Explained: What is Protecting Power?

News:Iranian government has registered its protest with the Swiss Embassy in Tehran after the killing of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone attack carried out by the United States.


About Protecting Power:

  • A protecting power is a country that represents another sovereign state in a country where it lacks its own diplomatic representation.
  • Switzerland represents the interests of the US in Iran.This is because the US itself does not have an embassy there. 
  • In an arrangement such as this,Switzerland is the Protecting Power of the United States interests in Iran.
  • The instrument of Protecting Powers is provided for under the 1961 and 1963 Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations.

Vienna Convention 1961:

  • The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 is an international treaty that defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries. 
  • It specifies the privileges of a diplomatic mission that enable diplomats to perform their function without fear of coercion or harassment by the host country.
  • It also says that if the diplomatic relations are broken off between two States, or if a mission is permanently or temporarily recalled then the sending State may entrust the protection of its interests and those of its nationals to a third State acceptable to the receiving State.

Vienna Convention 1963:

  • The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 is an international treaty that defines a framework for consular relations between sovereign states.
  • The convention says that sending State may with the prior consent of the receiving State and at the request of a third State not represented in the receiving State undertake the temporary protection of the interests of the third State and of its nationals.