A Foreign Policy Ideology of Change



Foreign policy is shaped not only in response to international developments—it is within the context of regime ideology that foreign policy makers make sense of these developments and explore foreign policy options. During Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency, this ideological context was characterized by a revival of revolutionary discourse, with “change” as a central theme. This ideology gained particular significance as the Iranian regime was experiencing a growing crisis of legitimacy both domestically and internationally. In efforts to increase its legitimacy—or retain what legitimacy it had—the regime was engaged a relentless effort to communicate its own preferred views on international and domestic developments. This chapter gives a discourse analysis of Iranian regime’s foreign policy ideology during the period in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was president on the basis of official statements’ by President Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.2 It shows how the identification of problems and solutions, juxtapositions of good and evil, narratives of the past, and expectations for the future in the regime’s foreign policy ideology contributed to an elaborate and inherently consistent worldview. In line with this worldview, Iran was identified as a victim, but resistant, and undermined, yet developing, in other words: the Iranian regime’s worldview of change allowed for both international and domestic developments to be framed in terms of Iran’s success.


Foreign Policy Security Council Nuclear Weapon Arab World Muslim Country 
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  1. 13.
    Norman Fairclough, “The Discourse of New Labour,” in Discourse as Data, ed. M. Wetherell, S. Yates, and S. Taylor (London: Sage, 2001), 234–239.Google Scholar

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© Maaike Warnaar 2013

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