Middle East

Isolated: The West or Iran?

0 3

By Maaike Warnaar

03 January 2011


Western policy makers should be better aware of what their actions mean in the context of Iran’s political discourse. If they were, they would realise that much of their current policies are counterproductive. Though intended to isolate Iran, their measures contribute to Iran’s message of resistance against the West. With their policies on Iran Western governments are not isolating Iran, but themselves.

iran_flag11

The revolutionary ideology of the Islamic Republic of Iran is intrinsically linked to foreign relations. An inheritance, undoubtedly, of the 1979 Iranian Revolution against the Shah and the foreign powers supporting his rule. The Islamic Republic’s identity today is one of continuing resistance against these powers and their supposed unrelenting attempts to dominate others. The statements of Iran’s leadership are replete with examples of the efforts of Western countries to meddle in other country’s affairs, particularly in the Middle East. At the same time, Iran posits itself as a positive force, both in the region and internationally. The Islamic Republic in this understanding provides the necessary resistance to status quo power relations and stands by other oppressed people, particularly the Palestinians. However, Iran finds itself continuously undermined by the United States and other ‘arrogant powers’. The United States is seen as the prime ‘bullying power,’ undermining Iran’s natural role in the region and threatening Iran’s security.

Iran’s ideological struggle against the ‘domineering powers’ is supporting Iran’s increasingly authoritarian regime. Particularly with the reformist revival in 2009, after which every effort has been made by rightwing hardliners to frame opposition to Ahmadinejad’s re-election as a pre-planned ‘velvet coup’ planned by Western powers. Credibility to this understanding is added by the United States’ calls for regime change in the past, by the support it has granted to democratisation initiatives in Iran, and by its presumed support for terrorist organisations such as Jundallah and Mojahedin-e Khalq.

Against this background, Western policies help shape the future of Iran both domestically and internationally. Double standard behaviour by the United States is immediately picked up by Iran’s right wing hardliners to support the argument that the United States is disproportionally targeting Iran. Criticism of the Iranian nuclear programme is interpreted as an attempt to undermine Iran’s scientific progress. And support for reformism in Iran is evidence of Western interference in Iran’s domestic affairs. Western countries’ policies towards Iran, in sum, only add to the credibility of the hardline discourse, discredit reformists and strengthen the regime.

Iran’s nuclear development meanwhile is progressing despite Western efforts of halting it. Internationally, Iran is finding other partners who allow Iran more negotiating space. These governments may recognise some of their own frustrations in Iran’s views on international affairs in which the West is seen as unduly overbearing. Meanwhile, the West’s unfriendly attitude towards Iran, particularly calls from U.S. partners in the Middle East to bomb Iran, only increase the likelihood of Iran developing a nuclear weapon. If Western policy makers continue their confrontational course, it is not contributing to Iran’s isolation, but to their own.

 

Maaike Warnaar is a PhD candidate at the University of St Andrews focusing on the role of ideology in Iranian foreign policy.

 

LSEIdeas

About the author / 

CESRAN Int.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

CESRAN Blog

  • 24th Issue is Online Now!

    Vol. VI | No. III – July-August-September 2020 To Download the Magazine Click Here… CONTENTS 05-14….. World News by Ebru Birinci 17-24….. Preparedness for an Uncertain Future “The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself” by Professor Mark Meirowitz 25-39….. EU LAW vs UK LAW The Primacy of EU Law over National Law:…

  • IEPAS2020 is Going Virtual!

    Dear Friends and Colleagues, IEPAS2020 is Going Virtual! Due to the COVID19 pandemic, we are holding our entire conference virtually by streaming all of the live sessions. You may participate in all of our virtual networking events. In case of missing a session, you may get full access to the replays of every session since all…

  • The 13th issue of JCTS (Journal of Conflict Transformation & Security) is out now…

    The 13th issue of JCTS (Journal of Conflict Transformation & Security) is out now… Vol. 8 | No. 1 | 2020 Click here to Download the Entire Issue   TABLE OF CONTENTS Editor’s Note By David Curran Introduction By Nergis Canefe Research Articles Statelessness as a Permanent State: Challenges to the Human Security Paradigm By…

  • The 19th Issue of The Rest: Journal of Politics and Development is Out Now!

    The 19th issue of the rest: journal of politics and development is out now. Download the issue here… TABLE OF CONTENTS Research Articles Turkish AK Parti’s Posture towards the 2003 War in Iraq: The Impact of Religion amid Security Concerns By Alberto Gasparetto Nigeria and the Great Powers: The Impacts of the Boko Haram Terrorism on…

  • CESRAN International Named again amongst the Top Think Tanks in the World

    CESRAN International is pleased to announce that it has been named again amongst the world’s best think tanks. The 2019 Global Go To Think Tank Index ranked CESRAN International 141st among the World’s “Top Think Tanks in Western Europe” 75th among the World’s “Top Environment Policy Think Tanks” 153rd among the World’s “Top Foreign Policy…

  • THE 18TH ISSUE OF THE REST: JOURNAL OF POLITICS AND DEVELOPMENT IS OUT NOW.

    The 18th issue of the rest: journal of politics and development is out now. Download the issue here… TABLE OF CONTENTS Research Articles The Foreign Policy Decision Making Approaches and Their Applications Case Study: Bush, Obama and Trump’s Decision Making towards Afghanistan and the Region By Sharifullah Dorani Evaluating the Explanatory Power of Social Identity Theory,…

Newsletter