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  • Author: Amir Sajedi
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: India and Israel share many common characteristics such as having emerged from a colonial past of the British Empire, and having a parliamentary system which encompasses moderate and radical forces. In spite of this shared background, for nearly four decades, India did not show interest in establishing complete diplomatic relations with Israel, and in general supported and voted for defense of the Palestinians and the Arab Middle-Eastern governments and for condemnation of Israel in world bodies such as the United Nations. However the broad changes in the world stage arising in the 1990's such as the break-up of the Soviet Union, the occupation of Kuwait by Iraq and the subsequent crisis in the Middle-East, the rise of the price of oil, the reduction in the remittances sent back to India by the returning Indian workers from Arab countries, and also the change of the political climate in India, the increase in support for the right wing (B J P) all changed the direction of the attitudes of most Indian politicians towards Israel. But developing Indo-Israel relations does not affect Indo- Iran's relations.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Iran, India, Israel, Kuwait, Palestine
  • Author: Mohammad Javad Bakhtiari
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The US-UK special relation has always been an attractive and important issue in international relations. The pro-American tendencies of the British and their partnership with American policies as opposed to being willing to more clearly align with the EU and other European countries, have raised various questions in the minds of scholars. Now, considering that David Cameron's Premiership is coming to an end and the next year's election in the UK and also the different challenges which Barack Obama faced in foreign affairs during his presidency along with his declining popularity in the US, this paper is going to find out whether the Anglo-American special relations have already came to an end or not. At the end, the Anglo-American dispute over Iran would be also examined. The Constructivism theory of international relations has been used here to analyze data which have been gathered from library sources and various other internet resources. It is concluded that the Anglo-American special terms which started after the Second World War and were deepened in the Cold War, have lost its strength in one way or another – especially after Bush-Blair era- and is waiting for a new shape with the change of British Premiership.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: America, Iran
  • Author: Judith Zijlstra
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article discusses Turkey's increasing role as a country of immigration by using the case study of Iranian migration to Turkey. While Turkey predominantly functions as a transit country for Iranians on their way to the West, this article will focus on a small group of Iranian migrants who went to Turkey with the purpose of transit but eventually settled down in the country. At the same time, the article investigates the concepts of “transit” and “settlement” among a growing group of Iranian students who entered Turkish universities in recent years. In which ways can these students be compared to other Iranian migrants in Turkey? And to what extent are Turkey's institutions for higher education becoming an easy channel for migrants looking for ways to leave their home country?
  • Topic: Migration
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Turkey
  • Author: Zachary K. Goldman, Mira Rapp-Hooper
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: ZACHARY K. GOLDMAN and MIRA RAPP-HOOPER discuss American security interests in the Persian Gulf region and the prospects for effective cooperation among Gulf states to contain Iran. They find that it is unlikely that the United States will be able to establish a containment regime that relies upon the Gulf Cooperation Council and that informal, bilateral ties to states in the region are a preferable policy recourse. - See more at: http://www.psqonline.org/article.cfm?IDArticle=19163#sthash.yMWmTk6Q.dpuf
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran
  • Author: Nadia Helmy
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: In the past three decades, Chinese Iranian and Middle East Studies have become more and more systematic, which is reflected not only in the great volume of publication, but also in the varied research methodologies and the increase in Iranian and Middle East academic journals. The development of Chinese Middle East studies have accelerated in particular after Arab Spring revolutions and the political changes in the Middle East (2000- 2013). Research institutes evolved from state-controlled propaganda offices into multi-dimensional academic and non-academic entities, including universities, research institutes, military institutions, government offices, overseas embassies and mass media. At the same time, publications evolved from providing an introduction and overview of Iran and Middle Eastern states to in-depth studies of Middle East politics and economics in three stages: beginnings (1949- 1978), growth (1979- 1999), and dealing with energy, religion, culture, society and security. The Middle East-related research programs' funding provided by provincial, ministerial and national authorities have increased and the quality of research has greatly improved. And finally, China has established, as well as joined, various academic institutions and NGOs, such as the Chinese Middle East Studies Association (CMESA), the Asian Middle East Studies Association (AMESA) and the Arabic Literature Studies Association (ALSA). However, Chinese Middle East Studies remain underdeveloped, both in comparison with China's American, European, and Japanese studies at home, and with Middle East studies in the West.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Government, Politics, Religion, Culture, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, America, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Mahmood Shoori
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The Islamic Revolution of 1979 in Iran led to serious differences and disputes between the new revolutionary government on the one hand and major world powers as well as countries in the region on the other. Many analysts have, attributed this to the idealism of Iran's revolutionary leaders and their attempts to export the revolution. Often in these works, without paying attention to the events of the years after the revolution, the roots of this aggressive foreign policy are sought in the thoughts and actions of the new revolutionary leaders. This paper, while criticizing this approach, will seek to confirm the hypothesis that the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran was molded principally by actions and reactions that took place between 1980 and 1983 between Iran and the aforementioned nations. In other words, the new foreign policy was not created to be inherently aggressive, but a series of interactive communications, in the outlined time period, have influenced the contours of this new identity.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Alireza Ahmadi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Having reached an interim accord in Geneva, two governments with a tortured political history must now work to sell it and the diplomatic strategy they have laid out to their own constituencies back home. In this paper, the role of the United States Congress in the process of developing American foreign policy in general and, in the current matter of Iran's nuclear file in particular will be examined. To do so, it describes the history of the relationship between the White House and Congress and then examines the difficult task of the Obama administration to garner support for its strategy in Congress. It reviews the reservations voiced by many in Congress regarding the Geneva nuclear interim accord as well as their misgivings regarding a final agreement. As the matter at hand involves high stake politics in the Middle East, it may carry grave consequences for the status quo in the region. The possible ramifications and the way this effects the position of those in Congress will also be explored. Lastly, since lobby groups have historically had a major role in American foreign policy towards the Middle East, their extensively-discussed role in this case as well as challenges they face will also be touched upon. In general, this paper proposes to describe specifically the way the US policy towards Iran is being formulated and what role Congress plays in the process. Effort will be made to find out to what extent the domestic politics has an impact on the approach of Congress towards Iran and how Congress may be influenced by Middle East regional powers.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Geneva, United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Seyed Ali Monavari, Farhad Atai
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: What paved the way for the establishment of the foreign policy of the Pahlavi dynasty in Iran? This paper seeks to analyze the phenomenon of the construction of the enemy image in the diplomatic history of Iran from 1798 to 1921 and assess its historical roots as it can be useful for the understanding of the attitudes of Iranian policy makers towards the West. The authors' proposal is to explain the construction of enemy image in a historical context in the cognitive structure of Iranian political leaders towards the great powers in the 20th century until the advent of the Islamic Revolution in February 1979. In doing so, the authors have proposed the following hypothesis: With the continuation of Iran's diplomatic relations with Western powers (Great Britain and Russia) under the Qajar dynasty in 1798, a process took shape which gradually led to the construction of an enemy image in the cognitive structure of future Iranian statesmen in the Pahlavi era, underpinning their political relationships with contemporary powers. The authors' findings include the notion that the historical process in question under the Qajar Dynasty involved a combination of military domination, political influence and economic exploitation by the aforementioned powers.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Britain, Russia, Iran
  • Author: Farajollah Ali Ghanbari
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: This paper compares and contrasts Russian policy towards Iran in the early years of 20th century which led to the Anglo-Russia convention of 1907 with the Soviet Union's policy towards Iran during Iran-Iraq war in 1980s. It will explain Russia's involvement in the Great Game with British Empire in regard to expansion of its sphere of influences in Persia. With this in mind, this paper will address both internal and external factors in this period which turned Russia and Britain's competition into an alliance – the Anglo-Russia entente. The Soviet policy towards Iran will also be discussed from the time of the overthrown of the Shah's regime and the establishment of the Islamic Republic up to mid-1987 when the Iran –Iraq war ended. Based on this study, we will conclude that the Russian/Soviet policy towards Iran was constant and the spirit of expansionism lied at the very nature of their foreign policy. They were aggressive when they were a hegemonic power in the region and they compromised with rivals when they were weak.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Britain, Russia, Iran, Soviet Union, Persia
  • Author: Tahereh Hadian
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: This article explores Iranian women's identities reflected in documentary films made during the post revolution era. By doing so, it draws attention to the complexities of representation with regard to the position of women and the current cultural policies in Iran from a legal, religious, and traditional point of view. The documentary films are divided into two categories: those made by Iranians residing in Iran and those made by the Diaspora documentary filmmakers, we then examine and compare their content and themes. This will in turn demonstrate the relationship between the two groups of Iranian documentary film makers and the subjects they address. The selected documentaries made in Iran for this study are sponsored by the state, through the Experimental and Documentary Film Centre (DEFC). This essay will analyze the way the two categories of documentary films [by state and Diaspora] address women's issues through the themes they cover, their agendas, as well as the adopted aesthetics. These documentary films show the social empowerment of Iranian women as active agents in a society that sets obstacles in women's paths. The comparison of the two categories of documentary films may thus show the relation between Iranians residing in Iran and those in the Diaspora, which can play a role in Iran's position internationally. This research looks into three films: Mokarrameh, Article 61 and Divorce, Iranian Style. It will also assess their content and character, and explain what each documentary reflects regarding women's status in society in that particular era with respect to its theme i.e. law, tradition and religion.
  • Topic: Religion, Culture
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Sarah A. Emerson, Andrew C. Winner
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: U.S. politicians often work the topic of oil import independence into their campaign rhetoric as an ideal that would help separate U.S. economic prosperity and military responsibility from the volatility of Middle Eastern politics. In theory, oil independence would mean that events such as the Iranian revolution or internal political unrest in key Arab oil producers would have much less direct impact on the flow of oil to the United States, and thus U.S. prosperity (even if, in a global market for oil, the price impact of any supply disruption is shared by all consuming countries). More importantly, intra-state conflicts such as the Iraq-Iran war or the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait would not necessarily require large-scale U.S. military involvement to ensure oil production and exports to the United States and its allies. This linkage between U.S. oil import dependence and military commitment to the Gulf region has given rise to a myth favored by policymakers, markets, and the public that if the United States could attain oil independence, we could also reduce our military responsibilities around the world. Recent and ongoing changes in both the oil sector and in political-military strategy are for the first time in forty years combining in a manner that is leading some to believe this story could come true.
  • Topic: Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait
  • Author: Monica Duffy Toft, Dominic D.P. Johnson
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The Badme region in the Horn of Africa is claimed by both Ethiopia and Eritrea. It contains few natural resources, and neither state considers it to have strategic value. As one local merchant put it, however, "It's territory, you know. We'll die for our country."
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa, Iran, Ethiopia, Eritrea
  • Author: James M. Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Surveying today's Middle Eastern and North African landscape offers few straws of hope. Iran's reemergence producing a potential catalyst for a focus on core domestic political, economic and social issues could be one of those few straws. Whether Iran wittingly or unwittingly plays that role, the Middle East and North Africa are only likely to break their internecine cycle of violence and despair when the alternative becomes too costly. A resolution of the nuclear issue offers Iran far more than the ultimate lifting of crippling international sanctions. It would also allow Iran to capitalize on geostrategic gains it has made despite its international isolation. What worries opponents of the nuclear deal like Israel and Saudi Arabia most is the potential transformation of Iran from a game spoiler into a constructive player.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Randa Slim
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Hezbollah's longstanding ties with the House of Assad lie at the core of its domestic and regional policies. Losing Assad would undermine Hezbollah's regional strategic posture and embolden its domestic opponents to challenge its military status. Hezbollah is thus fighting in Syria to protect its status in Lebanon and its regional standing as much as to protect Iranian interests in the region. Public rhetoric from both Iran and Hezbollah leave little doubt about their unwavering commitment to the Assad regime. Will Iran and Hezbollah continue to fight for Assad's political survival irrespective of the consequences for regional stability? While they argue that political dialogue and negotiations are the only way forward in Syria, both Iran and Hezbollah have been circumspect about what a political solution in Syria should entail.
  • Political Geography: Iran, Syria
  • Author: Mahmood Monshipouri, Erich Wieger
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The civil war in Syria continues to devastate social and political structures, precipitating floods of refugees and surging populations of internally displaced people. Syria has degenerated into sectarian- and ethnic-based warring mini-states vying for power as their country faces utter social disorder. It mass-produces a growing cadre of battle hardened foreign and domestic jihadists affiliated with the various al-Qaeda brands. The war weariness of America and the unmanageable chaos in Syria combine to create shifts in regional politics. This article seeks to put into perspective the crucial role that regional mediation can play in nudging along practical solutions. Without regional commitment and coordination among key Middle Eastern powers, namely Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, international diplomatic efforts to restore order and stability in Syria are not likely to succeed.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: America, Iran, Syria
  • Author: David Ramin Jalilvand
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Revolution and Reform in Russia and Iran: Modernisation and Politics in Revolutionary States In her comparative study, Ghoncheh Tazmini investigates the Russian revolution of 1917 and the 1979 Iranian revolution to identify patterns of continuity and change, including attempts at reform. At first, both revolutions might appear entirely different. In Russia, the Tsarist monarchy was replaced by socialism, whereas in Iran political Islam prevailed. However, Tazmini convincingly shows that both revolutions had related roots: the people's opposition to Western-inspired, autocratically enforced modernization that was endorsed by the Russian Tsars and Iranian Shahs. Moreover, in Vladimir Putin and Mohammad Khatami, she argues, both countries saw reformers with a similar outlook. By adopting beneficial Western practices without 'Westernizing' their countries, Putin and Khatami overcame the “antinomies of the past.” After the introduction, chapters two, three, and four discuss the experiences of modernization in Russia and Iran under the Romanov tsars and Pahlavi shahs. Both Peter the Great (in the 18th century) and Reza Shah (in the 20th century) sought to catch-up with developed European countries. To this end, they embarked on ambitious modernization programs, which were continued by their successors. In this context, Tazmini shows that the Russian and Iranian modernization programs only partially followed the European example. While embracing outward signs of modernity such as modern industries, state-society relations remained traditionally autocratic. Tazmini rightly grasps this as “modernization without modernity” in an attempt of “modernization from above.” Modernization from above is described as a “double helix” of economic modernization on the one hand and authoritarian political stagnation on the other hand. She notes, “Whilst both countries aspired to converge with the West by meeting its material and technological achievements, they ended up diverging by retaining the autocratic foundations of the ancient régimes.”
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Reform
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran
  • Author: Anne Sofie Roald
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Muslim Minorities and Citizenship: Authority, Communities and Islamic Law In her comparative study, Ghoncheh Tazmini investigates the Russian revolution of 1917 and the 1979 Iranian revolution to identify patterns of continuity and change, including attempts at reform. At first, both revolutions might appear entirely different. In Russia, the Tsarist monarchy was replaced by socialism, whereas in Iran political Islam prevailed. However, Tazmini convincingly shows that both revolutions had related roots: the people's opposition to Western-inspired, autocratically enforced modernization that was endorsed by the Russian Tsars and Iranian Shahs. Moreover, in Vladimir Putin and Mohammad Khatami, she argues, both countries saw reformers with a similar outlook. By adopting beneficial Western practices without 'Westernizing' their countries, Putin and Khatami overcame the “antinomies of the past.” After the introduction, chapters two, three, and four discuss the experiences of modernization in Russia and Iran under the Romanov tsars and Pahlavi shahs. Both Peter the Great (in the 18th century) and Reza Shah (in the 20th century) sought to catch-up with developed European countries. To this end, they embarked on ambitious modernization programs, which were continued by their successors. In this context, Tazmini shows that the Russian and Iranian modernization programs only partially followed the European example. While embracing outward signs of modernity such as modern industries, state-society relations remained traditionally autocratic. Tazmini rightly grasps this as “modernization without modernity” in an attempt of “modernization from above.” Modernization from above is described as a “double helix” of economic modernization on the one hand and authoritarian political stagnation on the other hand. She notes, “Whilst both countries aspired to converge with the West by meeting its material and technological achievements, they ended up diverging by retaining the autocratic foundations of the ancient régimes.” Chapter five examines the people's opposition to the modernization from above, which resulted in the 1917 and 1979 revolutions. Tazmini argues that the contradiction inherent to modernization from above – economic development versus political stagnation – made people lose confidence in their respective state institutions. This provided the ground on which “ideological channels and fateful 'sparks' culminated in revolution” that replaced the Romanov and Pahlavi monarchies with communism in Russia and an Islamic Republic in Iran.
  • Topic: Islam, Law
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran
  • Author: Kayhan Barzegar
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Since 2001, this Iranian scholar argues, Iran has sought to establish security and stability, while advancing regional cooperation in Afghanistan. The only way to manage conflict in the post-exit era is for the West to accept the legitimacy of increased regional cooperation, including Iran's involvement.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iran, Taliban
  • Author: Sumithra Narayanan Kutty
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: When it comes to Afghanistan's future, the United States ironically has more in common with Iran than it does with Pakistan. As Western troops draw down, a look inside Iran's enduring interests, means to secure them, unique assets, and goals that may or not conflict with other regional actors.
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iran
  • Author: Nasser Saghafi-Ameri, Pirooz Izadi
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The adoption of the Geneva Accord between Iran and the P5+1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, China plus Germany) to resolve issues related to Iran's nuclear program on November 24, 2013, brought about a series of debates in political circles. In many ways, it could be considered a historic event with international and regional implications and also ushered in a new chapter in Iran-U.S. relations. At the international level, it could have a great impact on the ways in which world affairs are managed. In fact, it was a victory for diplomacy, multilateralism and a thrust towards a multi-polar international system after more than a decade of unilateralism and military interventionist policies with all its catastrophic consequences. At the regional level, by fostering new alignments, it may have a positive impact on current problems; be it elimination of weapons of mass destruction or countering terrorism and extremism that is now expanding beyond the region. The Accord in Geneva also fosters hope for solid and productive relations between Iran and the U.S. after more than three decades of estrangement. Considering that a new geostrategic situation is unfolding in the region, this article tries to answer the questions related to its international and regional implications, as well as its impact on the very delicate issue of Iran-U.S. relations. At the end, some of the major challenges that lay ahead in the implementation of the Accord are examined.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Russia, United States, China, United Kingdom, Iran, East Asia, France, Germany
  • Author: Muhammad Salman Khan
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: National interest often forms the core of bilateral ties between states. No matter how much idealism is peddled to explain the unassailability of the State's bilateral relations, the national interests and related diplomatic preferences spawn abrasion in these ties. The change of leadership is a consequence of elections results in a national reassessment of foreign policy. This paper attempts to highlight Pakistan's foreign policy dilemma regarding the walking of a tightrope between Tehran and Riyadh. It is argued that the balancing act of Islamabad in this triad is further complicated in the aftermath of 2013 general elections in Pakistan. The new Nawaz Sharif administration's unveiled connection with the Saudi Kingdom, the current tides in the Saudi-Iran-U.S. triangle, and the impending and complex drawdown of international forces from Afghanistan further confounds the trajectory of Pakistan's foreign policy, especially in the zero sum dynamics of Saudi-Iran rivalry.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Iran, East Asia, Tehran, Saudi Arabia, Riyadh
  • Author: Fahimeh Ghorbani, Hamid Ahmadi
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: What impact has the Syrian crisis had on Iran-Turkey political relations? Some analysts argue that divergence in Iranian and Turkish outlooks and roles played in the Syrian crisis have adversely affected their bilateral relationship. But the authors believe that in spite of the conflict in Iran's interests and Turkish policies towards Syria, their broader relations in other areas–security and economy-have prevented the rupture of political relations. In this regards, after the nature of the Syrian crisis is briefly described, Turkish foreign policy strategy in the Middle East will be explained. Then, Turkish-Syrian relations prior to the outbreak of the crisis will be analyzed followed by a discussion of Iranian and Turkish foreign policies towards the Syrian crisis and their impact on their mutual relations. The authors will conclude that although the Syrian political crisis has given rise to certain tensions and adverse consequences in their political relations, their bilateral ties have persisted as manifested in high-ranking diplomatic meetings between their political authorities and in ongoing deliberations on important regional issues.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Syria
  • Author: Elaleh Kooalee, Amir Ebrahimi, Simin Shirazi Mougouee
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Kazakhstan needs the short transit route leading to open waters to supply its demands and export oil and gas to international markets. Iran's territorial status in the heart of Eurasia, has offered new capabilities for commerce, industry, and development to this country. But some factors such as the geopolitics of the region, having the second largest resources of energy in the world, and willingness to allow the presence of trans-regional powers with the aim to reduce dependence on Russia and attract foreign investment, has resulted in the presence of these powers in this country and has created serious obstacles for Iran's more effective participation. The main question of this paper is how has Iran benefited from the opportunity to develop relations with Kazakhstan? The authors analyze the most important factors regarding Iran's geopolitical position and status with regards to the development of its relations with Kazakhstan.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Caspian Sea
  • Author: Davood Kiani
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: One of the most important tools utilized by states to maximize their impact in foreign affairs is public diplomacy and to this extent, public diplomacy is considered a source of soft power. The robust use of public diplomacy can enhance and reinforce the soft power of countries. Central Asia is among the regions that have an ever increasing relevance to regional and international affairs in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and is currently considered a critical subsystem for our country. The foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran towards this region is, on one hand, built on the foundation of converging factors in political, economic, and cultural arenas and looking towards opportunities for influence and cooperation. On the other hand, considering the divergent components, it also faces challenges and threats, the sum of which continues to effect the orientation of Iranian foreign policy towards the region. This article will study Iranian public diplomacy in this region and examine the opportunities and challenges, as well as, provide and proper model for a successful public diplomacy in the region of Central Asia, while taking into account the Islamic Republic of Iran's tools and potential.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Islam, Politics, Culture
  • Political Geography: Iran, Central Asia
  • Author: Abuzar Gohari Moqaddam, Hojatollah Noori Sari
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Diplomatic relationship between Iran and the United Kingdom is one of the most heated debates in the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic. The pros and cons of these relations have always been subject to argument and controversy among politicians and academics. This article seeks to analyze diplomatic ties between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United Kingdom, applying the cost-benefit analysis method. In this relationship, the costs and benefits are discussed in three situations including the maintenance, downgrading, and rupture of diplomatic relations. The main question answered by the authors is how diplomatic relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United Kingdom can be analyzed according to the cost-benefit analysis method, and what costs and benefits can be brought about for Iran in case of the rupture, downgrading or maintenance of diplomatic relations with Britain. The final conclusion of this research suggests that under the current circumstances, downgrading diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom can lead to fewer costs and further benefits for the Islamic Republic of Iran in comparison to the other two options.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Iran
  • Author: Pirouz Mojtahed-Zadeh, Ali-Reza Niknejad, RamtinSalarian
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The region of the Persian Gulf can be seen as a heartland under the geopolitical influence of which the Arab-Iranian relations are shaped. As one the world's primary and most significant source of fossil-energy exports, the Persian Gulf cobbles together the eight countries of the region in a geopolitical panorama, in which they enjoy similarities in economic and strategic life, as well as security concerns. As well, the challenges of maritime political geography seem to be quite dependent on an established set of standards and agreements in order to remain on solid grounds. Currently, these challenges manifest themselves in four major categories, with substantial geopolitical consequences between the Iranians and the Arabs of the region, and the complexity of their relationships. These include: Religious Controversies, which concern the sectarian geopolitics, propagated under Jordan-Israeli concoction of "Shiite Crescent", Territorial Contentions; with its major controversy over the naming of the Persian Gulf. This article examines the process of territorial conflicts, proceedings and eventually the settlements over the maritime areas of the Persian Gulf in the past five decades. The arrangement of the maritime political geography in the Persian Gulf is a fitting example of former disputes over the border and boundaries within the maritime regions of the world.
  • Topic: Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Persia
  • Author: Piki Ish-Shalom
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: Iran's imminent rise to nuclear power status raises reasonable fears about the Middle East stability. Having examined the discursive exchange of Mutual Assured Evilness (MAE) by Iran and Israel, some political commentators and decision makers express doubts over the workability of nuclear stability. That is because they question whether these countries can overcome their mutual hatred and find the requisite instrumental rationality for nuclear stability. Their fears are exacerbated when they regard Iran as a religious country and hence supposedly incapable of rational behavior. However, the discourse of evil is not only indicative of hatred. Evil it seems is a conceptual relic encased in religious metaphysics. It is a datum that enables us to expose the religious layers that exist alongside secularism. Israel's hyperbolic use of the term evil resonates as strongly as it does because of the religious metaphysics that coexists with Israel's supposedly secular belief system. Therefore, in some ways, Israeli society may be closer to Iranian society than Israelis generally allow themselves to believe and all the while the two societies are locked in a dance of hatred and fear, fueled, among other things, by MAE.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Kayhan Barzegar
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The nuclear negotiations between Iran and EU3+3 have provided the grounds for establishing direct talks between Iran and the United States, subsequently creating a positive prospect for solving the Iranian nuclear standoff after a decade of negotiations. The effect of economic sanctions and political change in Iran have made it possible to bring an important foreign policy issue into domestic politics discourses. The fact that the nuclear negotiations put Iran in a position comparable to the other world powers strengthened a sense of movement towards a win-win situation among Iranian political forces. All of this created a relative political consensus among Iran's ruling elites regarding the need to initiate direct talks with the United States in order to solve the Iranian nuclear standoff. The nuclear programme is also linked with the regional equation, the result of which has been the emergence of a new kind pragmatism in the conduct of Iranian regional policy in hope of revising Iran's place in US Middle East policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Sanam Vakil
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: US-Iranian relations have been stalled for over three decades due to missteps in timing, distrust, hostility and ideological differences between Tehran and Washington. Six American presidents have experimented with different political and economic tools in an effort to reverse Iranian support for terrorist groups, its opposition to Israel and its pursuit of a nuclear programme. President Barack Obama's direct engagement with Tehran to end the nuclear standoff is a first step towards improved relations between two estranged countries that share a number of mutual interests.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Washington, Tehran
  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro, Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: At the time of writing, representatives from Iran and the E3/EU+3 are trying to work out an agreement that will guarantee that Iran's controversial nuclear programme, widely suspected of having a military purpose, serves only peaceful ends. As the negotiations enter their most crucial phase, the time is ripe to attempt an assessment of the role played by the only actor, besides Iran, that has been on stage since it all began over ten years ago: Europe. Throughout this long drama, Europe's performance has had some brilliant moments. Yet the quality of its acting has decreased as a new protagonist, the US, has come on stage. Overall, the Europeans' record is positive, albeit not entirely spotless.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran
  • Author: Ni̇met Beri̇ker
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper presents the Foreign Policy Circumplex (FPC) coding framework and the (FPC-TR) to identify aspects of Turkish foreign policy behavior between 2002 and 2011. The findings show an increase in cooperative foreign policy behavior and relational third party engagements in the second term of the AK Party administration. Turkey increased its third-party role in the context of crises with Iran and Syria. In relations with Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Israel/Palestinian and Russia/Georgia conflicts, the same role, albeit with a decreasing tendency, continued. There were a number of decreased interactions related to issues, such as EU-Cyprus, Cyprus, Greece, Iraq, and Israel-Palestine. That said, we see an increase in relations with North Africa, the Balkan countries, Syria, the Middle East, Armenia and Israel. There is also greater cooperation in the context of Turkey's high priority bilateral relations, such as with the US, the Middle East, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Russia, as well as with the UN and European Council. With the EU and Israel, however, a reverse trend is observed.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria
  • Author: John S. Park
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: At no point in the history of U.S. nonproliferation and counterproliferation policy have financial sanctions been so central to U.S. efforts to prevent or rollback the acquisition of nuclear weapons in countries such as North Korea and Iran. Despite this crucial role, financial sanctions have been examined almost solely from the sender's perspective, that is, the country imposing the sanctions. Few focused policy analyses have measured the effects of these instruments from the target's perspective.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, North Korea
  • Author: Sven-Eric Fikenscher, Robert J. Reardon
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: After months of optimistic statements from negotiators, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) and Iran still have not achieved a comprehensive agreement to resolve the nuclear dispute. However, the interim Joint Plan of Action (JPA) is—at this writing—still in force and both sides maintain that a comprehensive deal remains within reach.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran
  • Author: Mohammad Reza Abedini Moghanaki, Mohsen Shariatinia
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: While during the last few decades developed countries were the main buyers of Iranian export items, in the last couple of years, the developing countries have become the primary destination of Iranian exports. It can be argued that a strategic shift has occurred in the Iranian export orientation. Exploration of the reasons for such a reorientation is of importance. The aim of this research is study of the impacts of international trends on the Iranian export orientation with the emphasis placed on non-oil exports. The primary question of this study is: what factors have contributed to the change in Iran's export orientation? The hypothesis posed in response to the question is that: the trend of power transition in the international political economy and intensification of the West's sanctions against Iran constitute key factors in the change. Analyzing Iran's export data, the authors have reasoned that a turn has occurred in the orientation of Iranian export. They have discussed the rise of emerging powers in the international political economy as well as the escalating tension between Iran and the West (manifested in international sanctions) as the two main factors that have contributed to this reorientation. In their point of view, the change in Iran's export orientation is probably permanent which will leave an important imprint on the geopolitical and geo-economic status of Iran.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Tahereh Miremadi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: This paper aims to highlight the linkage between domestic public policy and international bargaining power in the realm of science and technology policy. To do so, it constructs a model hybrid of two independent theoretical frameworks: Advocacy Coalition Framework by Paul Sabatier and Double Edged Diplomacy by Peter Evans. The main question to answer is how policy learning at the national level can occur as a result of the factor of enlightenment according to the Advocacy Coalition Framework and the second question is how this learning stretches to the foreign policy sub-system and invigorates the capacity of negotiating team for providing more innovative package of technical instruments or the so-called “win-set”, according to the Double Edged Diplomacy. This hybrid model is applied to the case of nuclear policy/ diplomacy of Iran. Thus, the objective of the paper is twofold: first, it takes on an analysis of the domestic nuclear policy change or readjustment in Iran that has been produced by policy learning. The second objective is to explain how this domestic learning factor overflowed to the foreign policy sub-systems and has provided the country with a new approach to the nuclear negotiations with foreign partners.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Alireza Ahmadi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The Israel lobby in Washington is a network of organizations and community groups dedicated to influencing American policy towards the Middle East. Their success and access has made them the model for lobbies on Washington's Capitol Hill and US Government. Long known for successfully influencing American policy towards the Middle East, the lobby now faces its strongest challenge in history at a time when it is also facing what it considers a historically significant issue. The interim accord between Iran and members of the P5+1 have led to turmoil in Washington over the wisdom and plausibility of President Obama's diplomatic approach and about the softening of the current US posture towards Iran. In this debate, powerful conservative groups, a number of key Democrats, and the Israel lobby have been pit against progressive groups and Democratic elected officials in the Senate and the White House. In this article, I will briefly look at the history of the Israel lobby in America and explore its evolution as well as investigate the factors that, over time, caused it to take on a hard-line posture and drift towards the right. I will explore the tactics and strategies that the Israel lobby-the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in particular-has undertaken to influence the outcome of events and undermine the possibility of diplomatic conflict resolution. Finally, I will examine the pitfalls and challenges hard-line pro-Israel groups face in effectively pursuing these policies and the long term harm they expose themselves to in alienating progressive and pro-peace groups.
  • Topic: Government, History
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Mohammad Kordzadeh Kermani
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Undertaking research on the political economy of sanctions in Iran covers a wide area of study. In a research project, relevant data and key questions can be collected in order to organize them methodologically and write a book on this issue. In this article, within the conceptual framework of political economy, interactions of a few variables involved in the sanctions on Iran are studied. First, the article explores the immoral aspect and consequently illegal aspect of sanctions as an American policy tool to coerce Iran's behavior regarding its legal right of nuclear enrichment. Then the article sheds light on economic impacts of the sanctions through examples. It also discusses political impacts of the sanctions and practical experience of how Iranians tackle these restrictions. It finally proposes an alternative way to change this hostility dominated environment of the Iran-US relations. This article concludes that As sanctions remain over a prolonged period they tend to become even less effective in achieving their political objectives; the sanctioning countries consequently tend to impose additional, more extensive sanctions, which only promotes further radicalization in both the sanctioned and sanctioning countries. The only way to stop this vicious cycle is for both sides to negotiate in good faith and with open minds.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Iran
  • Author: Rouhollah Eslami
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Does Iran, which is known in political science literature as a developing, oriental and ancient country, have specific, examinable and predictable models in a way that can be applied to foreign policy studies? In this study the author intends to analyze six models of Iranian foreign policy between the two revolutions (from the constitutional to the Islamic); these patterns have been fluctuating dialectically between an idealism embedded in the Iranian grieving ontology and realism as it relates to the international environment. At the beginning, the nostalgic worldview of Iranians that is a reflection of their subjective collective constructs is analyzed. Then counter-scientism and anti-positivism in Iranian epistemology is studies. The outcome of these two is the absence of realism as the most significant paradigm of foreign policy. In order to prove the assumption, six models of Iranian foreign policy will be briefly assessed with the aim of demonstrating how the unconsciousness of Iranian ancient civilization and mystical and severely anti-science and anti-reality covers have given life to an anti-reality which has caused Iranian foreign policy patterns to be infused with unwarranted idealism. The dialectic between the two different atmospheres, however, has given way to creative models; and the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been efficient and taken the initiative in their design, implementation and assessment.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Mohammad Javad Bakhtiari
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The US-UK special relation has always been an attractive and important issue in international relations. The pro-American tendencies of the British and their partnership with American policies as opposed to being willing to more clearly align with the EU and other European countries, have raised various questions in the minds of scholars. Now, considering that David Cameron's Premiership is coming to an end and the next year's election in the UK and also the different challenges which Barack Obama faced in foreign affairs during his presidency along with his declining popularity in the US, this paper is going to find out whether the Anglo-American special relations have already came to an end or not. At the end, the Anglo-American dispute over Iran would be also examined. The Constructivism theory of international relations has been used here to analyze data which have been gathered from library sources and various other internet resources. It is concluded that the Anglo-American special terms which started after the Second World War and were deepened in the Cold War, have lost its strength in one way or another – especially after Bush-Blair era- and is waiting for a new shape with the change of British Premiership.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, United Kingdom, America, Europe, Iran
  • Author: Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: The newly formed Kata 'ib al - Mosul (the Mosul Battalions) was first announced in July 2014, followed by a statement from the Nujaifi family 1 that the movement would have their full support to combat IS in Mosul. Despite false local Iraqi media insinuations about Osama al - Nujaifi, there was no suggestion that members of Kata 'ib al - Mosul were receiving training in Iraqi Kurdistan or Iran. The latter in particular would be highly implausible anyway. In any event, Kata 'ib al - Mosul ' s affiliation with the Nujaifi family is shown by the fact that the official Facebook page for Kata 'ib al - Mosul " Likes " the official Facebook pages of Atheel and Osama Nujaifi.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Kurdistan
  • Author: Rochelle Terman
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: World Policy Journal
  • Institution: World Policy Institute
  • Abstract: TEHRAN, Iran—When Shadi Amin was growing up in pre-revolutionary Iran, she began experiencing sexual feelings toward other girls. "I thought there was something wrong with me," she says. "I thought, maybe I should change something." By "something," Amin was referring not to her identity or lifestyle, but to her gender. "If I was that young girl living in Iran today, I would have considered having a sex change operation," even though she has never identified with being male.
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Aliza Goldberg, Cleo Abramian
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: World Policy Journal
  • Institution: World Policy Institute
  • Abstract: In order to combat governments' efforts to isolate their people from the outside world, individuals in countries across the globe have developed alternative social media for their fellow citizens. World Policy Journal has identified six alternative social media sites that are engaging locals on a daily basis.
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Russia, China, Iran, Vietnam, Cuba
  • Author: Brent E. Sasley
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama's Diplomacy with Iran, Trita Parsi
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Martin Chulov
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Lines in the sand are blown away
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Syria
  • Author: Augustus Richard Norton
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Arab awakening augurs the return of political contestation to key Arab societies in which little more than token opposition had been tolerated. Unfolding experiments in democratisation in which Islamically-oriented parties are leading players are underway but the prospects for the consolidation of stable political systems in key countries, such as Egypt or Syria are problematic. These developments have hastened a new regional balance of power in which Saudi Arabia and its allies have sought to stem the tide of change as well as thwart the hegemonial ambitions of Iran. Persistent issues, particularly the Israel-Palestine conflict, remain unresolved and have a powerful grip on the conscience of the Arab world. Key external powers, especially the United States, confront not only stubborn familiar issues but also a host of new strategic, economic, diplomatic and military challenges.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Keir A. Lieber, Daryl G. Press
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: For the last two decades, U.S. leaders have focused on the possibility of nuclear terrorism as a serious threat to the United States. In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, those fears grew even more acute. In his State of the Union Address four months after the attacks, President George W. Bush warned a worried nation that rogue states “could provide [weapons of mass destruction] to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred.” Both Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice amplified the president's warning in order to justify the war against Iraq. According to Rice, “Terrorists might acquire such weapons from [Saddam Hussein's] regime, to mount a future attack far beyond the scale of 9/11. This terrible prospect could not be ignored or wished away.” Such fears continue to shape policy debates today: in particular, advocates of bombing Iran's nuclear facilities often justify a strike based on the idea that Iran might give nu-clear weapons to terrorist groups. Even President Barack Obama, who as a senator opposed the war against Iraq, declared, “The American people face no greater or more urgent danger than a terrorist attack with a nuclear weapon.” For U.S. leaders, the sum of all fears is that an enemy might give nuclear weapons to terrorists. But are those fears well founded?
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Iran
  • Author: Paul R. Pillar, James K. Sebenius, Michael K. Singh, Robert Reardon
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: James Sebenius and Michael Singh are to be commended for advocating rigor in the analysis of international negotiations such as the one involving Iran's nuclear program. Although they describe their offering as a neutral framework for analyzing any negotiation, they are not at all neutral regarding the negotiations with Iran; and they present conclusions that derive directly from specific substantive assumptions, especially about Iranian objectives. The authors repeatedly describe their assumptions as “mainstream,” implying that they are uncontroversial and that any differing ones are too extreme to be worth considering. For an assumption to reside within the mainstream of popular and political discourse about Iran, however, does not make it correct. Sebenius and Singh do something similar with assumptions about U.S. interests, while sliding silently between the descriptive and the prescriptive in a way that fails to contrast actual policies with possible ones that would be consistent with those interests. Many readers' principal takeaway from their article will be that a zone of possible agreement probably did not exist as of the time of their writing and probably will not exist unless the United States takes steps toward going to war with Iran. That answer, however, given the questionable assumptions on which it is based, is very likely wrong.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran
  • Author: Ehud Eiran, Martin B. Malin
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Thucydides' ancient logic still governs: uncertainty (over Iran's nuclear intentions) and the fear this inspires (in Israel) increases the risk of another war (in the Middle East). Even if Israel's response to the Iranian nuclear program does not lead the region into a war, Israel's fears will be crucial in shaping Middle Eastern politics and will help to determine the stability of the region in the years ahead.
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Paul R. Pillar
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN HAS BECOME, in two senses, an extraordinary preoccupation of the United States. One sense is that Iran is the subject of a strikingly large proportion of discourse about U.S. foreign policy. American pundits and politicians repeatedly mention Iran, usually with specific reference to its nuclear program, as among the biggest threats the United States faces. Republican nominee Mitt Romney, when asked in the last presidential debate of the 2012 campaign what was the single greatest future threat to U.S. national security, replied "a nuclear Iran." For politicians of both major U.S. political parties, expressions of concern about Iran and of the need to confront it have become a required catechism. The U.S. Congress has spent much time on such expressions and on imposing with lopsided votes ever broader economic sanctions on Iran. Frequent and evidently serious references are made to launching a military attack against Iran, even though such an attack- an act of aggression-would probably mean a war with heavy costs and damage to U.S. interests and probably would stimulate the very development of an Iranian nuclear weapon that it ostensibly would be designed to preclude.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran
  • Author: Stephen Blank
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The SCO grew out of a Chinese initiative (hence its name) from the late 1990s that brought together all the states that had emerged from the Soviet Union in 1991 and signed bilateral border-delimiting treaties with China: Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. In 2001, these states and Uzbekistan formally created the SCO. Since then it has added observer states—Mongolia, Afghanistan, India, Iran, and Pakistan—and dialogue partners—Turkey, Belarus, and Sri Lanka. The SCO's original mandate seemingly formulated it as a collective security organization pledged to the defense of any member threatened by secession, terrorism, or extremism—for example, from Islamic militancy. This pre-9/11 threat listing reflected the fact that each member confronted restive Muslim minorities within its own borders. That threat may indeed be what brought them together since China's concern for its territorial integrity in Xinjiang drives its overall Central Asian policy. Thus, the SCO's original charter and mandate formally debarred Central Asian states from helping Uyghur Muslim citizens fight the repression of their Uyghur kinsmen in China. Likewise, the charter formally precludes Russian or Chinese assistance to disaffected minorities in one or more Central Asian states should they launch an insurgency. In practice the SCO has refrained from defense activities and followed an idiosyncratic, even elusive, path; it is an organization that is supposed to be promoting its members' security, yet it is difficult to see what, if anything, it actually does. Officially published accounts are of little help in assessing the SCO since they confine themselves to high-flown, vague language and are short on specifics. We see from members' actual behavior that they primarily rely on bilateral ties with Washington, Beijing, or Moscow, or on other multilateral formations like the Russian-organized Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), itself an organization of questionable effectiveness. Therefore, this essay argues that the SCO is not primarily a security organization. Rather, it provides a platform and regulatory framework for Central Asian nations to engage and cope with China's rise and with Sino-Russian efforts to dominate the area. As such, it is attractive to small nations and neighboring powers but problematic for Russia and the United States. Analyzing the SCO's lack of genuine security provision, its membership expansion considerations, and Russia's decline in power will help clarify the organization's current and future roles.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, United States, China, Iran, Washington, Central Asia, India, Shanghai, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Beijing, Tajikistan, Soviet Union, Moscow