(First Draft: March 4, 2006)
The Dilemma of Iran’s Foreign Policy
Identifying Friends and Foes
Keywords: Iran’s foreign policy, nuclear diplomacy, NPT, International Atomic Energy Agency -IAEA,
One of the major impediments of Iran’s foreign policy, almost three decades after the establishment of the Islamic Republic, seems to be the continuing persistence on its revolutionary nature. In fact, this feature has created a strong barrier before Iran’s national objectives and aspirations in setting clear criteria for determining friends and foes. This does not suggest however that the same quandary is settled in domestic sphere. Perhaps many unfortunate events and vicissitudes during the lifespan of the Islamic regime so far are geared to this very important dimension of the revolutionary Iran.
Nevertheless, when states choose to engage in interactions with their peers, they must have a lucid definition of their ends and means, a realistic assessment of their partners and above all a faithful commitment to certain primordial standards (rules of the game) in international relations. Indeed revolutions have their own peculiarities and manners and do not necessarily follow conventional norms and expected behavior. They usually have a tendency to challenge the status quo and even alter those rules. Thus, many states prefer not to be in love with revolutionary regimes which by nature have a propensity to be rejective rather than receptive.
Is there a clear understanding of Iran’s vital national interests and capabilities in the decision making system? How far a state claiming to be guided by its ideological aspirations and revolutionary fervor can achieve its goals in international relations? Who is interested to make real friendship with an unpredictable partner? What are the consequences of foreign policy failure in the current nuclear crisis? ( Continued...) pdf version