13 Items

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

How Does Religion Really Influence Iranian Nuclear Policy?

| November 18, 2014

"It's true that the regime sometimes makes decisions that seem irrational to outside observers. But this is not generally due to religious belief but rather to the fact that the regime's interests and the national interest do not align—for example, Iran and Israel have many common strategic interests, yet Tehran has adopted anti-Israeli rhetoric and policies since the 1979 revolution. This stance may not serve national interests, but it certainly advances the Islamic Republic's interest in a strong, external-enemy narrative."

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Fundamental Reassessments Required

| July 8, 2013

Initiating a process for discussing WMD remains feasible. But more than dates and modalities for a meeting in Helsinki are needed—fundamental reassessments are required as well. First, all parties must recognize that progress toward a WMD-free zone will require policy changes in areas only indirectly related to nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and their delivery systems. Second, Israel must begin to grapple in its national security strategy with certain long-term regional trends. Finally, the Arab League, Iran, and the sponsors of the WMD-free-zone process—if they truly wish to prioritize banning weapons of mass destruction—should support the establishment of a regionally-based security forum, with independent convening authority, to carry out direct multilateral discussions on regional security and disarmament.

Foreign ministry officials from Iran, right, Afghanistan, left, and Pakistan, center, attend a meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan, Jan. 16, 2010. They were meeting to discuss a range of issues: extremism, terrorism, & bilateral and regional security matters.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - Iran Review

Regionalism in Iran's Foreign Policy

| February 8, 2010

"The second perspective focuses on the globalization and technological importance of the West, arguing that in the process of globalization and development, Iran needs expanding ties with the centers of science and wealth-creation in the West. From this perspective, forming regional coalitions or Iran's involvement in political and security issues of the Middle East, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, in a contradictory way will only go to further complicate Iran's relations with the West and will impede the country's development."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, (C), welcomes the Iraqi delegation, as Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, (R), and Iraqi parliament speaker, Ayad al Samarraie, (2nd L), introduce them, in Tehran, Sep. 29, 2009.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Ortadogu Etutleri

Iran, the Middle East, and International Security

| July 2009

"In the years since the September 11 attacks and the onset of crisis in Iraq, Iran's consolidation of its political-security role in the Middle East, and its impact upon regional and international security systems has been the focus of attention in international and Middle East security studies. The prevailing view in the West and the Arab world is that new political-security and geopolitical developments have changed the balance in regional power and political structure in favor of Iran. Accordingly, this situation has had negative effects on the United States' strategic interests, its regional allies in the Arab world, and on Israel's position. During recent decades, preserving a 'balance of power' policy between the regional actors has been the basis of American foreign policies in the region, especially in the Persian Gulf. The recent developments have unbalanced power equations in favor of Iran."

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, left, shakes hands with his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, prior to their press conference, in Tehran, Iran, Sept. 16, 2008.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Viewpoints

The Geopolitical Factor in Iran's Foreign Policy

| January 29, 2009

"Revolutions either expand to export their ideologies or preserve themselves from the outside world. The 1979 Islamic revolution of Iran is no exception. A careful reading of Iran's actions in the region shows how and why Iran has shifted its policies to meet the latter aim. Since the revolution, Iran's leaders have faced the challenge of balancing their ideological (idealism) and geopolitical (pragmatism) approaches to foreign policy. Gradually, the Iranian leadership has come to focus on the geopolitical factor in the conduct of foreign policy; today, ideology one factor among many other sources of Iran's power, and serves the aim of preserving Iran's national security and interests...."

Iranian soldiers carry coffins with the remains of Iranian soldiers killed during the Iran-Iraq War, Nov. 30, 2008. The remains of 200 Iraqis and 41 Iranians were returned to their native countries during a ceremony at a border checkpoint near Basra.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Middle East Policy

Iran's Foreign Policy in Post-invasion Iraq

| Winter 2008

"Many at the grassroots level of Iranian society want good, stable relations between Iran and Iraq because of their cultural-religious priorities, which include having the freedom to visit the sacred cities of Karbala and Najaf. This strong interest exists on the Iraqi side, too. In summer 2006, for instance, some 3,000 visas were issued daily by Iranian consulates in Baghdad, Basra and Najaf for Iraqi pilgrims to visit Mashhad and Qom and other sacred places inside Iran. Since the opening of borders following the removal of the Baathist regime, the Iranian government has been under pressure to preserve an adequate amount of cooperation with Iraqi authorities to secure the routes of pilgrims to the Shia areas and to provide public services. Simultaneously, the families of those who lost their lives in the Iran-Iraq War would like the government to pursue a policy towards Iraq that ensures that the victims were not killed in vain. It is worth noting that the painful memory of the war pervades Iranian society, thus affecting policy options. Trade with Iraq is also a priority. Iranian merchants and businessmen consider certain parts of Iraq, especially predominantly Shia areas such as Basra, to be ideal markets for Iranian exports. Some estimates consider the range of economic activities about $5 billion annually."

Shiite Bahraini demonstrators hold posters of top cleric, Sheik Isa Qassim, June 19, 2008, in Bahrain. About 10,000 Shiite Bahrainis peacefully protested published remarks scornful of Qassim & claiming he wants to turn Bahrain into a satellite of Iran.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Brown Journal of World Affairs

Iran and the Shiite Crescent: Myths and Realities

| Fall/Winter 2008

"In 2004, King Abdullah of Jordan warned about the emergence of an ideological Shiite crescent from Beirut to the Persian Gulf. Ever since then, the debate on Iran's intentions to create a Shiite crescent has been a significant topic of debate for the panels and conferences held on the region's issues. Three presumptions center on Iran's role and intentions. A Shiite crescent is seen by the Arab Sunni elites as an attempt by Iran firstly to engage the masses in the region; secondly, to build an ideological belt of sympathetic Shiite governments and political factions in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and the Persian Gulf region; and, thirdly, to expand its regional role and power. These explanations are inadequate and unrealistic; none of them are compatible with Iran's real aims and strategies."

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, left, meets with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Tehran, Iran, June 9, 2008.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Iranian Journal of International Affairs

Iran, New Iraq and the Persian Gulf Political-Security Architecture

| Winter 2007-08

This article investigates the necessity of establishing a new political-security arrangement in the Persian Gulf region in the light of new political developments in the region after the 2003 Iraq crisis. The author argues that following the recent political-security changes in the region and with the shift of Iraq's role from its previous threatening position, together with the prospect of building a friendly coalition between Iran and Iraq, the formation of new political-security architecture is inevitable in the Persian Gulf region. The new arrangement has to be based on the new political-security, cultural and economic realities. The author also argues that the nature of security threat in the region has changed. Under the new circumstances, instead of hard inter-states rivalries, the security challenges are more centered in human security and nations' political demands and expectations. Dealing with these new situations requires establishing mutual cooperation in the region.

An Iraqi Shiite Muslim shouts slogans after Friday prayers in the Shiite holy city of Najaf.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Heartland: Eurasian Review of Geopolitics

The Shia Factor

| 2008

The new rivalry between two main Muslim communities is the result of the political developments in Iraq. The pragmatic relationship between Iran and the Shia factions in other countries. The fears of Sunni regimes of a Shia crescent moon.