Iran and the New Geopolitics of the Middle East: In Search of an Equilibrium

February 16, 2021
Arab Spring

Project Associate Hassan Ahmadian recently published an academic article in the Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies. on Iran's changing strategic foreign policy following the Arab uprisings of 2011.

Abstract: Iran’s regional policy was subject to heated debates in the post-Arab Spring period both within Iran and beyond. Though welcomed by allies, Iran’s regional involvement was fiercely criticized by its rivals and foes and, as such, different theories emerged on its causes, aims and scope. There was less divergence, however, on the fact that Iran’s regional reach and influence are growing. Beyond this, the evolution of Iran’s strategic planning in the region and its causes were less discussed. This article aims at elaborating the rationale behind Iran’s strategic conduct and growing role in the post-2011 Middle East and argues that in order to preserve its regional position and resist trends threatening the ‘axis of resistance,’ Iran’s regional policy shifted from confronting the U.S.-backed regional order of pre-2011 to containing its rivals’ anti-status quo policies afterwards. This meaningful shift is bolstered by Iran’s international ‘balancing act,’ whereby it is balancing international powers against each other to fend off threats.


Find the full paper here.