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Adib-Moghaddam, Arshin (2014) 'Global grandeur and the meaning of Iran: From the Shah to the Islamic Republic.' In: Fürtig, Henner, (ed.), Regional powers in the Middle East : new constellations after the Arab revolts. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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Foreign policy is never really restricted to material factors, which are conventionally defined in terms of the ability to project power through military or economic means.1 In addition, foreign policy is about imagining the place of a country among the community of nations. The international affairs of a country are about claiming a status, questions of dignity, identity, reputation, emotions, and words. In the Iranian case, certainly from the early twentieth century onward when the contours of the modern Iranian nation-state were drawn, foreign policy has always also been about imagining global grandeur. Contemporary Iranian leaders, more professionally since the reign of Reza Shah (1921–1941), have not tended to limit the international relations of the country to issues of survival and a narrow understanding of the “national interest.” Even in the absence of material resources justifying their self-perception, Iranian leaders have claimed and aspired to regional, even global power. There is then Iranian leaders’ Iran-centric perception of the world that has repeatedly lent itself to political hubris. This is exemplified by imperial titles such as pivot of the universe, king of kings, light of the Aryans, for the country’s royal dynasties and leader of the umma, shadow of god, and so on, after the Islamic revolution of 1979. Indeed, the only contemporary leader of Iran who did not claim an otherworldly title was Mohammad Mossadegh, Iran’s first democratically elected prime minister who was deposed by the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) led coup d’état in 1953.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: Foreign Policy, Islamic Republic, Central Intelligence Agency, Global Grandeur, Global Power
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
ISBN: 9781137484741
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2016 09:32

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