The Islamic Republic has a checkered history when it comes to how it perceives and pursues relations with other states. The revolutionary rhetoric notwithstanding there are there powers of logic driving its foreign policy than just a revolutionary ethos.
This panel will explore various aspects of Iran’s foreign relations, from the underlying logic of Tehran’s own understanding of its foreign policy goals and methods, to how it is received and understood by other state actors.
- While there are striking continuities in the narratives of the Pahlavi monarchy and the Islamic Republic explaining and justifying an Iranian nuclear programme, Ariane Tabatabai’s paper will explore the religious element as a distinguishing element of the Islamic Republic’s pursuit of nuclear technology and its justification to the outside world.
- Dina Esfandiary will examine how the GCC states understand and perceive Iran's regional foreign policy. Here narratives of identity (ethnic/religious) and ideology are relevant. These narratives are often employed in a binary form and thus exacerbate threat perceptions between state actors.
- Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi will analyse the relations between the Islamic Republic and one of its most important interlocutors, the European Union. In her paper she will analyse the interaction between the two entities and the phases their relationship went through. The question is to what extent are they actually taking each others position into account when interacting and to what extent are they constituting their general foreign policy through this interaction?
- Janne Bjerre Christensen’s paper takes the analysis of EU-Iran relations line step further by delving into the drug policy/diplomacy of the two actors. How has the different political winds in tehran affected its drug policy and in extension its willingness and ability to co-operate with international institutions like the UN and important political interlocutors like the EU? And conversely how has grand politics like the nuclear issue and sanctions affected the EU’s ability to pursue important anti-drug policies with a country like Iran?
Iran is a major driver of the Gulf Arabs’ regional and international policymaking. Fears of regional Iranian hegemony are longstanding. The ongoing conflicts in Syria and Yemen have only served to highlight and intensify this. Some states, namely Saudi Arabia, have reacted by counteracting Iranian influence through a multi-tiered rivalry, with geopolitical, economic, military, ideological, and sectarian aspects. Conversely, the Gulf States are only a comparatively small part of the world viewed from Tehran. Iran views itself as a natural hegemon over its neighbours, with a strong sense that its interests should be treated deferentially by others in the region. This paper will examine how the Islamic Republic of Iran’s relations with its Gulf neighbours is perceived in Tehran and in Gulf Arab capitals.