Iranian Foreign Policy since the Iranian Islamic Revolution: 1979-2006

In: Perspectives on Global Development and Technology
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  • 1 Department of Politics, University of Amsterdam
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This article analyzes Iranian foreign policy since the Iranian Islamic revolution of 1979. The main questions to be dealt with are: what influences has the Iranian Islamic revolution had on foreign policy orientation and formulation of the Islamic Republic of Iran? What influences has Shi'ism had on foreign policy formulation in Iran? What impact have Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and the three presidents Hojjatoleslam Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Khatami, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had on foreign policy orientation? Have there been major shifts in foreign policy orientation during their tenures or has the overall foreign policy approach that was introduced by Khomeini after the revolution in 1979 remained the same? The article will first discuss the history of Shi'ism in Iran and its impact on politics since the introduction of Islam as state religion in the beginning of the sixteenth century by the Safavid Empire. It will then give an introduction to power relations in Iran since the Iranian Islamic revolution and analyze foreign policy orientation in Iran in four phases: (1) from 1979 to 1989, when Khomeini was the Supreme Leader; (2) from 1989-1997, during the presidency of Rafsanjani; (3) from 1997-2005, during the presidency of Khatami; and (4) since Ahmadinejad's presidency began in 2005.

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