade and economic consequences
Military and security implications
Cultural and social consequences

Finally, the authors recommend that a great deal of attention should be paid to the national security of the country and pertinent authorities have to show more attention and supervision to the consequences of the organization's geopolitical territorialization. Therefore, the following operational proposals are offered in this regard:

Bilateral and multilateral talks with NATO official and unofficial members located on the northern borders of Iran on the subject of “the damages of NATO’s expansive territorialization to the national security of Iran and the challenges lying ahead of the bilateral or multilateral relations”,
Strengthening our security and intelligence presence in the countries of the northern region of Iran, in which NATO is active, with the aim of monitoring and observing the activities of this organization,
Holding specialized and international conferences on the issue of the damages of NATO's territorialization in the northern borders of Iran and its contribution to increased crises of Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Caspian region, and
Further efforts to introduce NATO and its multiple scientific, cultural, political, economical, military, social and artistic elements in Iran's scientific and academic literature which has been seriously neglected so far.


Main Subjects

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