Document Type : Research Paper
PhD student in political geography, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
Assistant Professor of Political Geography, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
The geography of transportation is to study the geographical areas on which transportation is done and includes water-based and land-based strips as the main routes. Although the history of the carriage dates back to "human antiquity", the most important documents in the field of transport go back to the Silk Road. This route, which dates back to the second century BC and was commercially viable for almost 1800 years until the sixteenth century, represents Marco Polo's long journey from Venice to China for decades on the trade route between Europe and Asia. In fact, the transportation and transit of goods and passengers was "land-based" in the past, but today independent political units to expand their economic power, in addition to the land-based view, put sea transportation on their agenda and international corridors by sea, land and combination of its results. So that today more than 80% of world trade is done through sea transport, and, this type of transport is the main axis of the global economy. Transportation corridors are physically defined as a combination of routes that connect economic activity centers in one or more neighboring countries. From the point of view of the Railway Cooperation Organization, an international corridor is the international transport network that uses railways, waterways and roads for the international transport and transit of goods. This type of transportation should be done with the least possible time and high economic efficiency. Today, international transport corridors connect countries on all four sides of the map, the most important of which are the North-South Corridor, the East-West Corridor or the New Silk Road (China's One Belt one Road Initiative) and the EU TRACECA Corridor. The main issue of the present study is the systematic study of Iran's role in international corridors from a geopolitical perspective, and since research in this area is poor, we decided to complete this study. Here we review the literature on the role of transit of Iran and related issues.
The present study is of a fundamental and theoretical type that, by presenting the Hypothesis of "Iran, the heartland of the world's corridors", tries to analyze the geopolitical role of Iran in international corridors. The method of data collection in this research is documentary and library, and the method of data analysis is descriptive-analytical.
Iran, with its geopolitical foundations that are influenced by its geography, has always been considered by the countries of the world, especially the world powers, and in terms of geographical location, it has been located in the connection of different civilizations, nations and ethnic groups and geographical regions, and has facilitated the interaction between the civilizations of Sindh and Punjab, Mesopotamia and Transoxiana. This country has been considered as a crossroads of civilizations since ancient times and has had a very good position in terms of sea and land. Iran was also at the heart of the ancient land Silk Road, linking Oriental civilization to Western civilization and being a communication route for extensive interactions on the one hand, and great wars on the other.
Iran is located in a unique geographical position, acting as a bridge between Africa, Europe and Asia, connecting India and Russia in the north-south corridor; Connecting Asia and Europe in the East-West corridor; Connecting Central Asia, the Caucasus, Turkey and Western Europe in the TRACECA Corridor; Connecting Southeast Asia to northwestern Europe in the South Asian Corridor; The link between ECO members as well as Central Asian countries to the high seas and the Persian Gulf is considered in the Ashgabat agreement. In fact, Iran is in one of the best geographical locations in the world, playing a combination of geopolitical, geostrategic, geoeconomic and geotransit roles in Southwest Asia.
Iran's geographical position Due to its connection with the high seas and its position between the two powers, naval and land, in other words, Riemland's position in the geopolitical theories of global strategy has created a transit position for Iran, These features make communicating with Iran and crossing its space inevitable. Communicating with Iran and crossing its space has been done mainly with two main goals: first, socio-economic goal to provide goods, materials, thoughts and ideas, people and means of transportation through Iran. This is what is being interpreted as "Iran's communication role" and has been stable from the past to the present. Second, the military goal that has been achieved with the aim of occupying Iran and occupying the territories beyond Iran.
Iran, with its geopolitical foundations that are influenced by its geography, has always been considered by the countries of the world, especially the world powers. Today, the geographical-transit situation of Iran has not only not declined, but with the construction of international corridors and the revival of the Silk Road, and its location in the heart of the world's most vital corridors, it has become a special geopolitical situation. In fact, Iran, as the heartland of the world's corridors, is the axis of connection between East and West through the OBOR initiative (New Silk Road) and north and south through the connection of South Asia to the north of the Eurasia (INSTC). It also provides transit links between Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Northern Europe, the Caspian-Central Asia and the Caucasus on the one hand and South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Far East, Oceania and the Persian Gulf on the other. In addition to being located in the geographical center of the ECO member countries, it is also the shortest and most economical route for the landlocked states to reach the ocean waters, which is reflected in the Ashgabat Agreement. This geo-transit position of Iran in the 21st century global geopolinomical system, which relies on geographical-political-economic resources centered on ports and corridors, can provide Iran with many playing cards in regional and global power games. This will be achieved if attention to Iran's special role in international corridors is paid to it as a geopolitical code is on the agenda of Iran's foreign policy.