Iran and the Changing Regional Strategic Environment
In the midst of the highly volatile and conflict-ridden region of greater West Asia, stretching from Pakistan to Lebanon, the only country that can claim to have functioned as a relatively stable and secure constituent state is the oil-rich but heavily sanctioned Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran’s economic and regional situation, together with its unique—and some might argue odd—Islamic system of governance, has confronted the country with serious challenges on a scale that few other states have experienced. Yet, Iran has managed to weather these challenges and has elevated its position to that of a critical regional player. As such, it has defied earlier doomsday predictions by some scholars and observers, who expressed skepticism about the longevity of its Islamic government that emerged under the political and religious leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the wake of the Iranian Revolution in January 1979. Why has the Islamic Republic ofIran proved to be so resilient, and what direction is it likely to take for the foreseeable future?
KeywordsSaudi Arabia Foreign Policy Islamic Republic Iranian Regime Policy Behavior
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