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  • 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: 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: 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: Amir Sajedi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • 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: Government
  • Political Geography: Britain, Middle East, India, Israel, Kuwait, Soviet Union, Palestine, Arabia, United Nations
  • Author: Homeira Moshirzadeh
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The Middle East has witnessed dramatic changes in the last few years. Although some countries are experiencing new democratic changes, others face serious problems. Some state formal relations have changed from close relations to some unfriendly exchange of words and severed relations. Some countries are on the verge of civil war while others witness daily acts of terror. The main question this paper addresses is how the plurality of identities have led to security challenges in the Middle East. The article argues that the plurality of identities may explain many security challenges in the region. Following a look at the variety of discourses that constitute different political identities in the region, their impact on domestic and regional security will be discussed.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • 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: Farhad Ghasemi
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Arms control and the designing of global and regional security regimes is important issues in the field of strategic studies. This article proposes that strategic stability and systemic equilibrium are causally related to the formation of security regimes in international politics and Middle East studies. In respect to barriers to the formation of such regime, the author argues that systemic equilibrium and strategic stability are necessary preconditions in order to creation arms control regime in the Middle East. Thus, in light of these arguments, the research concludes that the main obstacles to the formation and sustainability of arms control regimes consist of: structural disequilibrium, imbalance of power, interventions of intrusive powers, global cycles of power and its linkage to this region, as well as strategic instability caused by these variables.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Pirooz Izadi
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Relations between Iran and France have undergone many ups and downs during the past three decades. However, these relations have been on a downward spiral during the past several years. It seems that factors such as recent developments in the Middle East, Iran's nuclear dossier and the two countries' divergent approaches to foreign policy are responsible for this new situation. This article tries to answer the question of why relations between the two countries have reached their lowest point. The author uses the concepts developed in the framework of neo-realist theories emphasizing the necessity of preventing the rise of regional hegemonic powers to argue that France's concerns about Iran's increasing influence in the region, their conflict of interests at the regional level, and Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear technology - which contributes to the enhancement of its influence and can escalate their conflict to the international level - constitute the most important reasons for the unfriendly relations between the two countries.
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, France
  • 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: Khalilollah Sardarnia
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The prevailing outlook among analysts before the advent of the recent social movements in North Africa and a number of Arab Middle Eastern countries indicated that the region will continue to resist the wave of democratization. The fall of several authoritarian regimes and continuity of social movements has generated serious doubts in this outlook, leading to the appearance of promising horizons for democratization. This paper argues that these social movements originate from the exacerbating legitimacy crisis of authoritarian governments and rising political, social and economic dissatisfaction of the general public, including the youth and the modern middle class. This work seeks to answer the question: what are the major sociological origins and precipitating factors influencing the advent of social movements in the Middle East and North Africa? In response, it can be argued that the advent of social movements in a number of Middle East and North African countries is rooted in the legitimacy crisis, as well as rising political, social and economic dissatisfaction of the general public, the youth and the modern middle class in recent decades. The web-based social networks and cell phones acted as precipitating factors in the massive mobilization and integration of mass protests and those of the modern middle class and the fall of a number of authoritarian regimes. These movements are notably characterized by being comprehensive, Islamic, democratic, anti-despotic, independence-seeking, and highly reliant on new information and communications technologies. The web-based social networks served as a precipitating factor in massive mobilization of the aforementioned strata within the context of an exacerbated legitimacy crisis and the gap between the state and the society rather than as a structural deep-rooted factor.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Government, Islam, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Hossein Pour-Ahmadi, Sajad Mohseni
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Developments relating to the Islamic Awakening in the Middle East, especially in 2011, influenced and intensified, more than ever, the efforts made by the Obama Administration to securitize nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In fact, these activities have always been one of the major preoccupations for the foreign policy the USA. Obama followed up seriously on what George Bush did, especially during his second term. The approach of both US presidents, predicated on considering the Iranian nuclear energy programme as a threat against the US and its interests, has its root in the security-oriented approach, and its adverse consequences, towards the Iran. Therefore, a major part of Iran's foreign policy has been influenced by nuclear activities. This paper proposes to consider the process of securitizing Iran's nuclear file, especially under Obama's administration, on the basis of the conceptual pattern provided by the Copenhagen School and from speech act and action perspectives. This paper seeks also to answer the question as to what methods Obama has used to securitize Iran's nuclear file. It presupposes that the attempts to isolate Iran have been made through speech act and actions.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Islam
  • Political Geography: America, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Mohammad Reza Maleki, Farzad Mohammadzadeh Ebrahimi
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Israel began its nuclear weapons program in 1958. Ever since the state of Israel has pursued a consistent policy of nuclear ambiguity, and has amassed over time a huge nuclear arsenal. The United States, as Israel's strategic ally, and despite some initial misgivings in the early 1960s, has actively supported this policy of nuclear ambiguity. Faced with such a situation, other countries in the region have tried, since 1963, to work towards the establishment of a nuclear- and WMD-free Middle East, which has failed to materialize up to now. The present article looks into the development of the nexus between the Israeli nuclear ambiguity policy and regional efforts towards the establishment of a nuclear- and WMD-free Middle East. The article will discuss the rationale of the Israeli outlook and policy and their implications and repercussions for the countries in the region, and the region at large. The article argues that the Israeli nuclear policy and the categorical refusal to join the NPT have as a matter of fact served as a source of national security threat for others in the region, led some to seek to acquire nuclear capability, and forced arms race on a regional scale. The article concludes that issues of interest and concern to all the parties involved would, in the final analysis, have to be addressed within the context of and in relation to other issues, including in particular, the nexus between regional peace and the nuclear issue. The authors' final conclusion is that meaningful movement in such a direction will require and depend on the emergence of a realistic outlook on the part of all parties concerned.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: On 19 October 2010 a two-session roundtable was held at the Center for Strategic Research (CSR) with the participation of a delegation from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). The SWP delegation, a guest of the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS) – the Foreign Ministry's think tank - engaged with Iranian experts in a wide-ranging discussion on Iran– EU relations as well as on regional issues of common interest. In the first session on regional issues, the war in Afghanistan and the Middle East peace process were discussed.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iran, Middle East, Germany
  • Author: Seyed Kazem Sajjadpour
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: In the last couple of seasons, the Arab world has been engulfed by popular uprisings. What was sparked by a young Tunisian man's self- immolation, by any definition in social science, has evolved into a turning point in the Middle East and North Africa. Some observers have compared recent events with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of World War I, resulting in the birth of a new regional order. All concerned players in international and regional politics have demonstrated a high degree of sensitivity to this indeed remarkable shift and have been trying to cope with a plethora of analytical as well as policy challenges. In this equation, how does the Iranian perspective on these developments look like? Taking into account that there are a wide range of views in the Iranian discourse on the Arab uprisings on the one hand, and the exigencies of Iranian neighborhood with the Arab world, on the other there is no single way to discern "the Iranian view". However, an Iranian perspective may be recognized by looking at Iran's views on the nature and direction of the Arab uprisings, as well as the opportunities and challenges these developments pose for the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Erzsébet N. Rózsa
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: It is widely held that the 21st century will be China's century on the global stage, while Iran, in the beginning of the 21st century, is becoming a regional power in the Middle East even if the limits to its power can be questioned. Both countries stand practically alone, without allies in a world that looks upon their expansion unfavourably, if not with outright hostility. The 21st century, however, will not be the period of gaining influence by military means, even if the use of military force cannot be excluded. One of the main characteristics of both the Chinese and the Iranian expansions is economic expansion. Chinese presence is booming in the Middle East. Iran has developed a significant economic activity in Western Afghanistan, then in Iraq. Both countries look back on ancient civilisations, to which they frequently refer to and which contributes to their perceptions of the surrounding world. China has traditionally perceived itself as the centre of the universe. Iran, by the right of its Islamic revolution of 1979, wishes to be the leading power of the Islamic world. Ayatollah Khomeini was speaking of Islam, in spite of the fact that the Islamic government put forward by him is rooted in Shiite Islam. This leading role seems to return under the presidency of Ahmadinejad – even if in a new form. 11 September 2001 has created the moving space for Iran in which it can become a regional power.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, West Asia
  • Author: Mohammad Farazmand
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The fall of the Tunisian and Egyptian rulers as a result of the popular uprisings in the Arab World was the harbinger of vast, surprising developments, which rapidly restored self-confidence to the Arab Street, attracting the attention of international actors and observers to the revived power of a new player affecting developments in the Middle East. Although in contemporary history, Arab public opinion has been tense at most times and always been present in the margins or core of developments, it failed to be involved in developments as extensively as it recently did. In addition, in contemporary Arab history, this is the first time that rulers have been dismissed as a result of popular pressure and street protests. This article examines the developments and uprisings in the Arab world in 2011 in light of the change in behavior and increased capability of Arab public opinion. In particular, this article assesses the reasons for the lack of democracy among the Arabs, and differences between the recent uprisings, and protests and movements in the past decade. The main argument of this paper is that the change in political behavior of the Arab youth and new political elites is a result of change in their political outlook and redefinition of the self and the other in their relationship with domestic rulers and foreign powers. The article tries, using an epistemological approach, to portray the character of the new Arab uprisings; arguing that they are different from other uprisings in contemporary history in terms of form, content and people's demands. In this picture, Arab nationalism and Salafist Islamism, which promote transnational ideals, are declining on the horizon of new uprisings. Instead, a new Arab political identity with an anti-despotic, pluralist and democracy-seeking approach is expanding.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Kourosh Ahmadi
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The paper aims to critically consider the proposition maintaining that the contemporary state of affairs between Iran and the Arab world results from an endemic, deep-rooted enmity between these two peoples with roots in the annals of history. To elucidate its argument, the paper offers a brief review of the major ups and downs in the historical relationship between Iranians and Arabs to see whether animosity or good-neighbourliness has mainly prevailed. Then, seeking to pinpoint the causes of uneasiness in the Iranian-Arab relationship since the 1950s, the focus of the paper turns to the formation of pan-Arab ideology and its strong anti-Iranian elements. Major differences in outlooks, coupled with territorial and diplomatic disagreements, had Nasserite Egypt and especially Ba'athist Iraq embrace these elements and begin implementing them to their full and extreme extent at a time when a monarchical West-leaning regime was in power in Iran. The paper concludes that the uneasiness in Iran-Arab relations during the past five to six decades has been situational and a modern phenomenon, chiefly stemming from specific political circumstances with certain roots in nation-building activities in the concerned countries. Hence, historical and ethno-religious or civilizational roots of this strained relationship are either non-existent or insignificant.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Amir H. Zamaninia
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The idea of establishing a Weapons of Mass Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in the Middle East is not new; it dates back to 1970's. today has compelled most analysts to look at the idea and the concept anew. Most regard the potential arms race in the Middle East to seriously jeopardize the prospects for long term stability and balance of power in the region. Israel, Iran and Egypt seem to have the main regional role in making or breaking this idea for another forty years. The absence of real Israeli conflict and the hesitant international expectation to make some movements in that front, as well as Iran's nuclear program being considered at the UN Security Council, where Iran is being practically considered guilty until pr window of opportunity to creative thinking and planning for advancing the idea of Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East.
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Egypt
  • Author: Evangelos Venetis
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The field of Iranian Studies was developed in the West as a means of exploring the unknown civilization of Iran in the aftermath of the Renaissance and during the political expansion of some Western countries towards East, starting from the 16th century. The establishment of Iranian Studies as a sub-field of Middle Eastern and Asian Studies resulted from practical necessities which Western nations faced in their efforts to understand the Iranian world and civilization at a time of their political advancement in the region. Throughout the twentieth century the field of Iranian Studies has advanced academically. While geopolitical balance in the region has remained essentially unaltered, and Iran has retained and even increased its geopolitical importance in the region. Thus Western interest in Iranian affairs, culture and mentality similarly increased.
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Zahra Tavakkoli
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The author's main hypothesis in the book Iran, the New Iraq, and the Political-Security System in the Persian Gulf is that the overthrow of the Ba'athist regime in Iraq and the subsequent emergence of a Shi'ite-dominated government has created a favorable situation for Iran and significantly increased its potential for a much stronger role in the Persian Gulf, and on a larger scale in the entire Middle East. In his analysis, such a potential is much facilitated by the enhanced possibility of a strategic cooperation between the New Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iran, hence providing greater opportunities for a more activist regional and international foreign policy. The crux of the author's argument in the book revolves around the necessity of adoption of new approaches in the Iranian foreign policy towards the New Iraq and the Persian Gulf region.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East