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  • 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 Vahid Karimi, Amir Hooshang Mirkooshesh
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: What is the relationship between the doctrine of Tony Blair and America's invasion of Iraq? This paper tries to answer this question. So, it looks at the American invasion of Iraq and the British response, and argues that Brain always prevails over brawn. United States was and still is a hard power. Britain plays a soft power role in international relations. Britain usually uses the American strength and resources for the benefit of Britain. When the British describe their relations with the United States as "special," they mean that they have the power to influence and direct US foreign policy. For an understanding of the international politics, we must concentrate on Anglo-Saxon "interdependency" through the "special relationship" which often exists between British Prime Ministers and US Presidents. Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister of the 1940s, Harold Macmillan in the 1960s, Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s and Tony Blair in the 2000s, all had special relationships with their US counterparts. While not always the case, the relationship between Tony Blair, British Prime Minster, and George Bush, American President, was beneficial to British interest and Blair's doctrine of International Community declared in 1999. it is imperative not only to understand international politics, but also to react properly to international politics. As it has been proven in the Iraq case, Tony Blair manipulated US foreign policy during the George Bush presidency.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, Iraq, America
  • 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: 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: 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: Mohammad Javad Bakhtiari, Fariba Hossein Nia Salimi
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The article tries to examine Britain's place in EU's policymaking towards Iran. Having in mind the importance of the EU in international stages and also in economic and political matters, the following article has shed light on the ups and downs of Iran's relations with the UK as one of the important EU-nation states and has concluded that an effective but careful and logical relationship with EU member states could expand the space of more collaborations and in this regard Iran can utilize EU's capacities. Britain in contrary to the US has avoided military tools and has chosen a negotiating policy toward Iran and has assured other member states of these negotiations. Iran should choose a definite strategy towards EU based on having a complete knowledge of each member – state and their capabilities and special potentials in cooperation with Iran.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Iran
  • Author: Asghar Jafari-Valdani
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The geopolitics of the Strait of Hormuz is one of the main and continuous factors in the Iran-Oman relationship. Iran and Oman are respectively located on the north and south coasts of the Strait. This factor requires them to maintain good-neighborly relations regardless of what happens at the regional or international levels. Iran and Oman assume that there is a close connection between the security of the Strait of Hormuz and their own security. This point strengthens their motivation to maintain a close and friendly relationship. The two countries are aware of the fact that geographical factors are not subject to change. Their geographical proximity via the Strait of Hormuz, Oman's relative remoteness from the Arab world and the geopolitical and geostrategic importance of the Strait have required Iran and Oman to maintain a good, neighborly relationship with one another. On that basis, and despite the fact that Oman has always had close relations with the United States and recently developed its ties with Israel, its friendly relationship with Iran has largely remained intact. This paper seeks to examine the role of the Strait of Hormuz in the relations between Iran and Oman from a historic, economic, strategic and security perspective.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Oman
  • Author: Farhad Atai
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Developments in the Middle East in the past decades, and especially in the past few years, have drawn the world's attention to this region. Never since the break-up of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century has the region been so volatile and explosive. While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to have a deciding effect on the Middle East, other issues have appeared, further complicating the politics of the region. The stunning socio-political developments in the Arab world during the past year, which started in Tunisia and spread to Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Bahrain are still unfolding and will permanently change the Arab World. Where does Iran fit into the political dynamics of the Middle East in these turbulent times? This paper attempts to answer that question. After a review of the recent developments in the Arab world, it examines the Islamic Republic's position in the region in the light of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, the breakup of the Soviet Union and subsequent developments in Central Asia, the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. The paper suggests that the changing geopolitics of the region has positioned Iran in a relatively stronger position vis-à-vis the Sunni-Shi'a debate. It further suggests that three decades after its Islamic Revolution, Iran has matured. This is especially true in the wake of the rising extremist tendencies and groups such as al-Qa'ida in the region. Once the shorter term issues are resolved, Iran can have a moderating influence on the dynamics of the region.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Iran, Central Asia, Middle East, Israel, Yemen, Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain
  • Author: Parvin Dadandish
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The Iran-Europe relations have always been marked with ups and downs. At some points, Iran viewed Europe as an actor replacing the US and tried to tab Europe's political and economical capacities. However, in the end, a number of developments impeded the way and held up rapprochement between the two sides. This paper tries to shed light on the developments in the relationship between Iran and Europe. Moreover, it identifies and analyses obstacles and factors, which impair the relationship. Finally, it proposes ways and means for improving it.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran
  • Author: Mohammad A. Mousavi, Fatemeh Vafaeezadeh
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Political relations between the United States and post-Revolutionary Iran have been almost constantly in turmoil. Obama's rise to power in the U.S. brought some hope for 'change' and a new drive for good in America's relationship with Iran. This paper studies the four Persian New Year (Nowruz) messages of March 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, sent by U.S. President Barack Obama to the Iranian people. According to Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), the rhetoric of Obama has been different in his messages; namely, it has turned from a soft and friendly tone in the first Nowruz message to a more hostile one in his second and third messages. Writers argue that these shifts are due to the long-standing condition of mistrust and fluctuations in the U.S.-Iran relationship on the one hand, and domestic politics during these four years on the other. The fourth message (2012) is mixed with disapproval and blessings, very much due to the U.S. internal politics, as President Obama needs a calm Iran to win the 2012 election. These unprecedented rhetoric measures seemed as great changes toward rapprochement of the broken ties between Iran and the United States. However, the complex U.S. foreign policy decision-making process has paralyzed the President, preventing him from entering a totally different path versus Iran. Furthermore, domestic politics in the U.S. and Iran during the past years show that neither country were ready to set the tone of their politics in tune with a better relationship.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Iran
  • Author: Hossein Daheshiar
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Considering the fact that less systemic sensitivity has appeared towards U.S. military actions on the global scale and that the great powers in the international system do not engage in any serious effort at preventing this state, the role of domestic interest groups has increased as has the president's attention to their opinions. Despite the fact that no serious threat to U.S. security existed and the country's national interests were not at stake, Barack Obama ordered the use of military force against Muammar Gaddafi. Liberal humanists in the power structure played a crucial role in order to make the necessity of attack inevitable by aggrandizing the threat. By embracing the opinion expressed by the liberal humanists and repeating this aggrandizing for election purposes as well as for preserving his own liberal base, Barack Obama found a military attack on Libya rational and necessary.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: United States, Libya
  • Author: Ali Omidi
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Security is the main concern or raison d'être of any state. The Islamic republic of Iran and the west have had common geopolitical concerns, with some convergence in Afghanistan. The first security priority of the U.S. in particular and Europe in general after the September 11 events has been coping with terrorism in its heartland, i.e. Afghanistan. This paper, after a short review of Iran's historical relations with Afghanistan as well as its geopolitical importance for Tehran, examines Iran's main security concerns stemming from Afghanistan and the consequent Iranian narration of those threats in the post-9/11 era. The article argues that Iranian policy and even ideals for Afghanistan's long-term security is similar to the Iraqi model: outright withdrawal of foreign troops and national self-reliance on security issues. Therefore, Iran welcomes NATO's drawback from Afghanistan in 2014 and implicitly cooperates with the west in Afghanistan for viable and indigenous security.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Europe, Iran
  • Author: Farshad Roomi
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Democratic governments tend to cooperate with each other positively. By establishing a framework, democracy controls politicians' behavior, preventing them from pursuing imbalanced and improper policies. Popular revolutions in the Middle East have overthrown a number of authoritarian regimes allied with the United States. With the independent democratic governments being formed, we see Iran's regional and transregional rivals and adversaries challenged. Making efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East can serve as an important factor in strengthening Iran's influence in the region. Therefore, given that the rule of the game in the Middle East is one of zero-sum, the Islamic republic of Iran should reinforce its national security level and enlarge its national security realm by explicitly supporting and articulating the demands of the regional nations. Also, the presence of the Shi'a in government is closely related to the promotion of democratic trends, support for the democracy-seeking wave in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Mohammad Soltaninejad
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The Arab revolutions have changed the political and security landscape of the Persian Gulf. The upheavals have altered the sources of threats states used to feel from those emanating from outside the internal ones; the unrest in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia has proved that the sources of tension for the Arab states are quite societal. As a result, the old Arab tactic of attribution of domestic challenges to alleged Iranian interventionism is now obsolete. The traditional role played by the regional powers is also affected and the regional alignments are in flux. The overthrow of the Mubarak regime along with the U.S middle of the way approach during the Arab revolutions have elevated Iran's stance in the Persian Gulf at the expense of the U.S and the GCC. Moreover, the security interdependence of the Persian Gulf states, particularly among the GCC, is tightened and in the face of increasing security challenges, the monarchical bloc is revitalized with the aim to buttress Arab regimes. All the said developments are the subject of examination in this article through application of the regional security complex (RSC) theory.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Arabia
  • Author: Naser Hadian, Shani Hormozi
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The Iran-US relations since 1979 Revolution have remained tension-ridden. Various efforts towards resolution of the sensitive and critical issues between them have failed to bear fruit. The present article looks into the state of these relations from the vantage of Iran's security environment and how the U.S. policies, particularly since the 2001 occupation of Afghanistan and 2003 war of choice in Iraq, have dramatically affected Iran's immediate security environment. The paper argues that as a result of the removal of the Taliban and Ba'athist regimes and the emergence of pro-Iran ruling coalitions in Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran's regional stature and influence was enhanced, which also coincided with simultaneous shrinking of US material and symbolic resources in the region. The article also tries to shed light on the parameters of Iran 's security environment, decision making processes, sources of security and defense policies, which would help towards a better understanding of the reasons and rationale for the still tumultuous relations with the US, including in particular on Iran's nuclear program. A review of the past U.S. strategies in dealing with Iran as well as of the alternative strategies currently on the table – Containment, Comprehensive and Selective Engagements, Military option – and Iran's Counter Containment strategy, indicates that given the actual situation in the region a mere continuation of the past might simply prove impossible. A full-scale confrontation or a major reconciliation appears to be the only possible scenarios for the future. The paper concludes that Comprehensive Engagement will instead present a way out of the decades-old conflict with tremendous benefits for the protagonists and the surrounding region.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Iran, Taliban
  • Author: Mohsen Sahriatinia
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Iran-China bilateral relations, established in 1971, have experienced quite substantial change in the post-1979 period, especially since the end of the Cold War. Both countries, despite fundamental differences in ideology and governance structure, and based on a number of areas of commonality, most prominently similar international outlook as developing states of the South, and based on mutual need in economic fields, most notably energy, and also in the military field, chose to expand their relations in various areas. The present article looks into the development of these bilateral relations since early 1980s and discusses two sets of factors that have impacted them; conducive factors and constraining factors. The article argues that while the conducive factors have contributed to the expansion and deepening of Tehran-Beijing relations during the period under review, China's grand strategy towards becoming a world power and the requisite policy of rapprochement with the West, the U.S. in particular, have in fact intervened to constrain China's relations with other states – among them, Iran. Simultaneously, perpetuation of a state of tension between Iran and the U.S. in the post-1979 period, and especially since 2003 over the nuclear issue, and hence, U.S. pressure of sorts on China, have also played a critical role in complicating Iran-China relations. China's support since 2006 for the UN Security Council sanctions resolutions on Iran, despite Iran's emphasis on the “Look to the East Policy” since 2005, has reflected the Chinese predicament and served to constrain the relations, even to some extent in the energy field. The article concludes that notwithstanding inevitable constraints in Iran-China relations due to the factors involved, both countries will continue to maintain their relations in the economic and energy fields and on international-multilateral issues of mutual interest.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Iran, Beijing
  • Author: Mohammad Hossein Hafezian
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The election of Mahmood Ahmadinejad in Iran in June 2005 came to have an enormous impact on Iran's foreign relations, including Iran's relations with the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. The present article looks into the state and dynamism of bilateral relations between Iran and the GCC during the 2005-09 period. Placed in the context of the background of relations between the two sides since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran and specifically the 8 years of confidence-building and détente under Khatami, the article discusses the factors that affected these bilateral relations during the period under review. It is argued that such factors as Ahmadinejad's peculiar foreign policy outlook and discourse, relations with the U.S., diverging postures towards Israel, threat perceptions, Iran's rising regional stature and influence in the post-2001 period, and also dispute on the three Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf and the name of the waterway, have each affected the state of relations. The review also shows the resilience of economic and trade ties between the two sides beyond the mere political realm and the outstanding issues and disagreements. Considering the inevitable negative impact of the continuing tension and conflict between Iran and the U.S. on the state of relations between Iran and the GCC, the paper emphasizes the imperative of confidence-building measures and policies by all the parties concerned–within the region and beyond. It concludes that any meaningful improvement–and ultimate rapprochement–in the U.S.-Iran relations, even though far-fetched or illusive at the time, would help these relations and the mutually-beneficial establishment of regional security arrangements in the Persian Gulf.
  • Topic: Debt
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Hossein Sadeghi, Hassan Ahmadian
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran which led to the emergence of a revolutionary, anti-Western, anti-establishment regime under the tutelage of Shi'ite ulema radically changed the previous state of relations with Saudi Arabia, a conservative, Sunnite, pro-West monarchy and junior partner of the defunct Pahlavi State in the security system in the Persian Gulf. The present article intends to look into the state of bilateral relations between the two countries since 1979. The article argues that the relations between these two important Muslim and regional countries have been affected by their constant rivalry in a number of fields considered critical to both of them. As analyzed here, the contest between them in all these areas have been conducted in a rather limited manner, and that both sides have exercised restraint to avoid spiraling into “unlimited contest.” The “limited nature” of contest in fact allowed gradual reduction of tension between them and led to détente and even expansion of cooperation in late 1990s. The détente period came to an abrupt end in the wake of the traumatic aftershocks of 9/11, particularly the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Having looked into the afore-mentioned dominant pattern of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia since 1979, the authors posit that adoption and pursual of a positive, proactive approach by the two sides and reliance on confidence-building measures can indeed help diffuse the on-going tension and mutual suspicion and pave the way for the promotion of mutually-beneficial policies and measures. In their analysis, the two sides, despite all the differences and difficulties, enjoy the potentials to decide to explore practical ways and means on how to define shared interests, goals and objectives.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Saudi Arabia