International Legitimacy: Constraints and Opportunities



The Ahmadinejad government faced not only domestic challenges to its legitimacy, but also its international environment proved increasingly unwelcoming. The regime blamed the West for this, which it said was attempting to undermine the Islamic Republic’s independence and development through its international domination. Ahmadinejad’s accusing discourse marked a clear break from Mohammad Khatami’s more conciliatory tone, but was in many a continuation of the revolutionary discourse of the 1980s that had remained prevalent among conservatives. The Iranian regime’s pre-occupation with the West was mutual. Iran already ranked high on Western security agendas as part of what George W. Bush had called the “Axis of Evil,” and the Ahmadinejad government’s anti-Western discourse reinforced Western suspicion of the Iranian regime. Taking progressively more intense measures against Iran in the period from 2006 to 2013, the United States and its European allies severely limited the Iranian regime’s international options. Their questioning of the Iranian regime’s international legitimacy became institutionally embedded in an international sanctions regime, which greatly restricted trade relations with Iran throughout the West’s sphere of influence.


Foreign Policy Security Council International Power Islamic Republic Iranian Regime 
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© Maaike Warnaar 2013

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