Shifting from fossil to clean energy sources is a major global challenge, but in particular for those countries with substantial fossil-fuel reserves and economies depending on fossil-fuel exports. Here we introduce an improved framework for renewable energy planning and decision-making to help such countries to more effectively harness their abundant renewable energy resources. We use Iran as a case for the analysis. The framework includes identifying and removing barriers that prevent the use of renewables. It is based on combining two models: Benefit, Opportunity, Cost, Risk (BOCR) and Analytic Network Process (ANP) models. In the analyses, the mutual weight of strategic criteria is employed such as technology, economy, energy vulnerability, security, global effects, and human wellbeing. Using the integrated model, we find that solar energy would be the preferential renewable energy source for Iran. Also, the role of infrastructures, policies, and administrative structures in renewable energy to facilitate their development was analyzed. The renewable energy policy-making framework presented is applicable to other countries as well.