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The security and foreign policy of the islamic republic of iran : an offensive realism perspective
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Prifti, Bledar
University of South Florida
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Velayat-e faqih
Ultimate ideology
Nuclear program
Dissertations, Academic -- Government & International Affairs -- Masters -- USF   ( lcsh )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


ABSTRACT: This study argues that security and foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is mainly driven by the main principles of the Offensive Realism theory of international relations. While the Iranian political system is considered a theocratic system, based on the Islamic Shi'a ideology, its survival is defined as the ultimate ideology-an ideology that is paramount to any other ideology. Iran's security and foreign policy is determined and shaped by its need to survive in an anarchic international system. Iran's cooperation with "two Satans", Israel and the United States, during the Iran-Iraq war demonstrates that the ultimate ideology of survival dominates over any other ideological predisposition. In addition, the lack of a supranational government and the fear about the intentions of other states make Iran aware of the need to rely on self-help. Iran has also realized that the best way to limit threats to its survival would be maximizing its relative military power and becoming a regional hegemony. Furthermore, a formidable military power would provide Iran with a new status in regional and global politics, deterrence power over any possible attack from other great powers, and bargaining power over regional and global matters. In order to enhance its military (conventional and nuclear) arsenal, Iran has established "strategic relations" with its historic enemy, Russia. In its quest to advance its military capabilities and avoid threats to its sovereignty, Iran sided with Christian states, against its Muslim brothers, during the Russia-Chechnya and Armenia-Azerbaijan conflicts. Moreover, the Islamic state is aware of the fact that its paramount goals can be achieved by relying on precise rational strategies. In order to validate these claims, this study analyzes Iran's policy during the Iran-Iraq war and Iran's policy toward Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, the Russian-Chechen conflict, and the U.S. invasion of Iran.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2010.
Includes bibliographical references.
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The security and foreign policy of the islamic republic of iran :
b an offensive realism perspective
h [electronic resource] /
by Bledar Prifti.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains X pages.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2010.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
3 520
ABSTRACT: This study argues that security and foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is mainly driven by the main principles of the Offensive Realism theory of international relations. While the Iranian political system is considered a theocratic system, based on the Islamic Shi'a ideology, its survival is defined as the ultimate ideology-an ideology that is paramount to any other ideology. Iran's security and foreign policy is determined and shaped by its need to survive in an anarchic international system. Iran's cooperation with "two Satans", Israel and the United States, during the Iran-Iraq war demonstrates that the ultimate ideology of survival dominates over any other ideological predisposition. In addition, the lack of a supranational government and the fear about the intentions of other states make Iran aware of the need to rely on self-help. Iran has also realized that the best way to limit threats to its survival would be maximizing its relative military power and becoming a regional hegemony. Furthermore, a formidable military power would provide Iran with a new status in regional and global politics, deterrence power over any possible attack from other great powers, and bargaining power over regional and global matters. In order to enhance its military (conventional and nuclear) arsenal, Iran has established "strategic relations" with its historic enemy, Russia. In its quest to advance its military capabilities and avoid threats to its sovereignty, Iran sided with Christian states, against its Muslim brothers, during the Russia-Chechnya and Armenia-Azerbaijan conflicts. Moreover, the Islamic state is aware of the fact that its paramount goals can be achieved by relying on precise rational strategies. In order to validate these claims, this study analyzes Iran's policy during the Iran-Iraq war and Iran's policy toward Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, the Russian-Chechen conflict, and the U.S. invasion of Iran.
Advisor: Abdelwahab Hechiche, Ph.D.
Velayat-e faqih
Ultimate ideology
Nuclear program
Dissertations, Academic
x Government & International Affairs
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
4 856


The Security and Foreign Policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran: An Offensive Realism Perspective B y Bledar Prifti A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Art Department of Government and Inter national Affairs College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Abdelwahab Hechiche, Ph.D. Harry E. Vanden, Ph.D. M. Scott Solomon, Ph.D. Date of Approval: December 16 2009 Keywords: velayat e faqih pragmatism, ultimate ideology, anarchy, survival, self help, hegemony, nuclear program Copyright 2010 Bledar Prifti


Dedication To my dear parents and my beloved wife, Sue la. To my adorable niece, Elisa, and nephew, Ergi. I love you all very much


Acknowledgments Special thanks go to my humble and wonderful professor, Dr. Abdelwahab Hechiche Hiba, whose words, ideas, advices, and recommendations have inspired and helped me throughout the proce ss of completing this wor k. It was a privilege and an hon or for me to have had Hiba both professor and chair of the thesis committee. Special thanks go also to my professor and member of the thesis committee, Dr. Harry E. Van den. I will always remember his courses and the producti ve dis cussions we had t ogether. Dr. Hechiche and Dr. Vanden have played a major and indispensable role in shaping my academic formation. In addition, I would like to express my deep gratitude to Dr. M. Scott Solomon for his support and willingness to be a member of my thesis committee. Finally, my sincere and profound gratitude goes to Dr. Mohsen M. Milani. It would have been a privilege and an honor for me to have had Dr. Milani in my thesis committee. Unfor tunately, circumstances and his busy schedule did not allow for such a thing to happen. However, I feel privil eged and honored to have had him as my professor. The pragmatic security and foreign policy. From the bottom of my h eart, I thank you all very much!!!


i Table of Contents Table of Contents i List of Figures ii Abstract iii Chapter One : I ntroduction 1 Chapter Two : A History of I ran 8 The Iranian Exceptionalism 10 Foreign Conquests and Exploitations 15 Chapter Three : The Islamic Revolution of 1979 27 Major Factors Leading to the Revolution 27 Major Political and Social Groups 33 Chapter Four : Ayatollah Khomeini and the Velayat e Faqi f Doctrine 38 38 Velayat e Faqih 39 Chapter Five : 43 The Islamic Constitution 43 47 Chapter Six : The Theoretical Approach 54 Different Theoretical Perspectives 59 Chapter Seven : Iraq War 68 Chapter Eight : Chechen Conflict 8 1 Chapter Nine : Azerbaijani Con flict 95 Chapter Ten : 105 Chapter Eleven : Conclusions and Policy Implications 114 References 120


ii List of Figures Figure 1. The Map of Iran 8


iii The Security and Foreign Policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran: An Offensive Realism Perspective Bledar Prifti ABSTRACT This study argues that security and foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is mainly driven by the main principles of the Offensive Realism theory of internation al relations. While the Iranian political system is considered a theocratic system based on deology, its survival is defined as the ultimate ideology an ideology that is paramount to any other ideology y is determined and shaped by its need to survive in an anarchic international system. with Israel and the United States during the Iran Iraq war demonstrates that the ultimat e ideology of survival dominates over any other ideological predisposition. In addition, t he lack of a supranational government and the fear about the intentions of other states make Iran aware of the need to rely on self help. Iran has also realize d that the best way to limit t hreats to its survival w ould be maximizing its relative military power and becoming a regional hegemony. Furthermore, a formidable military power wou ld provide Iran with a new status in regional and global politics deterrence power over any possible attack from other great power s, and bargaining power over regional a nd g lobal matters. In order to enhance its military (conventional and nuclear)


iv arsenal In its quest to advance its military capabilities an d avoid threats to its sovereignty, Iran sided with Christian states, against its Muslim brothers, d uring the Russia Chechnya and Armenia Azerbaijan conflict s. Moreover, the Islamic state is aware of the fact that its paramount goal s can be achieved by rel ying on precise rational strategies In order to validate these claims t his study analyzes policy during the Iran Iraq war and Armenian Azerbaijani conflict the Russian Chechen conflict and the U.S. invasion of Iran


1 C hapter One Introduction After the sudd en and prominent success of the Islamic Revolution in deposing the the coming into power of Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979 Iran's political behavior has had its ow n trajectory and traits that have bewildered not only the foreign governments but also the political scientists who endeavor to provide scientific explanations to such political behavior This rapid and radical change of the political system and its institutions has had a n enormous impact on how the security and foreign pol icy of the new Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) was to be conducted by the new Iranian power elite in the years to come. After decades of close relationships and alliance with the Unite d States and the Wes t, Iran became the symbol of anti Americanism and one of the most serious challengers of the American interests in and for a new position of Iran in both the regiona l and global arena. While for many states the problem is to separate state from religion, for most governments and international relations experts the problem is to separate speeches from actions, or words from deeds. Iran was one of the countries whose pr opaganda or political rhetoric, rarely matched its actions. Following the characteristics of the new Islamic state, many would think and believe that Iran's security and foreign policy would be based on religious rules and predispositions. be came the leading anti Shah ideology during the revolution


2 and received much of its potency by pro mulgating a fierce opposition against the policies of November 1979 when the Supreme Leader flamboyantly demonized and named the United States as the Great Satan (Beeman 1983, 191 192). Later, he would call Israel the Small Satan However, this assumption was soon to be shaken by the Iran Contra A ffair which became public in Novem ber of 1986. The affair consisted of systematic and intensive dealings between Iran on the one side and the United States and Israel on the other side. The Iran Contra scandal happened in a time when Iran was fighting for its survival against a very agg ressive Iraq. In addition, the Russian Chechen conflict re vealed more of the nature of Russian position was exercised in a time when Iran so desperately needed military and military led technological support t o confront its adversaries, to survive, and to increase i ts influence in the region. Azerbaijan conflict and the U.S. invasion of Iraq are two other cases that reveal the real nature of and foreign policy. These events have brought to the minds of many scholars questions about the real principles that guide the Iranian security and foreign policy. Is the Iranian security and foreign policy guided by religious predispositions or by its ne ed to survive in an anarchic international system? Thus, among others, the central question that this study endeavors to answers is: Is the Iranian security and foreign policy guided by ideology or by the reality of current international system of politics ? This study endeavors to provide answers to the following questions related foreign policy: What drives


3 foreign policy? Why does Iran behave the way it does? What are the paradoxes of Ir of Israel? Will Iran build a nuclear weapon if the opportunity is gi ven? What does all this mean for the international system of politics? What are some of the main challenges that Regardless of the responses to the above questions, there cannot be a single answer that can provide a comprehensive explanation of the Iranian security and foreign policy. There is no theory that explains everything. Nevertheless, there are always theories that provide a better explanation or definition of the political reality Following this assumption, t his stud y endeavors to security and foreign policy is shaped by the nature of the international system of politics as defined under the principles of the Offensive Realism Theory o f international relations (Mearsheimer 2001). The theory holds that the states are the main actors of the international system. In addition, t he international system lacks a central government and is in a permanent state of anarchy. States also possess cer tain military powers, which make them capable of hurting or even destroying one another. Moreover, states are suspicious of the intentions of the other states. Finally, t he top priority goal of the states is their survival. The survival can be assured only when there is no other power in the system capable of threatening the existence of a state, meaning that the state has reached the status of hegemony In order to ensure their survival in this anarchic system, states rely on self help and calculate thei r interests and powers in conjunction with the interests and powers of


4 the other states. Fear and assurance both lead to permanent change of status. S tates fear each other and seek to ensure their existence by eliminating any real or perceived threat. As s uch, states can hardly accept their status quo unless they become hegemony Survival in an anarchic international system of politics is the only status quo ideology the ultimate ideology that cannot be changed for any other ideology. One, being a person o r a state, can trade one Nevertheless one cannot trade its (his/her) existence for an ideology. If it happens, what would be the point or what would be left of it (his/her) ? Nothing existential! However this study does not claim that there exist a dichotomical relationship between the Islamic ideology and offensive realism. Nor does it claim that one perspective or another can explain everything related to Iran's security and foreign policy. The main argument of this study is to provide an adequate and efficient analysis that would indicate that survival is the ultimate i deology of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran seek s to ensure its survival in this anarchic system by increasing its powers vis a vis the power s of the other states. This main goal of the Islamic Republic is incorp orated in and explained by the Offensive R ealism Theory of the international relation The methodology that will be used to test the theory of offensive realism consists of multiple case studies, which encompass the most important events during the life of the Islamic Republic. Case study methodol ogy is considered by many prominent political within its real life context; when (2) the boundaries between phenomenon and context are


5 not clearly evident; and in which (3) Joslyn, and Reynolds 2001, 143). Johnson et al also claim that case study design clearly identifies political theories that would provide an accurate explanation of the events incorporated in that c ase stud y. As such, t his study argues that the principles of the offensive realism theory provide an explanation to the events presented through the case studies. A multiple case study approach will be used in order to provide stronger explanatory power of the th eory. The use of multiple case studies will provide the opportunity to replicate findings and to repeatedly test the theory for several times. This approach will lea d to a higher reliability of data and procedures imple mented to test the theory. Case studi es that will be used to test the theory include: (1) the Iran Contra Affair (2) the Armenian Azerbaijan c onflict (3) the Russian Chechen c onflict and (4) the U.S. Invasion of Iraq Emphasizing the importance of applying a pure and rigo rous theoretical approach will help the scientific community and government entities not only to hav e a profound understanding of also to make educated conjectures ance of the study rests not only on the emphasis that it puts on the theoretical and methodological framework but also on the importance that the result may have in defining and predicting the behavior of the Iranian government in the future. In order to test the theory and provide reasonable and scholarly support for its claims, this study will analyze the main elements that have contributed to building current security and foreign policy. Without analyzing and considering all these elements, it wo uld be impossible to reach a final conclusion about what this study aims to explain.


6 First, this study will analyze (but will not argue about) the Iranian exceptionalism demonstrated throughout the history of Iran conque sts and exploitations from foreign powers, and major events that have shaped the nature politics. The Iranian exceptionalism will consider the Iranian s perception of themselves from the era of Cyrus the Great to the modern times of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and Grand Ayatollah Khomeini In addi tion, foreign conquests from foreign powers will include a p eriod of conquests starting with the conquest from Alexander the Great the existential threats from Mongols systematic conquests and exploitatio ns from the Russians and British, and the unexpected attack from Saddam Hussein in 1980. This study also will continue with an analysis of the main events that have played a crucial role in shaping current policies. These events will include the 195 against Mohammad Mossadeq and the Iran Iraq war. Second, this study will make a thorough analysis of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. structure, this even t is analyzed separately from other historical events. The chapter under the Islamic Revolution will cover major actors and factors such as the Constitutional Movement of 1906, the White Revolution of the Shah in 1960, the June uprising in 1963, and other main social and political entities The study will continue with a separate chapter on the life, ideas, and the work of the Grand Ayatollah Khomeini the leader of the Islamic R evolution Khomeini formulated the velayat e faqih doctrine and gave Iran the f oundations of the Islamic state. Understanding the velayat e faqih is crucial to defining current power politics and its informal power structure. I n addition, this study will provide an analysis of the Islamic Constitution and the informal and form al


7 power structure of Iran. Its goal i s to divulge the harbor where the real power rests, or who decides what, when, where, and how. Finally, after going through all these elements, the study will then conclude with the theoretical approach and case studie s to test the theory.


8 Chapter Two A History of Iran As mentioned previously, we cannot have a coherent observation of the security and foreign policy of the modern Iran without analyzing first certain historical factors and events that have continuously shaped the process of the political and social development of Iran throughout history. First, the geostrategic position of Iran (Figure 1 .) has played a significant role in shaping ( Iran stands for Aryan used by Indo Euro pean peoples who migrated southeast before 1000 B.C.) and its interaction with other states in the region. Iran borders the Persian Gulf (with its oil richness) to the south, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the Caspian Sea to the north, Afghanistan and Pakista n to the east, and Turkey and Iraq to the west. This geographic position makes Iran a very important route geostrategic state dates back during the era of the Sassanid Dyna sty and the Silk Road which connected China with the West. It continues today through the oil pipes by connecting Iran with China, Europe, Pakistan, and many other states around the world. It y and relations with other states and has given Iran a strategic geopolitical status in the international system of politics. In addition, the history of Iran can be divided into three main historical blocs. It is important to emphasize that each of the b locs should not be considered separated from the others but as a result of the interconnection between each other. First, the history of


9 Iran emphasizes what many scholars consider the Iranian Exceptionalism which is not that different from the well known phrase of the American Exceptionalism The second main bloc of the Iranian history incorporates events that deal with systematic conquests and exploitation of Iran throughout its h istory from other foreign powers The third main bloc of the Iranian histor y analyzes the birth and the influence of cultural, social, and political life. This historical bloc will be discussed in details Figure 1. The Map of Iran Source: University of Texas P roduced by the CIA


10 The Iranian Exceptionalism The Iranian exceptionalism is a term used in this study to describe perceptiveness, feelings, and beliefs of the Iranian people and their leaders that their natio n (Persia or Iran) holds a unique place in history and among other nations. Sadegh Zibakalam (n.d., 85), a professor at the Tehran University, claims that the on two main pillars: (1) the negation of the present world order and (2) the belief in the inherent superiority of the Iranian notion of the Iranian exceptionalism dates back during the reign of Cyrus the Great (600 B.C. 530 B.C.), the founder of the Persian Empire and the first king of the A chaemenia n D ynasty Under his three decades of leadership, the Persian Empire Iran) became one of the largest empires that the world has ever seen throughout its history Cyrus the Great became the epitome of a legendary military lea der by conquering in a short time three other empires Median Empire Lydian Empire and the Babylonian Empire In addition, he laid the foundations of a successful model of a centralized administration and the principle of accountability before his people. But the legacy of Cyrus the Great would not be accurate and complete without addressing the contribution that he made o n religious issues. After seizing the kingdom, Cyrus the Great established Zoroastrianism as a monotheistic religion whose principles em phasized the concept of the social justice and the notions of the final judgment and immortality. He also emphasized and exercised the Zoroastrian principle of the just ruler In addition, Cyrus the Great conside red himself an instrument of God on earth, a nd his right to rule came directly from the will of the Supreme God From Zoroastrianism Cyrus the Great took the notion of the Supreme God which he thought had entrusted him


11 with the task and the legitimacy of uniting people of the earth in one single k ingdom of peace and justice. This belief is tantamount to the belief expressed in the Manifest Destiny of the new born American state. The Manifest Destiny was used by many U.S. politicians to justify their belief that God had provided the United States wi th the task of expanding their values throughout the Western hemisphere. Cyrus also implemented different religious policies and allowed a diversity of religious practices and beliefs. The most notable contribution is his Edict of Restoration which brought to an end the Babylonian Captivity of the Jewish people. Darius the Great (549 B.C. 486 B.C.) is another Persian leader who based his leadership on the legacy of Cyrus the Great and elevated the Persian identity to higher stages. Like Cyrus, Darius the Gr eat believed in Ahura Mazda and Zoroastrianism In addition, he organized a highly professional army and an administrative system which served in the future as a model for the Roman Empire Moreover, Darius created a legal system based on justice, principl es, and the moral code of Zoroastrianism The main contribution that Darius brought to the Persian civilization was the building of Persepolis which was considered as the main site to celebrate the grandeur of the Persian Empire and the symbol of the Pers ian uniqueness in the world. Darius the Great was succeeded by Xerxes the Great (485 465 BC), the last king of the Achaemenian Dynasty Xerxes the Great followed the leadership of Cyrus and Darius the Great by emphasizing military capabilities and strateg ies as the main ways for Persian expansion and security in the world. In 332 B.C., Persia was conquered by another historical leader Alexander the Great Soon after the conquest, Alexander ordered the Persepolis burned, an action that


12 he regretted in the future. The reason for him to order the destruction of Persepolis was The next dynasty to govern Persia after the Greek conquest was the Sassanid Dynasty which reined betwee n 224 C.E. and 651C.E. During the Sassanid Dynasty trade flourished and the Iranian economy prospered more than ever before. The Silk Road between China and the West and the geostrategic location of Persia made Persians prosperous and feel that d go anywhere and do In addition, t he occupation of Iran by the Arab forces in 651 C.E. and the spread of Islam throughout Iran revealed again the nature of Iranian exceptionalism This occupation also divided the history of Iran in two major timeframes: the Islamic and Pre Islamic history. Islam itself was divided in two major sects: Sunni and The Iranians embraced Islam but never relinquished their own identity. In 1501, during the Safavid Empire Ismail Shah declared the Twelv e r Shi ism as the official religion of Iran. This came after prolonged conflicts and wars among different Muslim groups about the interpretation of Koran and the succession of the Prophet. For Sunnis, the successor of the Prophet does not need to be a desc endant of the Prophet and exemplary Muslim who could ably and virtuously direct the religious and political affairs of the as a rgued that the successor should be a descendant of the Prophet and should possess special spiritual qualities. While Sunnis chose Abu Bakr (a close friend and the father in law of the Prophet), Shi as chose Ali to be the successor of the Prophet. Ali was a cousin in law, and a protector of the Prophet. He became the fourth Caliph of the Muslim


13 community and was later killed in confrontation with his Sunnis counterpart, who established the Umayyad dynasty This event permanen tly changed the path of Shi ism. Shi a reli gion became consolidated and broadly accepted by the people after the battle of Karbala in 680 C.E when soldiers of the second Umayyad caliph, Yazid I massacred Husse i n along with seventy two of his sup porters and family members (2007, 40). However, the conversion of Iranians to Shi ism cannot be considered accidental but as a choice through which the Iranians decided to retain Islam, and at the same time to shape it in such a way that would allow Iran ians preserve their identity and values. Iran accepted Shi a Islam because it was a mirror of the Persian culture and of the Iranian experience. The Iranians saw Shi a martyrdom of Ali and Hussein as shadows of themselves. In addition, and the lives of Ali and Hussein showed Iranian s that they themselves were humiliated and defeated throughout the history in their quest for their rights and the deepest convictions (Mackey 1996, 85). The Iranians found in Ali the they had seen previously in Cyrus Darius and Xerxes the Great Zoroastrianist hope for the return of the savior who would restore justice on earth (the return of the Hidden Imam the Mahdi ). However, the real and the vivid symbol of the Iranian identity and exceptionalism Shahnameb (around 1000 C.E.) Many scholars consider Shahnameb a masterpiece that best expose the grandeur of Persepolis as a symbol of t whole range of images heroism, justice, national glory, and tragic defeat that Iranians


14 Shahnameb awakened wh long hymn to honor, valor, wisdom, and patriotism (1996, 63). It was a perfect blending and exposure of the identity and values the Pre Islamic Iran with the Islamic Iran. It revived the memo ries of the Iranians and brought into light the Iranian exceptionalism Going back to the Sadegh Zibakalam pillar s of Iranian exceptionalism, besides this Iran ian exceptionalism in the negation of the present world order by the Iranian politicians and governments and the desire to bring back the glory of the Persian Empire. One example for this case includes the celebration of the 2,500 years of the Persian Empi re by Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi (1919 1980; and the Shah of Iran 1941 1979) next to the ruins of Persepolis This celebration of the Persian Empire and the place chosen for it tell us that the Persian glory still lives in the mind of the Iranians. Cyrus t he Great viewed as the elements of a just world order. Another example that emphasizes the Iranian exceptionalism is the behavior of the new Islamic State toward the Weste rn security and foreign policy has been predominantly anti Western and has endeavored to portray Iran as a unique nation even within the Muslim world. The portretization of t he West is not that far from the belief held by Cyrus the Great who considered it a task given from the Supreme God to unite people of the earth in one kingdom of justic e and peace.


15 Foreign Conquests and Exploitation A second bloc of the Iranian history deals with the frequent and systematic conquests and exploitation s of Iran from other foreign forces throughout the history. The first major conquest that Iran has endure d was its conquest from the Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. The conquest of Persia came after centuries of glory and dominance. In order to destroy also the glory of Persia, Alexander the Great obliterated Persepolis the symbol of the Persian identity. Th e se cond major conquest of Iran occurred in 651 C.E. when the Islamic Arab forces (the Bedouins) invaded the Sassanid dynasty, following their goal of spreading the Islam ic religion. This occupation, as mentioned earlier, Pre Islamic and Islamic history During the Islamic history, Iran went through a new series of conquests and existential threats from foreign powers. In addition, t he eleventh century brought a series of conquests for Iran. The Seljuk Turks were the first to i nvade Iran in the beginning of the century. Even though Seljuk Turks did not cause any destruction to Iran they seriously threatened Iran religiously and politically (Mackey 1996, 68). The worse was about to come. In 1206, a highly skilled and mobile army of Mongols invaded Iran and perpetrated an infamous spree of killings among the Iranian population. For the first time in its history, Iran was facing the extermination of its population and its very existence. To make the situation worse, in 1 384, the Tatars invaded Iran and drove the Iranian population further to extermination. Moreover, in 1514, another threat came from the Ottoman Empire The Ottoman leader Selim I defeated Ismail Shah of Iran at the battle of Chaldiran and managed to enter the Iranian capital. Despite the Iranian defeat, due to his army overextension and disapproval of the invasion, Selim I was forced to retreat.


16 Even though the Ottoman occupation of 1514 is considered the last serious threat to the Iranian heartland, other minor wars f ollowed between Iran and other foreign powers, resulting in exploitation and annexation of the Iranian territories. The nineteenth century confronted Iran with two great powers: Russia and Great Britain. Throughout this period, Great Britain a nd Russia were the threats and the protectors of Iran, depending on the balance of power that the Iranian leaders implemented to avoid domination from one party. This period was characterized by wars and stupendous concessions given to both the Russians an d the British from Iran, such was the Most Favored Nation Clause given to British in 1841. These concessions culminated in 1872 when the British Baron Julius de Reuter received a concession that granted him the exclusive right to the Iranian infrastructure national banks, mineral extraction, and the exploitation of forests (Ansari 2006, 14; Milani 1994, 25). This was a move by the Prime Minister Mirza Husain Khan to avoid Iran from falling under the Russian dominance (Keddie 2003, 54). A series of wars pre ceded and followed these concessions. The first war was what is known as The Russian Persian War This war continued from 1804 to 1813 One of the main causes for this war was the Iranian desire to regain Georgia from Russia. For this reason, Iran ( Fath Al i Shah ), under the Qajars Dynasty signed the Treaty of Finkenstein in which France would help Iran regain Georgia from not work because France soon signed a peace tr eaty with Russia, the Peace of Tilsit (Ansari 2006, 10) The first war with Russia ended in 1813 with Iran signing the Treaty of Gulistan which gave to the Russians other important territories in Caucasia and the exclusive right to have warships on the Ca spian Sea (Keddie 2003, 38).


17 The Treaty of Gulistan was later considered ambiguous by the Iranians and claimed that the Russians were occupying territories that were beyond the provisions of the treaty. In addition to the ambiguity of the treaty, some cle rgy members claimed that the Russians were persecuting other Muslims in their occupied territories. These claims urged Fath Ali Shah in 1826, to declare the second war against Russia by proclaiming jihad However, the military superiority of Russia decisi vely defeated the Iranian army. Iran was forced to sign the Treaty of Turkomanchai which annexed more territories from Iran. Among other concessi ons, this treaty forbade Iran from navigating the Caspian Sea In addition, Iran was obligated to sign economi c treaties ba sed on the Russian preferences. Moreover, the Russians had the right to send their consulate envoys eve rywhere they please in Iran. Finally, Iran was required to pay Russia a certain amount of money in retribution. In 1856, Iran fought anothe r war, but this time against the British army. This war is called the Anglo Persia War and was a result of the British responding to the Iranian quest t o occupy the Afghan city of Hera t The British troops managed to force Iran to abandon the quest of Hera t As a result, Iran and the Great Britain signed the Peace of Paris in 1857, which forced Iran to renounce its claim for Herat. Since then the presence of the British influence in Iran would continue to increase through its cooperation with Iran in the o il field, which resulted in creation of the Anglo Persian Oil Company in 1909. However, the conquest s would not end here. In August 25, 1941 occurred what is known today as the Anglo Soviet invasion of Iran. The reason for this invasion dates back in the outbreak of the WWII when Iran and the Nazi Germany had intensive political and


18 economic relations The Iranian sympathy for the Germans caused great concerns once the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in June of 1941. Reza Shah and the elite of the Iranian p olitics had openly expressed their sympathy for the Nazi Germany and their superiority as the Land of the Aryans which is assumed to be the meaning for Iran (Gonzales 2007, 43). Both the British and the Soviets became concerned about any possible German domination or invasion of Iran, which would cut off the supply for Soviet troops. To avoid this scenario, the British and the Soviets sent a note to the Iranian government demanding the expulsion of the Germans from the Iranian territory (Keddie 2003, 105) Reza Shah responded negatively to this note, causing both the Great Britain and the Soviet Union to invade Iran. By invading Iran, Great Britain and Russia ensured control over oil supplies, a vital necessity especially during the time of war against th e Nazi Germany and created a with oil and other goods while being at war with the Germans (Abrahamian 2008, 97). By invading Iran, at the same time, the British and t he Soviet forces secured the oil fields from any possible German invasion. Fearing Reza Shah, the British and the Soviets decided to depose Reza Shah and to bring into power the young prince Mohammad Reza Shah In January 1942, Mohammad Reza Shah the Grea t Britain, and the Soviet Union signed an alliance which obliged the British and Soviets to safeguard the Iranian economy from the negative impact of the war and mandated the withdrawal of the t roops within six months after the end of the war (Keddie 2003, 105). After the war, the foreign troops withdrew from Iran, leaving the country in critical economic conditions. The


19 British influence on Iran would come to an end in 1953 after the against the Mohamed Mossadeq and the American involvement in the region. The 1953 Mo h amma d Mossadeq remains one of the most important events in the Irani an history. It has played a significant role in shaping the future of not only the domestic policies but also of tes. As If Mosaddeq had not been overthrown, the rev olution might Mossadeq was a Western educated politician and was known as a firm nationalist. His popularity made him the leader of th e National Front which was a coalition of the secular and religious nationalist parties. Early in his political career, Mossadeq had identified himself with two main issues: a desire to transfer political power from the royal court to th e parliament (kno wn as the Majle s ), and a desire to increase Iran's control over its oil industry, which was controlled by the British owne d Anglo In 1950, Mossadeq and many other members of the National Front were elected deputies of the Majle s Together with other representatives of the National Front in M ajle s Mossadeq took initiatives to reduce the power of the Shah and attempted to organize a nationalist movement against to the British a major portion of the oil industry. For this purpose, Mossad eq submitted a bill to the Majle s aiming at the nationalization of the oil industry. In March 1951, Majle s approved the nationalization of the oil industry and managed to appoint Mossadeq as the Prime Minister of Iran


20 due to the public pressure, the Shah was forced to reinstate Mossadeq as the Prime Ministe r of Iran. The nationalization of the oil industry and his connections to the Tudeh party brought Mossadeq in conflict with the British and the United States governments, and also with the Shah at home. Both governments planned to overthrow Mossadeq. The British were angered by the nationalization of the oil industry and the Americans saw an opportunity for the American oil companies to benefit from the Iranian oil production. In addition, Americans feared the expansion of the Russian communist influence i n Iran due to the communist party Tudeh Party For this purpose, the United States launched the operation codenamed BEDAMN This operation started in 1948 and aimed at contain ing the Soviet and the Tudeh influence in Iran and weaken ing the National Fro nt by undermining its mass base of support (1987, 268 69). Iran and the United States had previously signed the Mutual Defense Agreement in 1950 through which U.S. recognized Iran as a strategic country for implementing the T ruman Doctrine This goal of this doctrine was to contain communism and to limit or destroy the Soviet influence in the region (Milani 1994, 38). The British intelligence services and the U.S. Central Intelligence Service (CIA) made a detailed plan for dep osing Mossadeq. The plan consisted of three main strategies. First, there was the using of legal channels to force Mossadeq accept the International Court of Justice as the arbiter of the oil disputes. Mossadeq rejected all the proposals The second strate gy included the undermining of imposing stringent economic sanctions and black mailing his government through military maneuvering in the region. The third strategy left to be used against Mossadeq


21 was to remove him from the o ffice through covert political actions conducted by anti Mossadeq and pro Western forces in Iran ( Gasiorowski 1987, 263). The CIA resumed the leading role in this operation after the staff of the British embassy left Iran in November, 1952. Meanwhile, and he Shah was for ced to go in exile in 1953. The coup organized by the CIA aimed at promoting anti Mossadeq propaganda from the opposition and encouraging high military officers to organize against Mo ssadeq. The operation for this purpose was named the Operation AJAX and was directed by the CIA officer Kermit Roosevelt in collaboration with the British M16 (Bergman 2008, 4; Gasiorowski 1987, 271). Besides the Shah, there were three main groups within I ran that brought down Mossadeq. The first group included a group of military officers led by Fazlollah Zahedi Zahedi was a retired general and member of the Senate who also headed the Retired Officers' Association The second group included members of the National Front who wanted Mossadeq deposed. In this group were the Rashidian brothers who were the key players of the anti Mossadeq movements before the coup. The third group included prominent figures of the National Front who worked to undermine Mossad Hussein Makki and Ayatollah Kashani ( Gasiorowski 1987, 269). The coup succeeded in overthrowing Mossadeq in August 19, 1953. Soon after the coup, Mossadeq was arrested and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi retu rned home and instituted the martial law throughout the country. This was followed by a long series of arrests of the supporters of the National Front and of the Tudeh Party The Press censorship was instituted and the pro Mossadeq de monstrations were crus hed by


22 military and militia forces. In addition, the Shah, with the help of the CIA, established the most fearful and notorious secret police forces of the modern Iran named SAVAK Together with Mossadeq ended the process that would bring a more rep resentative form of government for the people and the Iranian independence from foreign dominance (Gasiorowski 1987, 278). In the eyes of the Iranian people, Mossadeq was a ma rtyr who reminded the Iranians the Persian empathy for the just ruler and the ven eration for Imam Ali and Hussein who sacrificed themselves for justice and freedom. Ali Ansari states it in (Ansari 2006, 38). However, the foreign intervention would not e nd here. In 1980, a brutal attack was launched against Iran from its neighbor Iraq. A bloody war started. The Iran Iraq War (1980 1988) can be considered one of the longest and the bloodiest wars in the history of the modern Iran. For some scholars, the w ar was the latest manifestation of the Arab Persian struggle for the domination of the Gulf region. For some others, the war was just the extension of the historic struggle for power between the Iran Iraq War was a struggle for power and the domination of the regional politics, following the decline of ad signed what is called T he 1975 Algiers Agreement It was an agreement to settle the borders dispute and to stop interference in internal affairs of each country. One main dispute involved the issue of the oil rich and multi ethnic province of Khuzestan which borders Iraq. Due to the Arab (or non Persian) majority of the province Iraq claimed the historical right to control it The disputes also involved


23 were occupied by the Iranian milit ary. Moreover, the Shatt al Arab waterway was another territorial dispute between Iraq and Iran. Persian Gulf, the control of the Shatt al Arab waterway would become an economic and strategic gain for Iraq. Parties signed the Algiers Agreement under the promise to permanently stop the disputes and to restore good relationship and mutual cooperation. It is important to mention that this treaty did not incorporate an escape clause that would enable one party to deflect for certain reasons. However, the situation in the region changed rapidly and radically after the triumph of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the growing hostility between the new Islamic government and the United States, especially after the Islamic c onquest of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. For Iraq, the revolution could expand its impact in other regions of the Persian Gulf and a potential Islamic Shi a movement would be a serious threat to the Iraqi regime. In addition to his desire to become hegemony, the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, considered Iran an easy target due to the vulnerability created internally by the revolution. This perception was strengthened by the assumption that by losing the American support, Iran had lost the political and militar y support from the West. Saddam decided to take advantage of the new opportunities. On September 22, 1980, Iraq launched a massive attack on Iran. In response to the invasion, the Islamic government of Iran mobilized the regular army, the Pasdaran and Bas ij volunteers, including young boys and girls. Meanwhile, the Islamic government in Iran was going through radical processes of change and consolidation. The war also consolidated the popular support for the Supreme Leader and his government. By the 1982, after Bani Sadr was forced out of the office and Mujahedin e Khalq e Iran organization was almost entirely destroyed, the war


24 began to take a different course. Once in defense now Iran became an offensive force. The 1982 counteroffensive forced Saddam to retreat from the occupied territories. After this, the Iranians intensified their war goals by demanding the removal of Saddam from power and a huge amount in reparations (Axworthy 2008, 268). The Iranians also rejected a peace plan proposed by the Arab L eague which demanded an immediate cease fire, total withdrawal of the Iraqi army, and a $70 billion in reparation for Iran through the Islamic Reconstruction Bank (Milani 1994, 209). Despite the international indifference toward this conflict, certain for eign powers secretly engaged in conflict by providing weaponry assistance to countries at war. Throughout the war, the United States provided military assistance to both sides, depending on the course of the war. Once the Americans realized that Iran was g aining strength, they immediately launched an anti Iran strategy. This strategy consisted of supporting Iraq both directly and indirectly, financially and militarily. In 1982, the U.S. State Department removed Saddam f and in 1984, diplomatic relations with Baghdad were established. Also, in 1984, the Reagan administration launched the Operation Staunch which aimed at stopping the flow of arms to Iran. Iraq soon became the largest importer of weapons in the region. The Soviets becam e the main providers of arms to Iraq. The West Germany also assisted Iraq in building chemical and biological weapons, which were used later by Saddam against the Kurds and the Iranians. France provided Iraq with aircraft and l ong range bombers. The Iran Iraq war became a concern when Iraq began the tanker war The tanker war consisted of attacks on oil transporting ships in the Persian Gulf. This type of war endangered the U.S. interests in the Gulf. The U.S. navy soon became i nvolved in this


25 type of war by supporting the Iraqis and attacking the Iranian navy. This culminated with the USS Vincennes downing an Iranian commercial aircraft, killing all its 290 people on board Interim, in November 1986, a Lebanese newspaper reveale d that the United States, through Israel, was providing weapons to Iran. This became known as the Iran Contra Affair (analyzed below as a case study). Due to its desperate need for weapons to s top Iraq Iran was willing to buy weapons from everyone, includ ing The Great Satan Many believed that Israel was supporting Iran with weapons since the beginning of the conflict causing severe mutual destruction of both parties in the conflic t, and provide military assistance to the anti Khomeini groups in order to overthrow the theocratic regime in Iran. The U.S. officials also claimed that this affair was used to provide military support for groups within Iran that were willing to overthrow the regime. Major reasons for the U.S. in Lebanon and the need for monetary support for the Contras in Latin America. Facing the international isolation, unable to ga ther international support to condemn the the Majles Speaker, Akbar Ali Hashemi Rafsanjani leader decided to allow President Khamenei announce the acceptance of the UN Resolution 598 which called for a cease fire (Axworthy 2008, 269). Both countries accepted the resolution. Thus, again, Iran survived and raised above all these existential thre ats the same way and with the same strength as it di d previously from the Greek, Arab British, and


26 Soviet that they, as people, must always live with the terrible threat of ou tsiders who have so often plundered and debilitated th


27 Chapter Three The Islamic R evolution of 1979 Major Factors Leading to the Revolution The Islamic Revolution of 1979 remains a crucial moment in the h istory of the modern Iran. Unlike what many would claim, the revolution was not a surprise to the revolution was a result of an overwhelming pressure and anger accu mulated in decades in almost all the fields of the Iranian society social, economic, and political. Ervand Abrahimian summarizes the sources of the pressure and anger against the Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi as follows: In an age of republicanism, he flaunt ed monarchism, shahism, and Pahlavism. In an age of nationalism and anti imperialism, he came to power as a direct result of the CIA M16 overthrow of Mossadeq the idol of Iranian nationalism. In an age of neutralism, he mocked non alignment and Third World the Persian Gulf, and openly sided with the USA on such sensitive issues as Palestine and Vietnam. And in an age of democracy, he waxed eloquent on the virtues of order, discipline, guidance, kingshi p, and his personal communication with God several events and factors that explain why the revolution and its triumph was not a


28 surprise. The first mai n event was the Constitutional Movement of 1906. This movement was a result of the discontent of the people toward the interference and domination from foreign countries like Russia and Great Britain and the need to establish e democratic form of governmen t. These two main sources of the discontent became the main objectives of the Constitutional Movement which incorporated merchan ts, secular ulama (Milani 1994, 28). On August 5, 1906, Mozaffar ad Din Shah signed the royal proclamation ordering the creation of the Majles and vested its deputies with the duty of drafting the Constitution Soon, the Constitution was drafted and came into effect immediately after the Shah signed it on December 30, 1906. One of the most controversial articl es of the new constitution was the Article 2, which limited the power of the people (given through M ajles ) by creating a committee of five ulama who had the power to veto any Majles legisl ation that was considered being against the Islamic law. However, th e Constitutional Movement was defeated due to the conflict between the Despite the defeat, the Constitutional Movement succeeded in legitimizing elections, reducing the po wer of the Shah and its perceptiveness, and granting to the people rights and powers they had not had before (1994, 31). regime was what is known as the White Revolution or The Rev olution of the Shah and the People The White Revolution incorporated (1) land reform, (2) sale of the state owned factories to the public, ( 3) creation of a national literacy corps, and (6) the workers sharing plan (Keddie 2003, 145; Milani 1994, 46). These reforms ignited anger among two main social groups,


29 the landlords and the ulama The land reform severely limited the political power of the landed upper class and provided the government wit h absolute authority. Due to this reform, many peasants became landless and migrated to large cities, where they became a main source for the army of the Islamic Revolution (Milani 1994, 47). The land reform also promoted opposition from ulama because of t he fact that the reform dealt also with vaqf holdings (land for charitable purposes), resulting in drastically reducing the revenue of the ulama ulama organized what is known as the June Uprising of the 1963. Amon g other ulama were Grand Ayatollahs Rohullah Hussein de facto recognition of the state of Israel served as causes for ulama to unite against the Shah. This was the opportune moment for Khomeini to emerge as a religious and political leader. Khomeini became the most aggressive and popular opponent of the Shah. In early 1963, Khomeini began to preach against the Shah in Fai ziyeh, a madrasa of Qom. In March of the same year, the madrasa was attacked by militia and the SAVAK forces, killing a number of students and arresting Khomeini (Keddie, 2003, p. 147). Immediately after his release, Khomeini continued his attack on the Sh ah and his pro American policy. He was arrested again on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein after de livering a speech comparing the Shah to Yazid I the caliph who had martyred Imam Hussein at the Battle of Karbala (Gonzales 2007, 55). This governmental action promoted abrupt and fierce


30 declaring Holy War against the Shah. Soon, the June Uprising was suppressed and Khomeini was sent to exile. However, the vivid m emories of the Constitutional Movement the 1953 coup June Uprising would not have a definitive impact on overthrowing the Shah without the existence of what Samuel P. Huntington (1968) considers the gap theory similar to what Ted Robert Gurr consider s relative deprivation (1970). Huntington argues that modernization is a multifaceted process involving a fundamental shift in values, attitudes, and expectations (Huntington 1968, 32). Huntington defines the impact of moderni zation as follow: At the intellectual level, modernization involves the tremendous knowledge throughout society through increased literacy, mass communication, and education. Dem ographically, modernization means the family and other primary groups having diffuse roles with consciously organized secondary association having much more specific mically, there is a diversification of activity as a few simple 33) According to Huntington, social mobilization and the economic development are the main aspects of modernization related to politics. S ocial mobilization increases th e aspiration and expectations. T he economic development increases the capacity of a society to satisfy those aspirations and expectations. However, a gap develops between the aspirations and expectations and the capacity to f ulfill those aspirations and


31 expectations. This situation generates social frustration, dissatisfaction, and political instability (1968, 54). Iran was under the same conditions. Under the leadership of the Shah and his reforms for modernization, Iran witn essed a rapid economic development. During his last two decades of reign, the Shah character and a modernized military (Keddie 2003, 133). This was made possible also by the high oil revenue entering in process promoted by the Shah resulted in a high rate of social mobilization of the Iranian people. Dr. Mohsen M. Milani uses the gap theory to explain how the rapid socioeco nomic development and the lack of an institutional building process created the gap that would set the stage for the Revolution to start. For Milani, the socioeconomic development increases social mobilization and the demand for political participation by become involved in politics is to create the fertile ground from which a revolution Nevertheless, this alone cannot be sufficient to start the revolutio n without the between Iran and the United States and the indecisiveness of the Shah to act (1994, 16). The American support, the rapid economic expansion, and the repressio n were three main factors that helped the Shah retain power. There existed a perception from the Iranian people th at the American support for eakened. T he human rights policy promoted by the Carter administration and iberalizatio n reform of 1977 severely aggravated United Nations


32 and the Amnesty International for severe violation of the human rights, the American human rights policy was perceived by the Iranian people as a pressur e toward Shah to reform the political system. This situation was exacerbated by the inconsistent American policy toward Iran, which was a result of the r adical split within the Carter administration. In the eyes of the Iranian people, the U.S. weakening su pport for the Shah was tantamount to losing the source of power to surviv e. To make the matter worse, Shah movement. In addition, the Shah was known for his indecisiven ess and the ability to these can be added the fact that the Shah was suffering from an incurable disease, which might have influenced his decision making ability. M arxist nationalist, and other social groups took advantage of this situation by implementing their own agendas and strategies.


33 Main Political and Social Groups This situation led many social and political groups to organize and challenge the reg ime. One main political group included the Marxist organizations such as the Tudeh Party and the e Khalq The Tudeh Party became an influential political actor after the triumph of Bolshevism in Russia in 1917. However, its force and reputation s tarted to fade after the alleged conspiracies that this party planned against Mossadeq e Khalq also did not have any better history than the Tudeh Party. They both ended up losing their leaders and supporters in c onfronting the Shah. Another important political group included the National Front National Front was a very popular secular nationalist organization. However, after the org anizat ion was severely damaged by conflicts between its members and the systematic persecution and executions of its members conducted by the SAVAK forces. Shah considered the National Front as the primary threat to his regime. In addition to the political organizations, the anti Shah movement included several social groups. One main social group was what was called the Cultural Revivalism group, comprising prominent intellectuals who se work aimed at portraying group of scholars included Seyyed Fakhreddin Shadman Valavi Samad Behrangi, Mehdi Bazargan, Al e Ahmad, and Ali Huntington of his time because he emphasized the threat that the Western civilization posed to the existence of the I ranian culture and identity. Western behavior of the


34 Iranian bourgeoisie and condemned the American influence in the Iranian education system (Hanson 1983, 1). Al e Ahmad was also an anti Wes tern, but his views were focused more on the West as an imperialist power, an indication of his past membership in the Tudeh Party. In addition, Bazargan focused himself on the internal conditions of Iran as the main causes of despotism and proposed the cr eation of an Islamic government run by experts who were also de about the intrusion of the Western values and ideas in the Iranian culture and the threat that it represented to Shi a rel igion in Iran. He argued that ulama had failed to spread the As a staunch surveillance. He died in Lond on in 1977, without having the opportunity to witness the revolution he had lectured about. Moreover, the Mojahedin e Khalq e Iran was another major component of the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The organization was founded in 1965 and is considered by som with regar d to the Western threat to Iran and Islam. The majority of its members and supporters came from the traditional and bazaar classes. The major source of support and recruitments was also concentrated in universities. The ideology of Mojahedin e Khalq e Iran was based on two major characteristics of the Iranian thoughts at that time: nationalism and populism. As suc h, they considered themselves


35 legacies of the constitutional movement of the early 1900s, of the movement of Mirza Kucheck Kha n, and of the nationalist movement of the 1950 led by Mahmud Mossadeq (1996, 117). The Mojahedins proclaimed Islam to be the sole ideology capable of mobilizing all the parts of the Iranian society in confronting the Western dominance. Inspired by the vict ory of Fidel Castro in Cuba, the Mo jahedins believed in the need for armed struggle against the current regime as the most efficient strategy. They emphasized the concepts of resistance, martyrdom, revolution, and a classless society (Boroujerdi 1996, 117) However, in 1975 and on, many members of the Mujahedin organization were converted to Marxism. From the middle of 1975 to 1979, the organization was divided in two major and antagonistic groups Islamic and Marxist. As a result, the Mojahedins not only lo st their power in confronting public support. Finally, S law. They subscribe their role to the spiritual, social, and the political needs of their community. Shi a ulama are educated at seminaries of Najaf in Iraq and Qom in Iran. In seminaries, students are prepared to reach a high level of proficiency in law, jurisprudence, theology, philosophy, logic, rhetoric, and literature. At the top of the S hierarchy are the most senior clergy, who are called sources of emulation ( taqlid ity of his publications, and the amount of the religious taxes and donations that the believer gives to the mentor for charitable pu rposes (Nasr, 2007, pp. 70 71). Besides Grand Ayatollah


36 Muhammad Husain Boroujerdi, many argue, there has never been any uni versally accepted supreme ayatollah or source of emulation. Among the most influential ulama that worked for the Islamic Revolution were Grand Ayatollahs Rohullah Khomeini, Shariatmadari, Ayatollahs Mahmud Taleqani, Hussein Ali Montazeri. The revolution brought to an end the Safavid Contract monarchy as truly legitimate but would bless it as the most desirable form of government 007, 74). The Safavid Contract was replaced by the velayat e faqih i sm and Islam incompatible with monarchy and advocated the direct ruling by ulama. Despite the controversies among high ranking clergy, ulama mana ged to succeed over other coalition forces of the revolution. There are several reasons why ulama struggle against the Shah. Ulama were the source of this ideology th at appealed legitimacy. Second, unlike other groups, ulama had significant financial resources coming from donations and charities. Third, due to their nature and activity, ulama were able to organize masses through Mosques. Because of the very organized n ature of wide organization of the masses. Fourth, ulama had a very charismatic and skillful leader like Ayatollah Khomeini. Fifth, er classes people who had nothing to lose. Lastly, Khomeini was skillful and able enough to build parallel institutions to those of the old institutions nstitutions like the


37 Islamic Republican Party (parliament), the Revolutionary Guard (national army), the Komites (local police), the Revolutionary Courts (judiciary), etc.


38 Chapter Four Ayatollah Rohulla Khomeini and the Velayat e F aq if Doctrine Ayatollah Rohulla Khomeini was born in September 24 th 1902 in a family of seyyed (descendants of the Prophet). The title Ayatollah (the Sign of God) was given to Khomeini based on his education credentials as prescribed under t he Shi a Islamic tradition. Many believe that the life of Ayatollah Khomeini has gone through three different phases. The first phase, from 1908 to 1962, was characterized by training, teaching, and writing in the field of Islamic studies. At the age of si x he began to study the Koran and elementary Persian. Later, he completed his studies in Islamic law, ethics, and spiritual philosophy under the supervision of Ayatollah Abdul Karim Haeri ye Yazdi in Qom. During this scholarly phase of his life, Khomeini d id not participate in political activities. However, his studies, teachings, and writings indicate that he firmly believed that leadership of political activities should be in the hands of the most prominent The second phase of Khomeini's life, from 1962 to 1979, was characterized by highly political activism, which was influenced by his strict, religious interpretation of Shi a Islam. He started his struggle against the Shah's regime in 1962, which led to the outbreak of a relig ious and political rebellion on June 5, 1963. This date can be regarded as a turning point in the history of the Islamic movement in Iran and as a pivotal moment that crystallized the religious and political profile of Khomeini. As analyzed previously,


39 Kho meini became the most aggressive and popular opponent of the Shah. In early 1963, Khomeini began to preach against the Shah in Faiziyeh a madrasa of Qom. In March of the same year the madrasa was attacked by militia and the SAVAK forces, killing a number of students and arresting Khomeini (Keddie 2003, 147). Immediately after his release, Khomeini continued his attack on the Shah and his pro American policy. He was arrested again on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein after de livering a spee ch comparing the Shah to Yazid the caliph who had martyred Imam Hussein at the Battle of Karbala (Gonzales 2007, 55). This governmental action promoted abrupt and decl aring Holy War against the Shah. The Shah brutally crushed the upris ing and exiled Khomeini in 1964. Khomeini first resided in Iraq and then he moved to France where he stood until the outbreak of the Islamic Revolution. However, r egardless of the failure of the uprising, it was during this time that Khomeini received the title of Marja e Talqid political life. The third phase of Khomeini's life begins with his return from exile on February 1 st 1979, just two weeks after Muhammad Reza Shah had been forced out of Iran. On February 11 th revolutionary forces loyal to Khomeini seized power in Iran, and Khomeini emerged as the founder and the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Khomeini succeeded in building a new theocratic state of Iran as he envisioned in his doctrine of velayat e faqih


40 Velayat e Faqih Doctrine The velayat e faqih doctrine government a nd the framework that would set the stage for Khomeini to attain the leadership of the Islamic Republic. This doctrine has its roots in Shi'a Islam notion of the guardianship of jurisprudence vehemently espoused by Khomeini and opposed by some which gives the faqih (the jurist) the power to decide on state and religious matters (Enayat 1983, 170). Khomeini envisioned a modern government that would resemble the theocratic Muslim community of the early years of Islam in which ulama possessed the legitimate po wer over the people, given to them directly by the Prophet Mohammad through the Imams. Khomeini also based his doctrine on the Kur'anic principle that Imams have the divine power to explain the Islamic laws and rules and provide them to the people in a sim plistic and understandable manner. Khomeini's doctrine assumed its legitimacy on his explanation of Kur'anic saying: "O you believers, obey God, obey the prophet and obey those in charge among you." (Shevlin 2000, 365). In his book Islamic Government: Gov ernance of the Jurist translated by Hamid Algar, Khomeini emphasizes the need for an Islamic government and laid down its main principles. Khomeini believes that it is the duty of all true Muslims not only to pray but also to act to defend Islam from the internal corruption and the external threats. This is to follow the path of the Prophet Muhammad who led Muslims both religiously and politically. Khomeini presents five main reasons for creating an Islamic government: 1. To support the rights of the weak fro m the oppressing ruling class; 2. To avoid corruption and the rule by minority; 3. To preserve the Islamic order and make individuals pursue the Islamic path;


41 4. To prevent the approval of anti Islamic laws by sham parliaments; and 5. To destroy the influence and the domination of the foreign powers in Islamic lands. (Khomeini n.d., 27 28) Khomeini argued that it is self evident that the Muslim community needed comprises three main b ranches: legislative, executive, and administrative. Even though Khomeini did not mention the judicial branch, he pays special attention to the adjudication process for civil and penal matters and considers the faqih both a judge and an executor. Khomeini argues that the legislative power and the competence to formulate laws belong exclusively to God. He believes that law alone rules over society and that the or an instrum religious credentials. Seeing that the governme nt would be a government of law, Khomeini claims that the ruler should be a faqi h an expert in Islamic jurisprudence. He also argues that being a faqih should be e requirement for all those who hold governmental positions. The faqih must surpass other fuqa ha (plural for faqih ) in knowledge. Khomeini summarizes the credentials of the faqih in three main points: (1) to be an expert in Islamic jurisprudence, (2) to have the sense of leadership, and (3) to be a just ruler (n.d., p. 49). Moreover, as mentioned a bove, Khomeini believes that the ruling by a faqih


42 n.d., 30). Khomeini also argues that fuqaha ar following this explanation, Khomeini claims that there is no difference between the faqih the Most Noble Messenger (Prophet Mu hammad), and the Commander of the Faithful (Imam Ali) because the ruler has the duty to implement the laws of God. However, the faqih does not have absolute authority over other fuqaha and cannot appoint or dismiss them. Despite the opposition from the maj ority of prestigious Shi a ulama Khomeini established his doctrine of velayat e faqih and assumed the role of the faqih soon after the triumph of the Islamic R evolution and the adaptation of the Islamic Constitution after the referendum of December 2 nd an d 3 rd 1979.


43 Chapter Five The Islamic Constitution and The Islamic Constitution Having proclaimed and established Shi'ism as the ideology of the revolution and succeeded in overthrowing the Shah, Khomeini mo ved on to realize his dream of creating the Islamic State of Iran based on his doctrine of velayat e faqih. After debates with other coalition members (especially with the provisional Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan) about the name of the new state, in the r eferendum of March 30 th and 31 st of 1980, Iranians voted overwhelmingly to build an Islamic Republic (Taylor & Francis Group and Dean 2004, 368). The Islamic Republic was the only form of government to appear on the ballot, and votes were not cast in secre t. An overwhelming majority of over 98 percent voted in favor of an Islamic Republic Khomeini proclaimed the establishment of Government of Allah 4, 154) The name given to the new Islamic Republic comprises two meaningful concepts (1) Islamic and (2) Republic. However, some argue that both these concepts are incongruous to each other, at least from the religious perspective. Abdelwahab Hechiche cit es Professor Tibi when he states that: the term 'Islamic Republic' betrays the character of contemporary Islam: It is a defensive culture. A 'Republic' is a European form of government and is identical neither to the Sunni Islamic Caliphate nor to Shi'i Islamic Immamate.


44 This concept cannot be found in the dogmatic Islamic sources. Hechiche 2002, 192) In addition, Askari defines some major problems the notion of the Islamic State. He argues that there are three main issues when dealing with the notion of the Islamic State : 1. In a theocratic state, sovereignty lies with God. 2. Sharia is a criterion for an Islamic State. 3. The problematic issue concerning the very concept of state. lace in particular discourse political science (as cited in Hechiche 2002, 184). He also claims that sovereignty cannot be used in the political sense for three main reasons: 1. It limits God and reduces His transcendence 2. It is a violation of the scriptural usage for reasons both earthly and heavenly nothing is outside God's dominance and power. 3. God cannot be identified with one particular social and historical institution. This can reduce Him to a deity (2002, 184) Despite this issue, the most important tas k after the victory of the revolution was the drafting of the new constitution that would solidify the structure of the Islamic State. Through the new constitution, Khomeini aimed at institutionalizing his doctrine of velayat e faqih For this purpose, in August of the same year, Iran held election to elect 73 member of the Majles e Khebregan (Assembly of Experts), whose primary task was drafting of the constitution created t wo main opposing groups. On one hand, there were


45 Bazargan and his supporters who supported a constitution modeled after the Charles de ian 2008, 162). The draft proposed by Bazargan was similar to the 1906 Constitution and provided ulama with a little power in state matters. On the other hand, there were Khomeini and his disciples who envisioned a constitution based on the velayat e faqih doctrine, with ulama dominating and having u ltimate decision making power over the state matters. The conflict between these two main opposing groups was also an indication of the existence of a dual government. One government was led by Bazargan and com prised the old political institutions, and the other government was led by Khomeini and comprised a set of parallel institutions created by him, which include the Revolutionary Council and the Central Komiteh to oversee the performance of the provisional g overnment, the Islamic Republican Party (parliament), the Revolutionary Guard (national army), the Komites (local police), and the Revolutionary Courts (judiciary). The result of this situation was a albeit weighted heavily in favor of one velayat e faqih between divine rights and the rights of man; between theocracy and democracy; between vox dei and vox populi 163 164). The Assembly of Experts for Constitution finished the draft on November 15, and the Islamic Constitution was adopted through a national referendum on December 2 nd and 3 rd 1979. The Constitution was amended in 1989 to cope with the new reality facin g the Iranian politics


46 of the Islamic R evolution and the emergence of s tate as the central player on the Iranian 1994, 225). The election of Khomeini's succes sor and the demand for a stronger and effective executive branch of the government urged the Assembly for Reconsideration of Constitution ( ad hoc Assembly formed by Khomeini to review the Constitution), under Khomeini's previous directives, to remove marja eyat clause a nd to centralize the executive The removal of the marjaeyat clause made it possible for Khomeini's successor to assume the position of the Supreme Leader based on a new (lower) set of religious requirements (1994, 221 222). The centralizatio n of the executive branch consisted on the constitutional removal of the office of the prime minister and transferring of all its powers to the office of the President (analyzed below). er structure.


47 The political system of the Islamic Iran has a fairly complicated power structure. Kazem Alamdari (2005, 1299) claims: removin g the central pole causes its collapse; rather, it is built on many independent, rival, parallel columns of power that hold the system together. In the case of a sudden collapse of the IRI, a civil war and partition of the Iranian territory is highly proba The political system is comprised of the formal power structure and the informal power structure. The formal power structure is clearly defined under the Islamic Constitution and is encountered in the structure of state institutions and offices. The formal power structure encompasses the Supreme Leader the Assembly of Experts for Leadership the President the Council of Ministers the Expediency Council the Majles the Council of Guardians the judiciary, state radio and television, and the armed forces. The informal power structure consists of religious political organizations, clerical leadership (Buchta 2000, xi). According to Wilfried Buchta (2000, xii)., t he concentric the most powerful clerics in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the ntal the members of the revolutionary organizations, the pasdaran and Basij militia, revolutionary committees, religious security forces, and media. The forth ring


48 encompasses former influential individuals and groups that serve as interlocutor between the civil society and the regime and seek to promote peaceful reforms from within the system. The Supreme Leader the President the Assembly of Experts for L eadership the Majles, the Council of Guardians and the Expediency Council are the most important institutions of the Islamic Republic of Iran. An analysis of these major institutions will help us d etermine how the power is distributed and where the real power res ts. However, this does not mean that other state (i.e. armed forces and media) and non state institutions (i.e. Teachers of Qom Theological Colleges) are not important. This is to reveal which institution(s) bear s the dominant power to influence the politi cal decision making process, both domestically and internationally. The Supreme Leader is the most influential institution and exerts his power over almost every political and social institution. No major decision can be made and no policy can be implement ed without the approval of the Supreme Leader (Sadjadpour 2008). The Chapter VIII of the Islamic c onstitution deals with qualification and powers of the Supreme Leader Qualifications of the Supreme Leader are elaborated in e faqih, as analyzed previously. The Article 110 provides the Supreme Leader with the authority and the rights to exert power as follow: 1. Delineation of the general policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran after consultation with the Nation's Exigency Counci l. 2. Supervision over the proper execution of the general policies of the system. 3. Issuing decrees for national referenda. 4. Assuming supreme command of the Armed Forces


49 5. Declaration of war and peace an d the mobilization of the Armed Forces 6. Appointment, dismissa l, and resignation of: a. the religious men on the Guardian Council, b. the supreme judicial authority of the country, c. the head of the radio and television network of the Islamic Republic of Iran, d. the chief of the joint staff, e. the chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and f. the supreme commanders of the Armed Forces. 7. Resolving differences between the three wings of the Armed Forces and regulation of their relations. 8. Resolving the problems which cannot be solved by conventional me thods, through the Nation's Exigency Council. 9. Signing the decree formalizing the election of the President of the Republic by the people. The suitability of candidates for the Presidency of the Republic, with respect to the qualifications specified in the Constitution, must be confirmed before elections take place by the Guardian Council, and, in the case of the first term of a President, by the Leadership. 10. Dismissal of the President of the Republic, with due regard for the interests of the country, after the Supreme Court holds him guilty of the violation of his constitutional duties, or after a vote of the Islamic Consultative Assembly testifying to his incompetence on the basis of the Article 89. 11. Pardoning or reducing the sentences of convicts, within th e framework of Islamic criteria, on a recommendation from the Head of judicial power.


50 In addition, the Leader exerts his power through the Office of the Supreme Leader The main task of this offic e is to organize and manage the him informed with all the internal and external political development. This office consists of four permanent members, all of whom are high ranking clerics and the most trustful collaborators of the Leader. Moreover, the Leader exercises direct power over the other institutions through the nemayandeha ye rahbar (representatives of the supreme leader). The representatives are closely connected to the Office of the Supreme Leader and are appointed in person by the Leader. Almost all of them are clerics, and t he majority of them hold s the rank of hojjatoeslam (proof of Islam). The representatives make it possible for the Leader to exercise his power in five major areas of the Iranian politics, as cited by Wilfried Buchta (2000, 48): 1. Ministries in the executive branch; 2. The armed forces and security services; 3. Provincial representatives (Friday imams); 4. Revolutionary and religious organizations; and 5. Iranian cultural centers in foreign countries The Assembly of Experts for L eadership is the only institution that has the power to elect the Faqih and dismiss him when the later is deemed incapable of fulfilling its constitutional duties. Its powers are defined under the Article 107 and are exercised in accordance with the Article 111 It has the power to appoint and supe rvise Faqih 's performance, to make sure that the performance complies with the Islamic ideology and that Faqih is capable to perform his duties. Under the Article 108 the Faqih and religious members have the power to appoint the members of the A ssembly Their power is given


51 under the Charter VIII the Articles 107 111 of the Iranian Islamic constitution. The Assembly consists of eighty six clerics elected by the popular vote to eight year terms. Any candidate for election to the assembly should pass the c riteria established by the Assembly of Experts and must take the approval of the Council of Guardians If the assembly dismisses the Faqih, than a leadership council composed of the President, the head of the judiciary, and a faqih from the Council of Guar di a ns assume the duties of the Leader (2000, 60). In addition t he President is considered the second highest leader of the Islamic Republic. Together with the legislative and the executive branches of the government, the P resident constitutes the democratic element of the Islamic Constitution. The Article 56 provides the men with the divine right to govern themselves. The Article 57 articulates the separation of powers in three branches of the government executive, legislat ive, and judicial all of which functioning under and the Leadership of the Umma In addition, the powers and responsibilities of the office of the President are enumerated under the Chapter IX Section 1 a nd 2, the Articles 113 142. The Article 113 states that a fter the office of Leadership (the Leader) the President is the highest official of the state. The President has the respo nsibility for implementing the c onstitution and acting as the head of the ex ecutive, except in matters directly concerned w ith the office of the Leader The President is elected for a four year term by the direct vote of the people and is allowed to serve no more than two terms in office. The President can be removed by two thirds of majority vote of no confidence in the Parliament. The M ajles declare the President incompetent and inform the Supreme Leader to dismiss the President in


52 accordance with the Article 110 of the Constitution. His main rights and powers include (2000, 23): 1. To select the first of the four vice presidents; 2. To appoint and dismiss ministers, who should be confirmed by the Majles (Parliament); 3. To control the sazeman e barname va bujet (Planning and Budget Organization); 4. To act as the chairman of the shura ye am niyat e melli (National Security Council); and 5. To manage the personnel composition of the shura yeenqelab e farshangi ye eslami (Supreme Council of the Islamic Cultural Revolution) Despite t he prestige, the office of the P resident does not have influence over the foreign policy agenda. Even though it is elected by the people, the President shou ld be confirmed by the Supreme L eader in order to serve in office. In addition, the President and the entire executive branch of the government are subordi nated to the velayat e faqih institution. Lastly, and the most important, the President does not have any control over the armed and security forces. Only the Faqih has authority over all other institutions and in all the political issues (2000, 23). Moreo ver, the Parliament (Majles) represents the legislative body of the Iranian government, as defined under the Article 58 The parliament bears significant principal similarities with the parliament coming out of the constitutional movement of 1906. Members of the parliament are elected every four years through public elections. The main rights and powers of the M ajles the Articles 71 75 ), ratifying international treaties ( the Article 77 ), approving state of emergency declarati ons ( the Article 79 ) and loans ( the Article 80 ), examining and approving the annual state


53 budget ( the Article 52 ), and, if necessary, removing from the office the state the president Unlike the Western parliaments, the M ajles is heavily influenced by the clergy rule and domination. The Council of Guardians have considerable influence over the Majles composition and legislation. Furthermore the power structure of Iran encompasses the Council of Guardians The Council consists of twelve members and its power is defined under the Article 91 of the Constitution The Council has the right and the power to determine whether or not candidates for in the Executive and Legislative branches of the government are suitable and c ompetent for their positions. It also determines the compatibility of the legislation passed by t he Majles with Islam Six members of the council are religious men selected by the Faqih and other six members are jurists specialized in different areas of law, who are elected by the Majles from among the Muslim jurists nominated b y the head of the judiciary Finally, the Expediency Council is another important element of structure. It was created (by Ayatollah Khomeini and being led current ly by Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani) to solve cases when there is an impasse within the Council of Guardians or between the Majles and the Council of Guardians Its decision is final and irreversible. The Council receives importance in case of impasse betwe en the Council of Guardian s and the Majles as was the case in 1988 89. The Council also advises the Faqih in accordance with the Articles 110 and 112 of the Constitution. Many believe that the current Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, exercises his authority without consulting with the Council.


54 Chapter Six The Theoretical Approach Offensive Realism In order for us to maximize our understanding about Iran's security and foreign policy, we need to rely on a theoretical approach that provides an accurate expl anation of the political phenomena. It is also important to make an analysis of the other theoretical approaches in order to be able to realize t he main differences between theories of international relations as pertaining to this study. While a theory may provide a better explanation of the topic compare to the other theories, knowledge about the other theories may help us discern hidden aspects and perspectives of the issue or phenomena. As previously stated, the argument of this study is that Iran's se curity and foreign policy is mainly based on the principles of the Offensive Realism theory of international relations founded and advocated by John Mearsheimer (2001 ) However, it needs to be emphasized that this study does not claim or pretend that Offe nsive Realism explains the founder of this theory nook and cranny, most of the time it is an excelle nt tool for navigating through the darkness (2001, 11) offensive realism (2001, 30 31). The first principle of the Offensive Realism is that the international system has an a narchic status. However, it does not mean that the system is


55 chaotic or engulfed by conflicts and wars. The concept of anarchy refers to the notion of ordering principle of the international system, which considers the states to be sovereign and obeying to no higher authority. Thus, the state of anarchy means that the international system lacks a central authority or a supranational government. As Kenneth Waltz nothing The second assumption is that great powers possess some offensive military capabilities that can be used to cause damages or even destroy each other. Based on his study of the three former European great powers during the l ast two centuries, Mearsheimer claims that wealth and the economic status is (but not always) a good indicator of latent power potential to engage in conventional war against the most power ful state in the world. states great powers and smaller powers alike are determined primarily by the 5). According to him, a great power does not need to have capabilities to defeat the most powerful state, but it should be powerful enough to turn the conflict into a war of attrition that weakens the leading power, even though the later wins the war (200 1, 5). The potential of the threat depends on the capabilities owned by each state. The most dangerous powers are those that possess greater military strength. Offensive Realism is that states are suspic there cannot be any guaranty that states that possess military capabilities would not attack


56 other states. There may be many possible causes for confrontation and aggression that can be used by one state to attack the other. Intentions of the states can change rapidly, and so do alliances. The security dilemma embracing both the United States and Soviets during the Cold War is a perfect example and of absence of trust among States and of the maximization of power relative to the power of the others. Another example is Iraq aggression toward Iran in 1980. Iraq attacked Iran less than six years after they had T he 1975 Algiers Agreement It was an agreement to settle the borders dispute and to stop interference in internal affairs of each other. Soon, the aspiration for brotherhood was converted into an ambition for power and territory. The history of Iran showed us a plethora of cases in wh ich Iran has been continuously under the threats and aggressions from other states. The fourth principle holds that the survival is the primary goal of every state. There is no higher priority for a state than its survival. All the other goals succumb to the instinct of survival. Mearsheimer argues that states can also pursue non long as the requisite behavior does not conflict with the balance of (2001, p. 46). If we had to consider the survival as an ideology, then we wou ld define it as the only status quo ideology the ultimate ideology that cannot be changed for or be subjugated to any other ideology. The invasions from Mongols and Tartars in thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, among others, remind Iranians of the fact t hat extermination and Offensive Realism is that states are rational actors and behave based on their need to survive and on constraints provided to them b y the international system. Mearsheimer argues that states get involve d in game theory


57 is likely to affect the behavior of those other states, and how the behavior of t hose other alone mandate s that states behave competitively or aggressively. Taken together, these assump tions create powerful incentives and motivations for the states to think and act aggressively toward each others. In an anarchic international system, s tates realize that in order for them to survive, they have to account on self help. The best way for s ta tes to ensure their survival is to become the most powerful s tate global hegemony Mearsheimer (2001, 35) summarizes this view as follow: Given the difficulty of determining how much power is enough for today and tomorrow, great powers recognize that the best way to ensure their security is to achieve hegemony now, thus eliminating any possibility of a challenge by another great power. Only a misguided state would pass up an opportunity to become hegemony in the system because it thought it already had suf ficient power to survive Thus being under such conditions, s tates will never accept the status quo status of power until they dominate the entire international system Mearsheimer cites Immanuel or of its ruler, to arrive at a (2001, 34). Mearsheimer believes that a global hegemony condemned to perpetual great power competition (200 1, 2). He also distinguishes between the notion of global hegemony and the regional hegemony The United States is just a regional hegemony due to the absence of other powers in the Western hemisphere. In order to be a global hegemony, the United States sh ould be the only power in Asia and


58 Europe, which is not the case. In his theory John Mearsheimer also argues that there are four main strategies through which a state can gain power relative to the powers gained from the other states. First, states gain power by going to war with the other rival states. Second, states gain power by threatening rival states to use military forces against them -blackmail the bait and bleed b leed each other white, while the baiter remains on sideline with its military strength 155). This is the case when one state causes other states pand its power. The last strategy that states implement to gain power is the bloodletting strategy, which aims at causing rival states to fight against each other in a long and costing conflict. On the other hand, states also aim at preventing other states from gaining power at their expenses. In order to achieve this goal, states implement two major strategies. The first strategy is balancing current balance of power. The initial goal is to deter the aggressor. If this part of the strategy fails, then the balancing state will use its power to prevent the other state from disturbing the balance of power (2001, 156). The second strategy to preven t other states from gaining power is by using the buck passing strategy. The state implementing this strategy attempts to get another state bear the burden of preventing, confronting, or even fighting against other state that aims at upsetting the balance of power. This strategy requires high diplomatic 159).


59 Different Theoretical Perspectives Offensive realism is an alternative theory to the structural realism theory of Kenneth N. W altz (1979), also known as defensive realism Both have their roots from the classical realism theory The c famous work The Pe l oponnesian War Thucydides argues that power politics is a law of human natur are embedded in the human nature. Thucydides captured the Melian dialogue and defined it as a perfect example to validate his claims. In addition, Nicolo Machiavelli (1532) is ano ther classical realist who argued that in the real world principles are subordinated to policies of the state. Machiavelli emphasized his notion of reason or reason of state dapt to, the 2008, 96). In addition to the works and ideas of Thucydides and Machiavelli Hans Morgenthau provided the fundamental principles of the classical realism. In his work Politics Among Nations (Morgenthau and Thomson 1985, 4), Morgenthau defines six main principles of political realism r and survive, it is imperative for the society to understand the laws by which it is governed. Second, Morgenthau also argues the main strategy to survive in international arena is to pursue its interests defined in terms of power (1985, 3). He claims tha t statesmen think and act in terms of interest defined as power (Mearsheimer 2001, 19). Third, the concept of interest


60 ourth, the political realism is aware of the moral significance of political action. The c lassical realism theory maintains that principles are defined based on circum stances of time and place (1985, 9). Fifth, political realism does not identify the moral principles of the state with the moral principles of the universe. Similar to Machiavelli he supported the notion of reason and argued that beyond the frontie r of a state there are no ethics or moral principles to which a state should obey. The only moral principle is the survival of the state. The s elf help in an anarchic international system is the only moral duty. Sixth, according to Morgenthau al realist maintains the autonomy of the political sphere, as the economist, the other standards of thought other than the political standards. The former are subordi nated to the latter. Together with E. H. Carr ( 1939 ), Morgenthau became a staunch proponent of realism during the Inter War Debate (1919 1939) with the proponents of Liberalism Unlike Morgenthau and other classical realists Kenneth Waltz argues that it is the Waltz claims because of their need to survive in the in ternational system of politics. Waltz believes that states seek to maximize their security and not their power per se In addition, according to Waltz, the structure of the international system forces the states to emphasize the balance of power. Morgentha u on the other hand, considers the balance of power as a


61 security competitio n and the inter state conflicts to the absence of a central global government. He defines the structure of the international system in terms of three main elements: (1) organizing principles, differential of units, and distribution of capabilities. The org anizing principles are defined through the anarchic status of the international system and the hierarchical structure of the domestic order. Sovereign states are the units of the international system. Waltz considers the distribution of capabilities across the units of the system as the most important factor in defining and understanding the outcomes of the international politics (Baylis et al. 2008, 98). Moreover, Waltz differs with Mearsheimer when it comes to the question of the how much power states wan t to ensure their survival (Mearsheimer 2001, 21). Waltz argues that the international structure does not provide states with incentives to maximize their power. He argues that when great power behave aggressively and aim at maximizing their powers, they w ill encourage their potential victims to come together and balance against the aggressive state(s) (2001, 20). This scenario motivates states to be security maximizers, instead of being power maximizers, and follow strategies that would maintain the existi ng balance of powers. However, it needs to be clarified that offensive realism, like defensive realism, emphasizes the needs of the state to ensure their survival. While defensive realism finds the balance of power as the best strategy to ensure the surviv al of the state, offensive realism argues that the survival of a state can be ultimately ensured by reaching the hegemonic status. Other mainstream theories of international relations include liberalism neoliberalism social constructivism and Marxist th eories


62 politics itself is the product of ideas, and ideas can change significantly (Baylis et al. 2008, 110). They agree with the realists about the anarchic status of the international system. However, liberals claim that anarc hy is a result of imperialism, failure of the balance of power, and problems with undemocratic regimes. The latter goes back to the Kantian argument to achieve perpetual peace by transforming individual consciousness, promoting Republican Constitutionalism and abolishing war through a federal contract between states (2008, 112). Indeed, liberalism has gone through several waves. The first wave happened after the WWI culminating with the League of Nations and interrupted by the WWII. The second wave occurr ed after the WWII and was interrupted by the Cold War The third wave started after the fall of the Soviet Empire and was interrupted by the September 11 th attack on the American soil. The Democratic Peace Theory and The End of History and the Last Man (1992) have attempted to provide some grounds for liberalism. However, liberals have found it hard, so far, to succeed in Neoliberalism is another mainstream theory of international relation David Baldwin identifies four varieties of liberalism: (1) commercial liberalism (2) republican liberalism (3) sociological liberalism and (4) liberal institutionalism (1993). Neoliberalism, consistently, is used and defined under the principles of li beral institutionalism. There are several core assumptions of neoliberalism. First, states are the key actors in the international system but not the only significant ones. Second, states are guided by rationality and the quest to maximize their interests in issue areas Third, states seek the maximization of their absolute gains through cooperation. Fourth, the greatest obstacle to successful cooperation is cheating and noncompliance with the established


63 rules and contracts. Lastly, states will shift loyal ty and resources to institutions if they are viewed as mutually beneficial and if these serve the international interests of the states and provide them with opportunities to secure those interests (Baylis et al. 2008, 132). These main principles are also After hegemony: Cooperation and discord in the world political economy (2005). As one may realize, there are several disagreements between neorealists and neoliberals. While neorealists emphasize the importance of su rvival in an anarchic system, neoliberals minimize the importance of survival and claim that neorealists minimize the importance of international interdependence, globalization, and international regimes While realists argue that cooperation depends on th e will of the states, neoliberals argue that cooperation can be achieved in those issue areas that states have mutual interests. While neorealists like Mearsheimer emphasize the relative gains, power, and security, neoliberals focus their attention on abso lute gains, the economic welfare, and the international political economy. And while neorealists argue that capabilities are essential for security and independence, neoliberals argue that institutions and preferences are more important (Baylis et al. 2008 133). However, some may argue that neorealists and neoliberals disregard some other factors. First, they both focus on states as the main actors of the international system and downplay the role of the domestic forces. In addition, they ignore the issue s of political culture, domestic politics, ideology, and identity. Moreover, both neor e alists and neoliberals ignore the fact that political activities may be shifting away from the state, especially in the new era of globalization or of the economic inter dependence. Furthermore, they both struggle to properly define power and the real interests of the


64 states (2008, 135 136). Social constructivism is another alternative theory to neorealism theory. It is based on the thoughts of Max Weber and Emile Durkheim and is later developed by Michel Foucault, Alexander Wendt, Michael Barnet, James Fearon, and others. It is considered a social theory and has gained grounds since the 80s. Constructivism emphasizes the human consciousness and its role in international re lations. The assumption that the world is socially constructed means that global change and transformation can be investigated (2008, 166 169). It deals with the social construction of the reality and argues that actors, both domestic and international, ar e created by the cultural environment. The social construction o f reality defines and shapes behavior toward the system. In a response to neorealist and neoliberal consensus about the anarchic status of the international system, Alexander Wendt, a constructivist, stated Constructivists also argue that knowledge plays a crucial role on how individuals construct and interpret the world. In addition, constructivists consider rational choice theory (used by neorealists) as the logic of consequences and mock other theories for not emphasizing the logic of appropriateness and explaining global transformations. Regarding power, constructivists claim that the forces of power can be both material and ideationa diffusion and institu tional isomorphism Diffusion deals with the concern of how a particular model, norm, practice, strategy, or belief spread within a population. Institutional


65 isomorphism environment internationalization and institutionalization of norms that promote conformity, significan t change in global politics and world order. Moreover, Marxist theories have continuously provided interesting ideas that have attracted a considerable number of scholars. Unlike neorealists who emphasize the role of the state in international system, Mar xists see the state as the source of the problem and as an apparatus that serves the interests of one class, the capitalist class, at the expenses of the other class, the working class. Marxist theories share similarities with each other. They tend to anal yze the social world as a totality. They claim that history, economics, politics, international relations, sociology, philosophy, etc. should be studied in totality. The academic division in different fields would not provide an accurate explanation of the the Marxist thought is the materialist conception of history. For Marxists, historical changes are related to and affected by economic chang es. Means of production and relations of production form the economic base of a society. The mode of production influences the political, social, and intellectual life of a given society, known also as superstructure A change in means of production and re lations of production will cause changes in superstructure One major Marxist theory is the World System Theory The system theory was a result of a series of critiques on imperialism. The first major work to define a systemic Imperia lism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism Lenin argued that in


66 capitalist states, free competition gave way to monopoly capitalism. Within the world states in the core ex ploiting the less developed states in the periphery. Bourgeoisie of the states in the core would appease their own proletariat by exploiting states in the periphery. The work of Lenin was followed by the Dependency School of Latin America led by Andre Gn ter Frank and Henrique Fernando Cardoso. Frank (1984) distinguished core and periphery by referring to them as metropol e for developed capitalist states and satellite for underdeveloped states. He argued that metropole satellite relations are also found at the international level. Frank argued that the most underdeveloped states are those that have had previous relations with metropoles. However, he acknowledges that there also exist opportunities for satellites to develop, especially in times of war. Anoth er major work related to the Marxist though is the world system theory of Immanuel Wallerstein Wallerstein proposed a system whose structure comprised the core semi periphery and periphery He argues that capitalism is the driving force of the expansion worl d system theory received conti nuous and significant critiques by Andre Gnter Frank Frank argued that the world system was far older than Wallerstein had presented it and has functioned based on the same process of capital accumulation (Frank and Gills 1996, 4). Lastly, Marxist theori es also include Gramsc ianis given after the name of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci Gramsci was the first to make a detailed analysis on the


67 concept of hegemony Gramsci argues that it is the hegemony of the ruling class that allows the moral, politi cal, and cultural values of the dominant group to be broadly disperse throughout society and to be accepted by subordinate groups and classes as their own (Baylis et al. 2008, 150). This process takes place through the institutions of the civil society and (base) and po litical and cultural practices (superstructure) (2008, 150). The ideas of Gramsci were applied later by his supporters to define the international system. Other Marxist theories include critical theory and New Marxism both of which do not play a significa nt role in the field of international relations. As we may realize, each of these theories presented here has a unique view of the world affairs. Despite similarities, they all see the world from different angles and have different principal approaches. However, just e few of these theories provide comprehensible explanation s of the reality of the world s politics. Offensive realism theory of international relations is one of th ese theories It provides an objective and rational approach to the issues of the international relations and clearly defines the nature of these relations. Th is study endeavors to prove that the se curity and fo reign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is guided by the main principles of the theory of offensi ve realism The following case studies will be used to validate this assumption.


68 Chapter Seven Iraq War The Iran Iraq W ar was the first event to reveal the true nature of the security and foreign policy of the Islami c Iran. Despite the reduction of the military expenditures and the decrease of power after the revolution, the new Islamic regime inherited from the regime a modernized army capable of challenging any other state in the region. During the 1978, Iran had spent over 15 percent of its total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on buildin g its military capabilities (Geller and Singer 1998, 147). In 1978, Iran ground forces comprised three major field armies. C ombat forces included three armored divisions, three infantry divisions, and four independent brigades. In addition, Iran inherited formidable air forces that included 460 combat aircraft (many of which were Tomcat fighters), spread in 14 air bases, and close to 100,000 men in personnel (1998, 147). Moreover, the navy forces included three destroyer, eight fregates, three diesel submar ines, and twenty four missile patrol boats. In 1979, the Iranian armed forces numbered 415,000 men in active duty (1998, 147). In 1980, months before the outbreak of the war, Iran had oil revenue exceeding $26 billion (Karsh 2002, 14). On the other hand, Iraq possessed a lesser military capabilities, compare to Iran Iraq increased its military capabilities during the period between 1972 and 1980. In 1972, Iraq spent approximately fourteen percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in advancing and streng thening its military power (Geller and Singer 1998, 147). In 1980, the military expenditure increased drastically to twenty one percent of the GDP of the country In addition, at the same time, Iraq numbered 212,000 men in the armed forces,


69 of which 28,000 were part of the air forces and 4,000 men in navy forces (1998, 148). This was an indication that Iran was far superior in naval power, despite the fact that Iraq had a force of ten patrol boats equipped with surface to surface missiles. In 1977, the army comprised four armored divisions, two mechanized divisions, four infantry divisions, one independent armored brigade, and the Republican Guard mechanized brigade (1998, 148). To provide its army with sufficient expertise, Iraqi government collaborated wi th 2,000 Soviet advisors (1998, 148). The war started less than six years after Iran and Iraq had signed what is called T he 1975 Algiers Agreement It was an agreement between both states to settle the borders dispute and to stop interference in internal affairs of each country. One main dispute involved the issue of the oil rich and multi ethnic province of Khuzestan which borders Iraq. Due to the Arab (or non Persian) majority of the province Iraq claimed the historical right to control it. The dispute small islands in the Persian Gulf that were occupied by the Iranian military. Moreover, the Shatt al Arab waterway was another territorial dispute between Iraq and Iran. Due to he Persian Gulf the control of the Shatt al Arab waterway would become an economic and strategic gain for Iraq. Parties signed the Algiers Agreement under the promise to permanently stop the disputes and to restore good relationship and mutual cooperation The promise for brotherhood between two countries soon turned into a war of destruction for many years to come. As mentioned previously, f or some scholars, the war was the latest manifestation of the Arab Persian struggle for the domination of the Gulf region. For some others, the war was just the extension of the historic struggle for power between Sunni (Iraq) and the


70 Shi a Islam (Iran). And for many others, the Iran Iraq war was a struggle for power and dominance of the regional politics, following th e decl ine of the Iranian power and local states and that no external states were to be allowed to interfere in the affairs of the e compared to the Monroe Doctrine of the United States in the Western hemisphere and to the Brez hn ev Doctrine of the Soviets in the Eastern Europe. The ambition of Saddam made no difference from that of the Shah. However, the situation in the region chan ged rapidly and radically after the triumph of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 and the growing hostility between the Islamic government and the United States, especially after the Islamic conquest of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. For Iraq, the revolut ion could expand its impact in other regions of the Persian Gulf, and a potential Islamic Shi a movement would be a serious threat to the Iraqi regime. In addition, as mentioned previously, the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, perceived Iran as an easy target due to the vulnerability created internally by the revolution, the reduction of aid after the conquest of the U.S. embassy, the demoralization of the army forces, systematic coups, and persecu tion and execution of many well known political figures. This perception was strengthened by the assumption that by losing the American support, Iran had lost the political and military support from the West. Sad d am also perceived a shift in military balan ce would favor Iraq. He thought that through war he would increase


71 the power and the influence of Iraq desire to make Iraq the hegemony of the region Following this perception, on September 22, 1980, Ira q launched a full scale invasion of Khuzistan. As many would have predicted, the international community did not condemn the Iraq invasion of Iran, instead, the United Nations Security Council called for immediate cease fire and the withdrawal of the milit ary troops to the pre war borders. Sir Anthony Parsons, a British Ambassador to the United Nations at that time, stated that the continuation of the hostage crisis had left Iran alone in the international stage of diplomacy (Ansari 2006, 98). In response t o the invasion, the Islamic government of Iran mobilized the regular army, the Pasdaran and Basij volunteers, including young boys and girls. The regime emphasized the notions of Ashoura Karbala Hussein qi invasion of Ir an unified Iran, consolidated the power of the Islamic Revolution, and undermined the moderate actors of the revolutionary coalition (Milani, 1994, 207). However, Israel and the United States were two other major actors that played a significant role on t he conduct and the outcomes of the Iran Iraq war. Thr oughout the war, the United States and Israel provided military assistance to both sides, depending on the course of the war. Previous to the fall of Shah in 1979, the Iranian Israeli relations were frie ndly and very productive. In the early 1950, Iran de facto recognized th e state of Israel Relations between these two states were influenced by the fear that both countries had from other Arab countries in the region. Both countries had realized that it w as through the cooperation with each other that they would be able to keep the regional


72 balance of power and confront Arabs. According to a 1979 CIA report on Mossad (Isr aeli Secret Service) The main purpose of the Israeli relationship with Iran was the d evelopment of a pro Israel and anti Arab policy on the part of Iranian officials. Mossad has engaged in joined operation with SAVAK over the years since the late 1950s. Mossad aided SAVAK activities and supported the Kurds in Iraq. The Israeli also regular ly transmitted to the Iranians intelligence reports on Egypt's activities in the Arab countries, trend and developments in Iraq, and communist activities affecting Iran. Their relations increased significantly in the mid 197 0s when both countries reached an agreement through which Israel would provide military assistance to Iran in exchange for oil. This was in continuance of the Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi either Iran nor Israel wants to be alone in a sea of A However, the victory of Islamic Revolution in 1979 severely damaged relations between two countries. The new Islamic regime closed the Israeli embassy in Tehran and, ironically, gave it to the Israeli's sworn enemy Palestini an Liberation Organization (PLO). Another great event would shake the regional p olitics in the Middle East Iraq would launch the invasion of Iran in September 1980. Having destroyed the relations with Israel, Iran was now being in a situati on that Shah had warned about alone this was the best opportunity to re instate relations with Iran in order to further its interests and to stop Iraq from gaining power. A powerful Sunni Iraq would become a far greater danger for the stat e of Israel compare to the


73 allow a powerful Iran to dominate the Middle Eas t. For Iranians, they had to fight for their survival. In orde r to do so, Iran had to substantially increase its military capabilities. In his theory of offensive realism John Mearsheimer argues that there are four m ain strategies through which a s tate c an gain power relative to the others. First, s tates gain power by goi ng to war with the other rival s tates. In our case, Iraq was the aggressor and Iran would need a powerful military arsenal to confront Iraq and win the war. The acquisition of military ca pabilities to survive the attack became the paramount goa l of the Islamic Iran. Second, s tates g ain power by threatening rival s tates to use military forces against them -blackmail victim of an aggression. Third, the bait and bleed strategy causes to rivals to engage in a eimer 2001, 147 1 55). This is the case wh en one state causes other state free in the future to expand its power. In our case, Iran could not be an instigator of an aggression of which it would be a potential victim. The last strategy that s ta tes implement to gain power is the bloodletting strategy, which aims at causing rival s tates to fight against each other in a long and costing c onflict. This last strategy provides significant explanation to the strategy followed by Iran, Israel, and the U nited States during the Iraq Iran war. Iran and Israel were bounded by the same interests. Iran neede d weapons to survive the aggression from Iraq which means following the war strategy On the other hand, by providing weapons to Iran, Israel wo uld make s ure that Iran and Iraq would


74 and costing conflict wo uld weaken both Iran and Iraq and would keep Israel in a more secure position. Thus, by promoting this strategy, Israe ith one It destroys both Iran's and Iraq 's military capabilities and reduces their influence in the region. This would also allow Israel to maintain the status quo of the balance of power. Despite the interests of Israel in a lon g and costing Iraq Iran war, Iran had to acquire military capabilities in order to survive. The hostage crisis and the Iranian anti Western rhetor ic discouraged Western powers from providing military assistance to Iran. Military capabilities provided by Wa shington during the Shah's reign were either destroyed or needed spare parts. While the United States and Israel were using bait and bleed and bloodletting strategies to increase their influence and power in the M id dle East Iran was facing a situation in which its survival was at stake It was this need for survival that would lead Iran to cooperating with the S mall Satan and the Great Satan Indeed, Israel expressed its concerns soon after Iraq invaded Iran. In a press conference, the Israeli Foreign Min ister Moshe Dayan called on the United States to forget the past events (especially the hostage crisis that was continuing at that time) and to provide assistance to Iran (Parsi 2007, 105). Ariel Sharon, then the Israeli Defense Minister, also emphasized t he importance of assisting Iran in this war. He warned U.S. of any possible Soviet intervention in Iran. All these concerns prepared the stage for what is known as the Operation S eashell (Bergman 2008, 40 48). This secret operation was implemented by Isra el and aimed at providing Iran with weapons to fight against Iraq. For Israel, there were four main reasons to support Iran: (1) Israel hoped that by helping Iran and Khomeini in this situation would ease relationship between two states; (2) Israel hoped t hat by providing


75 arms to Iran, it would cause the war to intensify and increase the possibility for mutual destruction (This strategy reminds us of the bloodletting strategy); (3) b y supporting Iran, Israel aimed at diminishing the threat coming from a pos si ble victorious Saddam; and (4) t he Israeli weapons industry sought to make money through this opportunity (Bergman 2008, 43). Due to its desperate need for weapons to stop Iraqi invasion Iran was willing to buy weapons from everyone, including t he Grea t and Small Satans (Milani 1994, 212). The first deal under the operation seashell was made by Israel through an Iranian arms dealer and a French intermediary. It included the purchase of 250 tires for Phantom jet fighters, communication equipment, 106mm r ecoilless guns, ammunitions, and mortars (Bergman 2008, 44). The operation continued later through a Portuguese arms dealer named George Piniol. For Iranians, the deals were conducted under the close surveillance and patronage of Dr Sadeq Tabatabai, who w as a distant relative to Khomeini and a very credible person to the Supreme Leader. Tabatabai identified himself as a representative of the Defense Council of the Revolution, which held considerable power within the power structure and was the primary acto began his first deal with the purchase by Iranian of 150 M 40 antitank guns and 24,000 shells for each gun. Iranians had provided Piniol with a detailed list about the items to be bought. The list includ ed spare parts for tanks and aircraft engines, shells for 106mm recoilless rifles and for 130mm, 203mm, and 175mm guns, and TOW vehicle mounted launchers and missiles (2008, 45). The Israeli technology and arms company El ul realized that everything Iran ne eded was available in the warehouse of the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and the


76 Israel Military Industries Some of the items needed by the Iranians were in the Israel Defense Forces S tockpiles The arsenal planned to be given to the Iranians included a total of 360 tons of spare parts and ammunitions. In order to avoid any possible scandal, Piniol managed to get officials of the Argentinean airline Transporte Aereo Rioplatense to conduct the transportation of the military arsenal to Iran. This deal inc luded eighteen flights, with each flight carrying twenty tons of spare parts and ammunitions. The total cost to be paid by Iran was $75 million (2008, 45). In mid 1981, an Argentinean plane carrying military supplies from Israel to Iran crashed in the Sovi et Union borders with Turkey (Tarock 1998, 106). However, this incident did not stop the operation. It needs to which Israel sold arms to Iran. According to an other arm dea ler working at that time for the Iranian government, approximately 80 percent of the weapons sold to Iran soon after the beginning of the war came from Israel (Parsi 2007, 106). It was due to this weaponry support from Israel that Iran managed to turn the tide of the war to its advantages. Based on Mearsheimer's theory of offensive realism the United States would behave as an offshore balancer of power and would supp ress any tentative made by any s tate to reach the status of a regional hegemony. Fearing th at Iraq (in case of victory against Iran) would eleva te itself to a regional hegemon the Americans saw Iran as the main actor at the opportune time to stop Iraq from reaching that status. In addition to this strategy, the Americans sought to prevent the S oviets from increasing their influence in Iran and in the region. However, once the American officials realized th at Iran was gaining strength, they immediately launched an anti Iran stra tegy. This strategy consisted oj supporting Iraq both directly and in directly, financially and militarily. In 1982, the


77 U.S. State Department removed Saddam 1984, the Reagan administration launche d the Operation Staunch which aimed at stopping the flow of arms to Iran. The first effect of this new operation was the downing of an Iranian F 4 plane from an Arab F 15 in May 1984. This opened the way for U.S. to provide military assistance to Arabs, w hich included 400 Stinger missiles, 200 missile launchers, and the deployment of a CENTCOM KC 10 tanker aircraft (Marschall 2003, 183). Iraq also became the largest importer of weapons in the region. The Soviets became the main providers of arms for Iraq. The West Germany also assisted Iraq in building chemical and biological weapons, which were used later by Saddam against Kurds and Iranians. France provided Iraq with aircraft and long range bombers. The Iran Iraq war became a concern when Iraq began the t anker war which consisted of attacks on oil transporting ships in the Persian Gulf. This type of war endangered the U.S. interests in the Gulf. The U.S. navy soon became involved in this type of war by supporting Iraq and attacking the Iranian navy. Mean while, another affair would shake the international community, especially the politics of Iran, Israel, and the United States. This affair came to be known as the Iran Contra affair and consisted of illegal arms support from U.S. and Israel to Iran in exch ange for hostages and money for Contras in Nicaragua. The Iran Contra affair, which became public in November of 1986, became the first major (public) event to question the ideological approach of Iran's authorities on security and foreign policy in the re gion. Being under the persistent threat from Iraq, Iranian leadership was willing to ultimate ideology of survival in the international


78 system of politics Iran with military capabilities that Iran so desperately needed to confront Iraq. This opened the stage for the Iran Contra affair which engaged Iran, Israel, and U.S., altogether. The idea to circumvent the Operation Staunch was first planned at a meeting in Hamb urg in late 1984 between several Israelis (arms dealers and political advisers) with close ties to high ranking Israelis officials and the Iranian arms dealer Manuchehr Ghobanifar, a close collaborator of the powerful head of the Majles Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafshanjani. Iran was in a desperate need for spare parts and other weaponry assistance. The operational capabilities of the Iranian Air Forces were drastically lowered after the 1982 offensive and due to the absence of spare parts. This problem became a p riority concern when Saddam launched the War of the Cities attack on Iran through aerial bombardments (Ansari 2006, 109). They realized that Israel would be the best intermediary to convince the Americans to provide spare parts weapons for the Iranian army Rafsanjani, a high clear indications that Iran was in a desperate need to restock its military arsenal even though a collaboration of the United States. The Americans joined the plot in the summer of 1985. In July, President Reagan authorized contacts with the Iranian authorities for the operation to begin. Through the secret negotiations, the United States aimed at releasing the U.S. citizens taken ho stages Hezbollah preventing the Soviet expansion in Iran, stabilizing the oil prices, and collecting money for Contras in Nicaragua (Marschall 2003, 183). Based on the report of the Congressional Committee in vestigating the Iran Contra affair, U.S. provided Iran,


79 through two weapons shipments, to Iran, with 504 TOW missiles (Hamilton and Inouye 1987, 169). The report of the Congressional Committees investigating the Iran Contra affair, among other things, argu ed: Tehran had its own agenda. Rhetoric not withstanding the United States was considered 'The Great Satan' and Israel a blasphemy Tehran wanted modern tanks and high technology antitank and anti aircraft missiles to encounter Iraq's Soviet made fighter p lanes and modern tanks. It needed spare parts to maintain the arsenal of weapons that the Shah had purchased from the United States According to one source, with assistance from Israel, the United States secretly provided Iran through six s hipments with more than 2,000 TOW anti tank missiles, 235 Hawk anti aircraft missiles, and considerable spare parts, all of which with a cost of about $64 million (Marschall 2003, 183). At the same time, the Americans provided Iraq with military intelligen ce and AWACS planes. According to another source, weaponry shipments occurred as follow: on August 20 th 1985 were shipped 96 TOW missiles, on September 14 th were shipped 408 TOWs, on November were shipped Hawks missiles, and on February 19 th 1986 were ship ped 500 TOWS (Wroe 1991, ii iii). On May 23 rd an American delegation headed by the former national security advisor, Robert McFarlane, went to Tehran for direct talks about the hostage issues, taking with them Hawk spare parts. The shipments continued in August and October. On the beginning of November, a Beirut magazine published details of Hashemi, an associate of Ayatollah Ali Montazeri. Montazeri was at that time the des ignated successor to Khomeini and a fierce opponent of Rafsanjani. This


80 event cost Montazeri his political career. The irony of the fact is that Hashemi who revealed the secret dealings with U.S and Israel was executed by the Islamic regime and Ra fsanjani who orchestrated the dealings remained fr ee and untouchable from the regime In addition, lead ers of the two countries, of U.S. and Iran, bot h refuted the fact of having information about the secret dealings. Surprisingly, after such controversies they both promoted aggressive policies and rhetoric against each other. Thus, based on the above information, the Iran Iraq war serves as a good indicator to define the main factors that shaped the security and foreign policies of states involved in this affair. Both Iran and Iraq possessed significant military capabilities. The history has shown Iran to be suspicious of the intentions of other neighboring countries like Iraq. Agreements like the 1975 Algiers Agreement did little to stop Iraq from invadin g Iran. It was the shift in the balance of power favoring Iraq that created the premises for Iraq to attack Iran. On the other hand, Iran's ultimate ideology of survival dominated any other ideological predisposition. The need for survival led Iranian lead ers to enter in secret negotiations with countries they considered the Great and the Small Satans These negotiations helped Iran increase its military capabilitie s in order to survive the Iraqi invasion. Israel and the United States, on the other hand, en tered the negotiations for different reasons. Israel needed to prevent any disturbance of the balance of power in the region that would jeopardize Israel's security and survival. Its goal to diminish the Iranian and Iraqi power and influence in the region through the bloodletting strategy became a priority for the Israelis. Moreover, the Iran Iraq war reveals the role of Its goal was to not allow any s tate to reach the status of the regional hegemony that w ould upset the balance of power.


81 Chapt er Eight Chechen Conflict Why studying the Russian Chechen conflict as pertinent case in analyzing Iran's security and foreign policy? The answer is simple: Because Chechnya is a republic predominantly of Muslim population and Russia has been historically a threat to the Iranian sovereignty. According to 2002 census, Chechnya had a population of 1.1 million, 93.5% of whom were Muslims. The Article 3(16) of the Islamic Constitution of Iran e numerates that the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has the duty of directing all its resources to, among others, the goal of framing the foreign policy of the country on the basis of Islamic criteria, fraternal commitment to all Muslims, and un On the other hand, as analyzed previously, Iran still has fresh memories of the Russian Persian wars which resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Gulistan (1813) and the Treaty of Turkomanchai (1826) Both these treaties annexed Iranian territories in favor of Russia. The Anglo Soviet invasion of 1941 reminds Iranians that history may repeat itself. Thus, Iran has all the reasons to fear it neighboring Russia. During the era of the Soviet Empire, Chec hnya, together with Ingushetia formed an autonomous republic under the jurisdiction of the federal government. The collapse of the Soviet Union was followed by a Chechen independence movement led by the former Soviet air force general Dzhokar Dudayev. On October 27 th 1991, the Chechen Central Election Commission held presidential and parliamentary elections, which were won by


82 Dudayev by a plebiscite vote (Graney 2004, 122). On November 1 st of the same year, Dudayev issued decree declaring the Chechen Repub parliament ratified the decree the next day. For Dudayev, his supporters, and the Russian authorities in Moscow this meant a de facto declaration of independence and an act of secession from the Russian Federation (2004, 122). Boris Yeltsin, then the head of the federation, reacted fiercely by imposing martial law in the Ch echen Republic and sending 600 federal troops of the Interior Ministry to Chechnya Faced with a strong Chechen opposition, the federal troops failed to compl ete their mission. This opened the stage for a long term conflict between Chechen separatists and the Russian federal troops. The conflict escalated from 1994 to 1996 in what is called the First Chechen War For the Russians, the war against the Chechens b ecame a proactive strategic movement that would prevent other republics from demanding secession. For the Chechen forces, it became a war of independence and of survival. The results of this war were tragic. The number of casualties (including Chechen and Russian troops and civilians) up to February of 1995 varied from 5,000 to 35,000, depending on the source (Seely 2001, of thousands of civilians. During the 21 months of the first Chechen war, nearly 40%, (400,000 to 600,000 people) of the Chechen pre war population was displaced from their homes and fled to neighboring republics (Global n.d.; Holland 2004, 335) The Second Chechen War which began in 1999 and continued until the restoration of the federal government, increased the scale of atrocities conducted against the civilian population on both sides. In their quest to crush Chechen separatists, the Russian forces perpetrated extra legal and summary e xecutions, forced disappearance,


83 tortures, rape s attacks and assassination of civilians, and other horrendous crimes ( Holland 2004, 336). Seeing that the profile of Chechnya's population is predominantly of Muslim population and that it was fighting for their own freedom against a non Muslim (Christian) country, many would believe that Iran would side with Chechnya to condemn the Russian aggression. The Constitution of Iran clearly demands the government to frame its foreign policy Islamic crit eria fraternal commitment to all Muslims, Iran had previously followed this constitutional obligation in the Middle East by supporting the Palestinian cause and by promoting aggressive policies against the Israeli and the U.S. involvement in the region. Iran, like no other Muslim state, has relentlessly condemned policies in the Middle East, considering them anti Islam policies. The U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan a re two other cases in which the Iranian fierce rhetoric has received a prime time focus Not only was Iran vehemently supporting its Muslim brothers in Middle East, but it was also supporting every Muslim cause around the globe. Not only was it providing s upport for its Shi a brothers of Hezbollah but it was also providing assistance to its Sunni counterpart, Al Qaeda Thus, rarely we can find news from the Muslim world where Iran has had no blueprint on it. However, as strange as it may sound, the Irania n policy toward the Russian Chechen conflict was completely different from the other cases mentioned previously While many other Muslim countries condemned the Russian aggression on Chechnya, it became obvious that Iran had no intention of jeopardizing it


84 (Freedman 2000, 70). It was the time again for Iran to set aside its ideological predispositions. I n March 1996, months before the end of the First Chechen War the Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Velayati, in a visit to Moscow, stated that Iranian 71). In 1999, then the Iranian Foreign Minister, Kamal Kharrazi, expressed this political position to his Russian counterpart, Igor Ivanov, by adding that Tehran was ready to undertake effective collaboration in the struggle against terrorists to dest abilize the situation in Russia (as cited in Samii 2001, 49). Russian diplomats responded by stating that the Iranian policy toward the Chechen conflict promised for productive bilateral relations between two countries. In 1999, Iran became the head of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). This new position obligated Iran to serve and protect the welfare of all Muslims significant change. The Iranian rhetoric against the Russian invasion of Chechnya was sporadic and wi thout resonance. In the midst of the Second Chechen War i n early January 2000, President Say y ed Mohammed Khatami congratulated Vladimir Putin on assuming the office of the Russian President and emphasized the hopes for further intensification of contacts with Moscow (Malek 2008, 2). Vladimir Putin was then the Prime Minister and one of the leading Russian strategists of the Russian Chechen conflict. In 2003 Hamid Reza Assefi, the Iranian representative of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs, declared that We tolerate all measures of Russia that are peaceful and aimed at respecting and guaranteeing the rights of Russia's multinational population, including the


85 Muslims. Iran welcomes the respect the Russian Federation pays to the many representatives of the Islamic faith and, by all means, considers the problem with the Chechen Republic to be an internal Russian affair. 2008, 2) The Chechen's field commander Chechen field commander Sham il Basayev In an open letter to the Iranian leadership, Basayev asked a series of questions which questioned the Islamic ideology of the Iranian government. Among ot hers, he questioned: Since when have the infidels become c an neighbor of the Caucasus and Chechnya. Is it not your direct duty before God . in acco rdance with Sharia, to take part in Jihad and support the Muslims waging war for Islam? (as cited in Samii 2001, 50) Fo r Chechens, Iran had become an agent of Russia from whom they could not hope for support. Despite the main theme of the Iranian foreign policy toward Russia Chechen conflict, in 2005, rumors were spread to indicate that Iranian Revolutionary Guard had used its training camps to train Chechen fighters and launch then back in battlefields of Chechnya. However, these rumors did not have any significant impact on Iran Russia cooperation. In addition, other Muslim countries and organizations responded to the Chechen


86 conflict by focusing their attacks mostly on Russia. Allahshukur Pashazade, head of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the Caucasu s, declared that regardless of its statements (2001, 51). Furthermore, the Egyptian Foreign Minister Amir he OIC foreign ministers, top priority should be given to the Chechnya crisis, and it is essential that the Islamic states adopt Baz, political advisor to the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (2000, 51). The government of Afghanistan acted aggressively by recognizing the independence of Chechnya and stated that (2001, 52). In order to defend their position toward the conflict, the Iranian officials declared that the Chechen re bel forces were backed by external forces which were enemies of Iran and Russia alike the U.S. and Turkey (Malek 2008, 4) Besides admitting the fact that Iran was not supporting Chechen movement, this excuse did little to justify in the eye s of the other Muslim states policy toward the Chechen conflict The Iranian policy toward the Russian Chechen conflict brings forth the Iran which states that the Iranian security and foreign policy is guided by its ultimate ideology of survival and the main principle s of the offensive realism. Iran's cooperation with Russia and its neutral


87 position during the Chechen struggle for freedom is a product of an Iranian rational choice. Iran calculated and feared that a support for the Chechens would cause Russia to stop providing military assistance and military related technology th at Iran so desperately needed. In addition, in supporting the Chechen separatist movement, Iran would inadvertently encourage the Azeri separatist movement in Northwestern Iran, or fearing that Russia would support the separatist movements in Iran in a ret aliatory strategy. Thus, the main strategy leading the security and foreign policy of the Islamic Iran toward Russian Chechen conflict was to enhance its military capabilities and to prevent any separatist movements within its territory The paramount goal leading to this strategy was the survival of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its sovereignty. Since its birth, the major threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran has been the subversive regional strategy of the United States. The United States came out of the Cold War victorious and more powerful. More important, there was no other great power capable of challenging its domination of the international system. Russia was suffering from radical changes in its political and economic system. China was struggli ng with its economy, and Europe had its own problems at home. The other powers were looking at U.S. to launch its new post Cold War strategy from which they might profit. The Islamic Republic of Iran had seen U.S as the major threat to its existence. In Ja nuary of 1995, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher openly called for an overthrow of the Islamic (as cited in Gerges 1999, 132). Some considered this reaction as being part of Christopher's past experience with Iran when the hostage crisis vanished his hopes to be Secretary of State under the Carter administration.


88 In addition, there had been prevailing assumptions among the I ranian leadership that the primary goal of the United States was to change the Islamic regime. However, many may consider the security relationship with Russia to be an anomaly because Iran historically has seen Russians with a deep suspicion. Russians alone and in collaboration with the British forces, had conquered and annexed territories that previously belonged to the Persian Empire. They had sought to divide Iran into spheres of influence. In order to ensure its regime survival, Iran's leadership pu t the emphasis on military capabilities and decided to increase its capabilities by cooperating with the Russian Federation, after having relied for decades on U.S. military assistance and weapons. At the s ame time, Iran would rely on U.S. to avoid any pos sible aggressive tentative by the Russians to extent their influence in Iran. This was the same strategy that Iran followed during the 19 th century when Russia and the Great Britain struggled with each other for the domination of Iran. At that time, Iran p layed the role of the b alancer. While the Americans might have not like d the current Iranian regime, they would (inadvertently) have play ed the role of the Iranian defender by not allowing any Russian expansion in its form protected by both the United States and Russia. Iran was also, at the same time, playing the role of the balancer. The situation would have change d only if the two great powers (U.S. and Russia) would have reach ed a consensus regarding Iran. That would hav e be en very dangerous for Iran. Russia, on its part, would have support ed Iran motivated by the goal to minimize the U.S. influence in the Middle East. As the offensive realism also maintains, the Iranian leaders recognized that the more military capabili ties they gain ed the more secure they would be from the foreign dominance and invasion. Besides the traditional military arsenal, the Iranians


89 realized that possessing nuclear capability would dramatically increase their power and influence and would ensu re their survival. Tentative to expand it military power had started in 1989 when Iran launched an ambitious effort to rebuild its military potential and transform itself into a regional military power. Iran's military arsenal at that time included 100 20 0 combat aircraft; 1,000 2,000 armored vehicles; several submarines; and as many as a dozen missile boats (Eisenstadt, 2001). Parallel with this military strategy, Iran had accelerated its tentative to enhance its missile technology, which culminated on Fe bruary 3 rd 2009 with the launching of the first satellite into space (Fathi and Broad, 2009). Having a sophisticated missile technology would give Iran significant advantage in fighting against other aggressive states, which cannot be reached by the conve ntional weapons in Iran's disposition. It also would provide Iran with the capability to deliver warheads to distanced locations. The first main agreement between Iran and Russia dated back in 1989 when Rafsanjani negotiated with the Soviets in Moscow. R ussia inherited this agreement and implemented part of the agreement due to the Russian demand for di rect payment and the Iranian lack of economic power to buy them all. From this agreement, Iran received 422 T 72 tanks, 413 BMP 2 infantry fighting vehicle s, and self propelled artillery; SA 5 and SA 6 surface to air missiles (SAMs); 12 Su 24 and 24 MiG 29 fighters; and three Kilo class submarines, along with advanced torpedoes and mines (Eisenstadt 2001; Samii 2001, 55). Meanwhile, U.S. feared that the Iran ian arsenal could destabilize the balance of power in the region and forced the Russians to stop their transfer of technology and military capabilities to Iran. Under the American pressure, the Russian President Boris


90 Yeltsin pledged to stop the arms trade with Iran in September 1994. In June of 1995, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and the U.S. Vice President Al Gore signed an agreement in which Russia promised fulfill existing contracts by the end of isenstadt 2001). Despite the Gore Cherno myrdin A greement the Russian and Iranian officials allegedly met in early 1997 to discuss new arms deals. These supposedly involved the possible sale of eight Su 25 attack aircraft; 25 Mi 17 transport helicopters; hundreds of T 72 tanks; 500 1,000 SA 16/18 Igla shoulder launched SAMs; several battalions of SA 10 and SA 12 SAMs; air surveillance radars; and several other items ( Eisenstadt 2001) In violation of the agreement, Russia transferred to Iran other five Mi 17s starting in January 2000 while in November 2000, an Israeli newspaper reported the imminent departure of a shipment of 700 SA 16/18 Igla missiles for Iran (2001). In the middle of the Second Chechen War in November of 2000, Russia officially nullif ied the Gore Chernomyrdin agreement and together with Iran signed another agreement that would start a n ew phase in the military and technology cooperation. However, acquiring military c apabilities and power was not Iran's goal in itself. The real goal wa s to acquire military capabilities that would surpass the capabilities of other states in the region. This phenomenon deals with the main realist/neorealist concepts of relative and absolute gains According to Joseph Grie co, states aim at increasing their power and influence ( absolute gains ) through cooperation with other states (as cited in Baylis, Smith, and Owens, 2008, p. 129). However, states are always concerned about the gains of other states in multilateral or bilateral cooperation (relative gains) In its co operation with Russia, Iran aimed at increasing its regional power in


91 influence. Iran was not concerned about the relative g ains of Russia because Russia was already significan tly superior to Iran and U.S. was far superior to not allow Russia to threaten Iran's sovereignty or to disturb the bala nce of power. Indeed, Iran sought to use the absolute gains extracted from cooperation with Russia to increase its power and influence in the Middle East. This would create the premises for reaching the st atus of the regional hegemony, which in turn would provide more security for Iran. The Iran's nuclear ambit ion provided sufficient and credible support to this argument. The Iran's nuclear ambitions date back in the Shah era, but they were reinvigorated in the midst of the Iran Iraq war due to the perceived threat to its sovereignty coming from Iraq. Having the Germans abandoning the project following the Islamic Revolution, Iran relied on Soviets to pursue its nuclear ambitions. The Iran Iraq war reminded the Iranians of the fact that the international system was anarchic and self help and preparedness were the most effective ways to deal with possible foreign aggressions. In January 1995, Iran and Russia signed an agreement which dealt with the constructio n by the Russian specialists of a nuclear power plant at Bushehr. In July 2002, notwithstanding the U.S. opposition, Russia declared that it would help Iran build five additional nuclear reactors. Russian nuclear cooperation with Iran caused severe diploma tic disagreements between the United States and Russia. The Americans saw the Russian nuclear assistance to Iran as part of the Russian strategy to undermine the U.S. intensified in 1999. This intensification of the nuclear program happened in a time when the U.S. government was attempting to establish relations with Iran whose government was supposedly led by the reformers.


92 The nuclear program became an international issue in 2002 when it was revealed that Iran had secretly built fuel cycle facilities. The pursuit of the nuclear program had a little rationality to support the argument that its final product would be for economic purpose. The American leaders demanded R ussia to not supply any nuclear fuel to the Bushehr reactor unless Iran agreed to send all used fuel back to Moscow. In addition to the American demands Moscow should withhold the nuclear fuel until Iran signed an additional protocol with the Internationa l Atomic Energy Agency ( IAEA ) permitting that agency unannounced visits to all Iranian nuclear facilities (Freedman 2006, 19) This discovery caused the head of the IAEA Muhammad Al Baradei, to visit Tehran in 2003. Al Baradei urged Iran to stop the nucle ar activity and ratify the Additional Protocol (AP) with the EU 3 (Great Britain, Germany, and France). Being under pressure from IAEA and fearing possible U.S. military action, Iran accepted and signed the agreement. Since then, Iran has systematically vi olated any agreement and broken any promise it has made to the international community. The Iranian Russian nuclear cooperation still continues today, raising serious concerns about the outcome of this cooperation. This revelation and the future events tha t follow Iran's nuclear ambitions have given Iran a new status and profile in international arena. However, the main questions that most political scientist and p oliticians face today are: (1) w hat is the goal of Iran in pursuin g the nuclear program? and (2) w hat factors shape this goal? In following the principles of the offensive real ism, the argument holds that Iran's nuclear program is an extension and growth of the military capabilities to insure the survival of the Islamic Republic. To insure its sur vival, Iran seeks to militarily dominate other states in the region. As a consequence, Iran aims at increasing its military

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93 power until the status of the regional hegemony is achieved. Shahram Chubin argues that there are four main goals that drive Iran to ward a nuclear capability (2006, 8 13). First, it is the goal to deter other countries from taking any possible military actions against Iran. The Iraqi invasion of Iran showed the importance of possessing sufficient military capabilities to deter attacks from hostile states. Possessing a nuclear arsenal would provide Iran with significant capability to retaliate against any military attack from outside. Facing retaliation, foreign forces would be reluctant to attack Iran due to their fear of a very costly conflict. Other forces are aware that this may lead to a mutual assured destruction (MAD). Second, a nuclear arsenal would increase the Iranian influence in the region. As previously mentioned, this is not a new idea for Iranians. It is an idea that dates back during the times of Cyrus and Darius the Great idea that was location make the Iranian leaders believe that they are entitled to a privileged status in the Middle East, and probably in t he world. Third, a nuclear arsenal would give Iran significant bargaining power in dealing with regional and global issues. Lastly, the nuclear program would be a nationalist card for regime legitimation The new Islamic government considers the nuclear ar senal a powerful tool that would make Iran independent of other states and would ensure the survival of the regime. The fate of the nuclear program will also be the fate of the regime. Russia happened to be its strategic partner in achieving (or even comin g closer to achieving) these paramount goals. As a rational actor, Iran would never jeopardize this productive and strategic relationship. Lastly, the territorial integrity play ed a crucial role in shaping Iran's position toward the Russian Chechen confl ict. Iran feared that an independent Chechnya would

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94 encourage minorities within Iran to strive for their independence. Potential separatist movements might come from Azeris in Northwest, Arabs in South, Kurds in West, Turkmen in Northeast, and Baluchis in Southeast of Iran. Iran had previously sided with a Christian country (Armenia) in its struggle against a Muslim country (Azerbaijan) in order to prevent any future separatist movement from growing in its Northern borders. This fear urged the Iranian Defen se Ministry official Alireza Akbari to declare that Russian Chechen conflict was a result of the threat that Chechen movement posed to the promoted by leaders of Cheche n armed groups would trigger a domino effect in the region the issue of territorial integrity of other countries in the region would arise cited in Samii 2001, 55). Seeing that its neighbor Azerbaijan has the potential to instigate t e movement in Northwest, Iran was determined to not provide any precedent that would act as a catalyst for such a movement. An anti Russian foreign policy toward the Chechen conflict would also make Russia not only stop the military assistance, but it wou ld also pursue an anti Iranian policy by sponsoring the separatist movements, especially the Azeri's movement Thus, Iran also saw the c ooperation with Russia as the best ways to forestall and suppress any potential separatist movement that would threaten its territorial integrity.

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95 Chapter Nine Azerbaijan Conflict During the Post Soviet Era The Armenian Azerbaijani conflict is another crucial event in understanding the security and foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. There are three main reasons the Armenian Azerbaijani conflict. First, both Armenia among each others. Iran and Azerbaijan bo rder each other in the Caspian Sea and share about 611 kilometers of the land borders (Djalili 2002, 49 50). In addition, Iran borders the south of Armenia in a land borderline of 35 kilometers. The geostrategic location of Azer baijan, Armenia, and Iran ra ised certain geopolitical issues, including pipelines, division of the Caspian Sea, Nagorno Karabakh region, and the issue of Southern Azerbaijan. All the above issues set the stage for other great powers to be involved in regional politics. For example, t he pipeline issue created two main groups with opposing inte rests. On the one hand, there was the bloc created by the Azerbaijani cooperation with the U.S., Turkey, European Union, and Georgia. On the other hand, there was the bloc comprising R ussia, Iran, and Armenia, who fou nd their interests challenge d by the first bloc. When it came to the division of the Caspian Sea, alliances change d and beca me ver y complicated. Azerbaijan allied with Russia, Turkey, U.S ., and Kazakhstan, while Iran was left on the ot her side with Turkmenistan. However, it needs t o be emphasized that Russia saw the Turkish and the U.S. involvement in this matter with deep suspicion and concerns. The Nagorno Karabakh issue, which was the main cause of the Armenian

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96 Azerbaijani conflict, created a new configuration of po litics in the region and revealed the study). Second, both the Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been under the Iranian (Persian ) domination for centuries. Armenia has been subject to conquests from the Persian Empire, starting with the conquests from Cyrus and Darius the Great and ending with conquests from the Safavid dynasty. Like Armenia, Azerbaijan has been part of the Persian Empire throughout the history, or of what was called the Greater Iran However, during the Russo Persian wars in the beginning of the 19th century, much of the Caucasus was occupied by the Russian troops and was formally ceded to Russia under the terms of the T reaties of Gulistan (1813) and Turkmenchay (1828) (mentioned earlier in the study ). This event brought the cre the S outh an d the North Azerbaijan. The North Azerbaijan became the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan under the s overeignty of the Russian Empire. This part would declare its independence from the Russian domination in 1918, proclaiming the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic (ADR). However, in 1945, the new republic was invaded by the Soviet army and became part of the Soviet Empire. Azerbaijan restored its independence soon after the official demise of the Soviet Empire in late 1991. The Souther n Azerbaijan was considered the Northwestern part of Iran populated by Azeris. Actually, there are more Azeris living in the No rthwest Iran than are in the Republic of Azerbaijan (Freij 1996, 73). There is a lack of consensus regarding the actual number of Azeris population in the northwest of Iran. Some researches indicate that Azeris comprise from one fifth to one third of the I ranian population, while the total number varies from twenty to twenty

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97 seven million Azeris (Shaffer 2000, 473). Azerbaijani conflict is the specific formation of the latter countries. At the ti me of the conflict, Armenia wa s predominantly a Christian country (approximate ly 95% of its population) and was characterized by uniqueness in religious practices and in spoken language. Despite their past engagement s with each other, Armenian did not shar e much value and traditions with Iran. The majority of Armenians practiced an orthodox form of Christianity, and its church was named the Armenian Apostolic Church It was the first nation to adopt Christianity as a state religion. On the other hand, Azerb aijan and Iran share d values from their mutual past and certain elements of a common cul ture. After Iran, Azerbaijan had the second largest Shi'i population in the world. The majority o f the Azerbaijanis were of Turkic descend, and approx imately 95% of its population was of the Mus lim religion. Both countries were members of the Organization of Islamic Confere nce. Since 1918, Azerbaijani had been in a hostile and continuous conflict with its neighbor Armenia. Just by looking at the demographics and the rel igious affiliations of both countries, we would assume that in the Armenia Azerbaijan conflict the Islamic Iran would support its Muslim brothers in Azerbaijan. It was not a choice for Iran. It was a mandatory task given under the Islamic Constitution and a religious obligation to their fellow Muslims in need. Not only was Azerbaijan a Muslim country, but it was also fighting to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The conflic t, as some may argue, had its roots in the awakening sense of identi ty that arose during the last years of the capitulation of the Ottoman Empire. The demise of

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98 the Ottoman Empire set the stage for the promotion of the Pan Turkism ideology, similar Pan Arabism Pan Turkism promoted a sense of na tional, linguistic, and historical commonality among the Turkic people (Croissant 1998, 8). The Armenians, on the other hand, began to create their own unique identity based on their history. Under the domination of the Ottoman Empire, they were considered by Turks as deportation of and massacres against the Armenian populace during 1895 1895 and 1915 1916 periods (1998, 5). The massacre itself, the lack of support from the Christian Europe, and other previous conquests produced the Armenian sense of uniqueness, vulnerability and self reliance (1998, 5). At the same time, the Armenians percei ved the Azerbaijanis as Turks and grew a sense of animosity toward them. The first confrontation between the Armenians and Azeris occurs in mid 1918 when Armenians began a large scale aggression against Azerbaijan. The cause of the conflict was the Azerba ijani province of Nagorno Karabakh that was populated by a popular majority of the Armenian descends. T he Nagorno Karabakh region was under the sovereignty of the Republic of Azerbaijan. At that time, both countries had proclaimed their independence after the dissolution of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic (incorporating Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia). However, both countries were soon occupied by the 11th Red Army of Soviet Russia and th e Soviet rule was established. The Soviet rule las ted until the official collapse of the Soviet Empire in late 1991. The Armenia Azerbaijan conflict was revived as a result of perestroika and

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99 glasnost policies implemented in 1985 by the new general secretary of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. These policies provided more political freedom for citizens and groups to express their concerns and objections about political matters. Th is new policy motivated the Nagorno Karabakh regional parliament to vote in favor of unifying the autonomous region with Ar menia on February 20, 1988. This decision was in response to the Armenian claims that population, forcing the latter to abandon their homes. At that time, Armenians comprised approximately 74% of the pop ulation of Nagorno Karabakh (Melander 2001, 50). This decision led to a series of violent anti Armenian protests in Baku (2001, 58 59). However, the conflict never escalated to an armed conflict between two republics because any border change would be in v iolation of the Article 78 of the Soviet Constitution. The Soviet leader was determined to apply this constitutional provision in this matter. The official collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991 and the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Karabakh (which was completed in March 1992) provided the Karabakh forces with arms and provoked an offensive in early 1992 (Migdalovitz 2003, 3). On February 26, 1992, the Armenians seized the control of Khojaly, the second largest Azeri town in Karabakh. On Marc h 6, the Azeri public outrage over Khojaly led to the ouster of the Azeri President. On May 9 th while Azerbaijan was caught by surprise and under a political turmoil, the Armenians seized the opportunity to take Shusha, the last Aze ri town in Karabakh. Sh usha fell to the Armenian rule while the Armenian president, Levon Ter Petrosian was conducting peace talks with the acting Azerbaijani leader, Yaqub Mamedov, in Tehran (De Waal 2003, 180). The news from Karabakh

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100 became an embarrassment for the Iranians an d all the other parties in meeting as well. The capture of Shusha by the Armenians provoked a political chaos in Baku in which the government changed twice in 24 hours (Migdalovitz 2003, 3; De Waal 2003, 181). Meanwhile, the Armenians had also secured the Armenia and Karabakh. The Armenian offensive continued against Nakhichevan city, in which 30,000 people were displaced (Migdalovitz 2003, 3). In June 1992, Azerbaijan began an offensive to regain Karabakh province. By 1993, the Armenians engaged in a fierc e ful counteroffensive and managed to capture several villages in northern Karabakh. The conflict escalated and the Armenian attacks spread on the southern areas of Karabakh, resulting in a massive displacement of the Azeri population. On April 6, the U.N. Secretary General implied that there were indications that Armenian army was participating in the conflict. Thi s statement forced the Armenian Defense Minister to admit that the Armenian forces had fired on the Azeri positions. The U.S. State Department identified that there was an unnecessary use of force by the Armenians in several occasions based on the pretext of self defense (Migdalovitz 2003, 3). On July 29, the Security Council Resolution 853 condemned the Arme nian conquests, demanded an immediate cease fire and unconditional withdrawal of occupying forces, and appealed for direct negotiations within the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) framework. It also urged Armenia to pressure Karabakh to comply. On August 18, the Security Council demanded cessation of fighting and withdrawal of occupying forces from Fizuli, Kelbajar, and Aghdam. In addition, the cease fire and to e nsure that forces involved were not provided with the means to extend their campaign

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101 (2003, 4). On October 14, Security Council Resolution 874 called for a permanent cease fire, a withdrawal timetable, and removal of communication and transportation obstac les. The conflict continued until a cease fire went into effect in May 1994. Meanwhile, Iran had prepared its strategy to respond to this conflict. Before the demise of the Soviet Empire (1998 1990), Iran did not interfere in the conflict and considered it an internal affair of the Soviets. However, the collapse of the Soviet Empire brought a new era of politics in the region. The dissolution was followed by the creation of the new independent states of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Previously, Iran and Azerbaija n had stable and friendly relations. However, after the declaration of the independence by Azerbaijan, Iran became concerned about the links between its Northe r n Azeri population and the new republic. In January 1993, Iran's Ministry of Interior, General F oreign Citizen and Emigration Affairs Office citizen intending to marry a citizen from Azerbaijan must get a permit from the Ministry 73). Throughout the conflict, Iran promoted a foreign policy tha t endeavored to toward the conflict would be neutral due to domestic and international pressure from both sides (Gresh 2006, 4). However, the situation proved that neutrality was not the case. The conflict caused a massive displacement of the Azerbaijani population to its neighboring Iran By the beginning of 1993, Iran mobilized military troops to its northern borders and provided humanitarian aid to feed the Azerba ijan i refugees In addition, Iran built refugee By building refugee camps within the Azerbaijani territory, the Iranian authorities aimed at preventing the rise of any possible sense of

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102 affinity between the Azerbaijani re fugees and the Azeris living in the northwest of Iran. In addition, a ware of the impact of the conflict, Iran attempted to negotiate a ceasefire in 1992 However, this attempt failed due to the intensification of fighting between the Azerbaijan i and Armen ia n troops Meanwhile, Iran was faced with a fierce anti Iranian rhetoric and calls for Azerbaijani unification coming from the newly elected president of Azerbaijan, Abulf ez Elchibey. Iran o pposed Azerbaijan and its new a nti Iranian policies by aligning i tself with Armenia. By the end of 1992, Iran and Armenia signed a bilateral treaty of friendship and economic cooperation (Gresh 2006, 5). Rumors were spread that Iran had allowed the transit of weapons from Russia headed to Arm enia during the conflict. I t was also reported that Iran trained the Armenian secret army forces, which were directly involved in the conflict (2006, 5). The Iranian Armenian relations reached the pinnacle when Iran provided economic assistance to Armenia during the trade embargo im posed on Armenia by Turkey and Azerbaijan in 1994. But what are the forces driving Azerbaijan conflict? For Iran, the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the Armenia Azerbaijan conflict inflicted a sense of fear regarding th e Iranian role in the region and the security threat that these events pose to the Iranian sovereignty. The demise of the Soviet Empire signaled a new configuration of powers in the region. After breaking relations with the United States and the fall of co mmunism, Iran lost the privileged status that it had had for the containment of Communism in the Middle East. The demise of Communism led to the birth of another regional ideology p an Turkism Many began to envision a federation of all Turkic people, exten ding from Turkey to Himalayas (Hunter 2003, 137). A Turkic

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103 ambitions. It would cause a chain reaction that would later challenge even the sovereignty and the territorial integri ty of the Islamic state of Iran. Iran feared that pan Turkism might motivate the Azeri minority of Turkic descend in the northern Iran to demand secession from the Islamic state. To make the matter worse, Iran feared that the newly independent Republic of Azerbaijan could claim the rights over the Azeri province in northern Iran, or what the latter called the Southern Azerbaijan This fear of insecurity and national unrest became a real concern for Iran in 1992 when Abulf ez Elchibey a nationalist and anti Iranian, became the president of Azerbaijan. El ch ibey aspiration for unification with the Southern Azerbaijan (Souleimanov and Ditrych 2007, 104; Gresh 2006, 4). He supported the idea of the Greater Azerbaijan which hol ds that the Azerbaijani national unity was split into northern and southern halves by imperial Russia and Iran and should therefore reunite (Sadegh Zadeh 2008, 38). Iran also feared that this situation could lead to separatist movement by the Azeri minorit y (which comprises about 24% of the Iranian population) to secede from Iran and join the Republic of Azerbaijan. This would not end here. The Iranian authorities also thought that a potential Azeri separatist mov ement might serve as an incentiv e for separa tist movements from Arabs in South (3% of the Iranian population), Kurds in West (7%), Turkmen (2%) in Northeast, and Baluchis (2%) in Southeast of Iran ( Sadegh Zadeh 2008, 36). Besides the impact of the Azeris separatist movements, Iran feared a possible involvement of the neighboring states and the U.S. in destabilizing and weakening Iran. Iran feared that Turkey might assume, under the support and blessing from the United States, the role that Iran had previously maintained in the Middle East during the Shah

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104 era. The history had given Iran all the reasons to fear other st ates and look at their intent ions with suspicion. Saddam attacked the Islamic Iran in 1980 motivated primarily by his desire to make Iraq a regional hegemony. The attack happened in a ti me when Iran was perceived as less powerful and after U.S. has stopped its weaponry assistance to Iran. Twelve years later, Iran feared that history might repeat itself. In Azerbaijan conflict was shaped by Iran policy toward this conflict had the same goals as the Iranian policy toward the Russia Chechnya conflict, as analyzed previously. Iran considered Russia a crucial force to c ontain and confront the Turkish and U.S. influence in the region. At the same time, for Iran than building of military capabilities. Iran was aware of what other states, li ke Russia or Armenia, were gaining from the cooperation with it. However, the Iranian officials believed that by enhancing military capabilities through cooperation, they would maximize the ir relative gains. Iran also believed that the balance of power ser long term interests. Iran was not concerned about short term gains. What mattered the most for Iran was becoming a potential regional hegemony in the future. A hegemonic status would provide Iran with more security and leverage on regional and g lobal issues. To reach the hegemonic status, Iran needed a strong state, a solid army, and a modern and abundant military arsenal. Russia was considered a strategic partner to achieve this goal.

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105 Chapter Ten raq wherever Iran goes, it faces the United States. This includes Iraq. Hassan Rowhani, Iranian Nuclear Negotiator That is right, but there is another side to it. Wherever the U.S. goes, it faces Iran. Hussein Mousavian, Iranian Nuclear Negotiato r (arrested in 2007 on espionage charges) The Iranian security and foreign policy in the Middle East cannot be fully comprehended without taking into account the U.S. policy in the region. There are three main reasons why the U.S. and Iranian security and foreign policy are so intertwined and interdependent on each other. 1. U.S. is the only state to have an indisputable military capability and influence in the Middle East policy. 2. U.S. represents the most serious threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran. 3. After the fall of Sa d dam Hussein, Iran sees itself as the most influential actor and as a potential regional hegemony for in the future. The coup perpetrated by the U.S. and British secret services against the Iranian government of Mohammed Mosaddeq in 19 53 consolidated the U.S. hegemony in the Middle East for decades to come. Through this coup the U.S sought to achieve expansion (Communism) in the Middle East. Besi des the interests in the oil rich field of the region and the containment of Communism, its support to the state of Israel provided another important reason for the U.S. presence in the Middle East.

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106 Despite the oil crises in 1973, the U.S. interests remai ned unchallenged until the coming of the Iranian Islamic Revolution. The coming into power of the Islamic forces caught U.S. by surprise and changed its regional policy for decades to come. In addition, the hostage crises and the labeling of the United Sta tes by Ayatollah Khomeini as the Great Satan stunned and humiliated the American government. Both countries entered in an saw the U.S. as the most serious threat to its existence and interests in the Middle East. The United States, on the other hand, saw the Islamic Iran as a threat to its security and economic interests in the region. However, t he regional politics (and global politics as well) changed radically and profoundly after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the fall of the regime of Sad d am Hussein Rightfully many analysts would raise several questions about the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Why did U.S. invade Iraq and not Iran? What may be the reasons behind this invasion, especially after it was revealed in 2002 that Iran was secretly engaged in a nuclear activity? Were the U.S. foreign relations experts ignorant abou t regional politics in the Middle East and relations between Iraq and Iran? While taking into account these questions, this case study will focus on the Iranian security and foreign policy toward the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The Americans government tried to convince its people and the international community that the reason for invading Iraq was the possession of nuclear weapons by Saddam. However, a reasonable analysis would conclude that it would be almost impossible for a country to attack another country that possesses nuclear capabilities. If such an attack were to be conducted, then both countries would risk entering in a mutual

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107 assured destruction (MAD) process. Thus, logically, it would be impossible for the Congress to vote for a war whose consequenc es would remind the international community of the nuclear bombardment of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They would probably fear an Iraqi nuclear attack against Israel in case of an American attack on Iraq. Indeed, the U.S. invasion of Iraq can be considered a p reemptive attack which aimed at disarming Iraq and limiting its capabilities to create a nuclear arsenal. In addition, the U.S. officials may have feared that a nuclear Iraq might serve as a weaponry supporter for the Al Qaida terrorists. The Americans als o feared that Iraq might turn into a safe haven for the Al Qaeda, from where the anti American strategies would be launched. Some may argue that the U.S. invasion of Iraq aimed at disturbing the balance of power between Sunnis and Shi as. By doing this, U. S. would attempt to curtail the anti American activity of the Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East. It could be done by providing more power to Shi as, which are a minority in the Muslim world. However, any of these scenarios does not indicate that th e U.S. Iran relations ar e friendly or peaceful. Both U.S and Iran were playing to promote and protect their interests in the region. U.S. was aware of the Iran As expected, the U.S. invasion of Iraq was f ollowed by the coming into power of Shi a dominated government in Iraq. Nothing has better served the Iranian regional interests and none (besides the Iraqi people, especially Shi'a population) has profit more from this invasion than the Islamic government of Iran. Iran saw this as an opportunity to a ascendancy in Iraq is supported by and is in turn bolstering another important development in the Middle East: the emergence of Iran as a regional power (Nasr,

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108 2007, p. 212). Years after the deposition of Saddam Hussein and the coming into power of the analysts believe that Iraq is becoming a satellite of Iran and a battleground for the U.S. Iran confrontation. The Iranian secret nuclear program discovered in 2002, followed by the new opportunities coming from the destruction Iraq and its Sunni led government, provides clear indication why U.S. feared the Iranian politics and its quest to become a regional hegemon y. As an offshore balancer, U.S. would do everything to stop Iran from reaching the hegemonic status in the region. With Saddam out of the political scene, U.S. is now focused primarily on Iran. An Iranian hegemony would challenge and decrease the U.S. influe nce in the Middle East, would threaten the U.S. historical ally, Israel, and would profoundly alternate the balance of power in the region. Thu s, the argument stands that Iran ,s security and foreign policy tow ard the U.S. invasion of Iraq was(is) influence d by its need to survive, the desire to become a regional hegemony, and the threat that U.S. imposes on its regime survival and its ambitions to become a regional hegemony. The Iranian policy toward the U.S. invasion of Iraq provides a fundamental support and explanation for this argument. In order to succeed in its security and foreign policy agenda, and in addition to increasing its military capabilities, Iran implemented two other main strategies: (1) the prevention of coming into power of Sunni forces, and (2) lowering of the U.S. influence and power in the region. Iran was enhancing its deve loping a nuclear program (Milani 2009). Furthermore, the American invasion of Iraq and the fall of Sa d dam Hussein

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109 brought opportunities for the Islamic Iran to influence the political process within Iraq. Soon after the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iran promot factions in a cohesive group to participate in the post Bathist election process. For this purpose, Iran managed to assemble all the factions in a Shiite Islamic bloc called United Iraqi Alliance The bloc encompasses the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), the (Islamic Call) party, and the faction of the young cleric Moqtada Al Sadr. Iran's go al was to take advantage of Iraqi's Shiite majority population and turn it into a source of political power to contr ol the state apparatus. The election results proved that the Iranian strategy had worked: the bloc won 128 of the 275 seats in the December 15, 2005, election for a full term parliament (Katzman, 2008, p. 1) The profile of the political figures coming out of this election showed that they all had direct or indirect ties with Iran. Nuri al Maliki, who was selected as Prime Minister, was from the whose leaders were in exile mostly in Syria. Most leaders of ISCI had spent their years of exile in Iran. In 1982, Ayatollah Mohammad Baqr Al Hakim, leader of ISCI, who was killed in an August 2003 car bomb in Najaf, was anointed by then Iranian leader (Duss and Juul, 2009, p. 10). In additi on to enhancing its military capabilities and taking the control of the Iraqi state, Iran put significant emphasis on its strategy of gaining power and weakening the Americ an military power and influence in the region by using military and paramilitary gro ups. Iran also found it vital for its interests and security to not allow any permanent establishment of the U.S. military bases in Iraq. Permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq he U.S.

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110 mil itary forces in the Middle East. This led Iran to consider several strategies to enhance its security status and to diminish the U.S. political and military power. In his theory of offensive realism, John Mearsheimer argues that there are four main strategies through which a state can gain power relative to the others. First, countries gain power by going to war with the other rival state. In our case, Iran could not implement this strategy because it has no chance of winning a war against the U .S. mighty military forces. Second, states gain power by threatening rival states to use military forces against them -blackmail even think abo ut this strategy because it did not have sufficient military capabilities to challenge the U.S. mi litary power. Third, the bait and bleed 155). This is the c ase when one state causes expand its power. As mentioned previously, the U.S. invasion of Iraq was not provoked or instigated by Iran. It was a result of the U.S. fea r of Iraq running nuclear facilities and supporting terrorism. The last strategy that states implement to gain power is the bloodletting strategy, which aims at causing rival states to fight against each other in a long and costing conflict. This last str ategy best describes the Iranian strategy in Iraq. First, Iran did not have any implication in starting the invasion, but just benefited from it. Second, a long and costing conflict would weaken the American power in the region and would keep Iraq in ruins for decades to come. Thus, by prom two birds Iraq out of competition for regional hegemonic power, which

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111 may also turn in a servant of Iran's ambitions, and (2) kept in declining of its regional political and military influence. bloodletting The Badr Brigades had been recruited, trained, and armed by Iraq war and in the current Iran (Katzman, 2008, p. 1). In addition, the Iranian leaders have sought to establish close arge and dedicated following among lower class Iraqi Mahdi, or (2008, p. 2). JAM became very aggressive toward the U.S. troops and the pro U.S. Iraq i's politicians. In most occasions, they would try to eliminate pro American politicians. Iran soon realized that JAM would be the best political and military group through which Iran could gain power, prevent U.S. from establishing its hegemony and milit ary settlements, and help Iran in any possible Iran U.S. confrontation. In 2005, Iran began supplying arms to the JAM through the forces abroad (2008, p. 2). Moreover, I g of Shiite militias in Iraq had been in continuation of the U.S. ambitions, such as its aid to Lebanese Hezbollah and the Palestinian organization Hamas (2008, p. 3). For examp le, the U.S. officials had provided specific information on Qods Force and Hezbollah aid to the Iraqi Shiite militias, but without detailed number of the operatives. The Qods Force officers were not comb atant forces. Their main task was to

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1 12 identify Iraqi t rainees and create traffic route for weapon shipment into Iraq. In addition, in his report to the members and committees of Congress, Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs for the Congressional Research Service provided the following infor mation about the Iran support for armed groups : On February 11, 2007, U.S. military briefers in Baghdad provided what they said was specific evidence that Iran had supplied armor piercing en. EFPs have been responsible for over 200 U.S. combat deaths since 2003. In August 2007, Gen. Raymond Odierno, then the second in command and who in mid September 2008 will become overall commander in Iraq, said that Iran had supplied the Shiite militias with 122 millimeter mortars that are used to fire on the Green Zone in Baghdad. On August 28, 2008, the Washington Times reported that pro plosives, propelled by Iranian supplied 107 mm rockets. On July 2, 2007, Brig. Gen. Kevin Be r gner said that Lebanese Hezbollah was assisting the Qods Force in aiding Iraqi Shiite militias, adding that Iran gives about $3 million per month to these Iraqi mi litias. He based the statement on the March 2007 capture of former Sadr aide Qais Khazali and Lebanese Hezbollah operative Ali Musa Daqduq. They were allegedly involved in the January 2007 killing of five U.S. forces in Karbala. (2008, p. 3) To the above information can be added the testimony of General David Petr a e us on April 8

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113 radical and possibly breakaway elements of the JAM and to organize the ah (as cited in Katzman, 2008, p. 3) His testimony culminated in his briefing to the press on October 7, 2007 when Gen. Petraeus told journalists t Qomi, was himself a member of the Qods Force (Yates, 2007). Despite these revelations, nothing changed the Iranian policy toward the U.S. involvement in Iraq. Thus, the use of the armed groups against the U.S. f orces and any other threat to the Iran ian security and interests shows that the Iranian regional hegemonic policy not only was based on field operatives but was orchestrated by its high ranking officials with clear strategies in mind. The Isla mic governmen t of Iran considered the United States a serious threat to its regime and national security and interests. The Iranians were aware of the military power of the U.S and the impact that it would have if the Americans established permanent military bases in I raq. Permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq these reasons, Iran implemented political and military strategies to diminish and obstruct the U.S. military influence and p resence in the region. At the same time, in order to increase its influence in the region, Iran has also continued the modernization of the armed forces and the growth of its military arsenal. During an army parade on April 18, 2009, the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated that "The power of the Iran ian armed forces is at the service of the nations ... and will help to preserve the region's security and stability" (Dahl 2009).

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114 Chapter Eleven Conclusion and Policy Implications The case studies during the post Shah era is driven by its paramount need for survival and its quest for regional hegemony in the Middle East. There are no major policy differences between the e Iran we have seen throughout its history, and any state in the international community. Iran behaves like any other state in the international system. The Iran Iraq war revealed that both countries possessed signifi cant military capabilities that could h arm each other It was the shift in the balance of power favoring Iraq and its desire to become a regional hegemony that created the premises for Iraq to attack Iran. In addition, the attack enforced the assumption that states can never be certain about t he intentions of the other states, even after signing a greements like the 1975 Algiers Agreement Furthermore, I ran's ultimate ideology of survival dominated any other ideological predisposition. The need for survival led leaders of the Islamic Iran to ent er ing in secret negotiations with countries they considered the Great and the Small Satans These negotiations helped Iran increase its military capabilitie s in order to survive the Iraqi invasion. In addition, during the Russian Chechen conflict, Iran si ded with the Christian Russia and considered the conflic Iran calculated and feared that a support for its Muslim brothers in Chechnya would cause Russia to stop providing military assistance and military related technology that Iran so desperately needed. In

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115 addition, in supporting the Chechen separatist movement, Iran would inadvertently encourage the Azeri separatist m ovement in Northwestern Iran. Iran also feared that Russia in retaliation, would support the separatist movements i n Iran Thus, the main strategy leading the security and foreign policy of the Islamic Iran toward the Russian Chechen conflict was to enhance its military capabilities and to prevent any separatist movements across. The paramount goal leading to this str ategy was the survival of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its sovereignty and the ambition to become hegemony Moreover, during the Armenia Azerbaijan conflict, the Islamic Iran sided with the Christian Armenians rather than with its Muslim brothers in Azer baijan. This policy was due to Iran that the newly independent Republic of Azerbaijan could claim the rights over the Azeri province in the n orthern Iran, or what they called the Southern Azerbaijan In addition, Iran feared a possible involvement o f the neighboring states and of the U.S. in destabilizing and weakening Iran. Iran feared that Turkey might assume, under the support and blessing from the United States, the role that Iran had previously maintained in the Middle East during the Shah era. Finally Armenia its strategic partner, Russia. Finally during the U.S. invasion of Iraq, t he Islamic government of Iran launched strategies which aime d at diminishing and obstructing the U.S. military influence and presence in the region. Iran considered the United States a serious threat to its regime and national security and interests. The Iranians were aware of the military power of the U.S and the impact that it would have if the Americans established permanent military bases

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116 national security and interests in the region. Referring to the above case studies, we may realize that Iran sees the intentions of other states with deep suspicions. For example, Iran sees the U.S. foreign policy more as a threat to its regime survival rather than a behavior change. The Iranian past history of occupations from foreigner states especially the modern Iraq Iran war of 1980s, make international system of politics, survival through self help is all what matters. The ultimate ideology of surviva l is superior to any other ideology. Iran also believes that in order to survive, a state should have formidable military capabilities and endeavor to shift the balance of power bas ed on its interests. The nuclear program would give Iran a regional hegemon ic status, ensured survival, deterrence power, and bargaining power over regional and global matters. Thus, Iran is no t different from other states within the international system. It bases its security and foreign policy o n a rational choice analysis. H owever, Iran should be aware of constraints that the international system puts on it s behavior Iran should also be aware of the fact that U.S and Russia behave the same way as Iran does. Thus, neither U.S. nor Russia would accept a nuclear Iran. A nuclear Iran would challenge the U.S. interests in the region and would seriously jeopardize the territorial security of its neighboring Russia. In order to prevail, Iran should implement certain policies that would allow it to reach its goals. Having put the int ernational community and the U.S. policy in an uncertain position, the Iranian government should se nd a message to the global community indicating that it is willing to cooperate and talk about its nuclear activity. In addition, seeing that the Nonprolifer ation Treaty (NPT) does not prohibit Iran from pursuing nuclear capability

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117 for economic purpose, it is imperative for Iran to lower its rhetoric against the state of Israel and focus on the legal aspect of its nuclear activity. Iran has to realize that the re is no great power in the international system that would accept another nuclear power. Thus, is should aim at building its nuclear capability, while the others will try to stop this from happening. However, Iran should not push too hard for this goal be cause it may risk an attack from U.S. and other powers. Israel also would be in alert and willing to take unilateral actions against Iran in case of a perceived and imminent threat. The best way for Iran to pursue its goal is to use the current balance of power to achieve its goal. This means that Iran may use its policy to have other powers confronting each other. For example, Iran may find a way or a strategy to put Russia, China, and U.S. in different positions and pursuing different interests, while no t ignoring the influence of other states in the region. This will make them reach no consensus over activity would be very unfortunate for Iran. In addition, Iran should pursue a regional policy of cooperation with other countries in the region. It should not publicly call for the Iran may also continue the use of the bait and bleed and bloodl etting strategies of gaining power. Iran must also be careful that its strategies do not compromise or jeopardize its domestic base of support. Regarding the American, Israeli, Russia n approach toward Iran, it is imperative to understand and assume that I regional hegemony and build a nuclear arsenal. In confronting Iran, U.S. should be cautious to not fall in the trap of the

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118 should provide inc entives for the engagement of the international community in Middle East issues. One particular strategy should focus on dealing with a productive engagement of great powers like Russia and China. The goal is to use the United Nation (through the Security Council) as the main actor dealing with Iran. U.S. should emphasize concerns about the Iranian nuclear activity and provide benefits for these powers in case they succeed in stopping Iran. In addition, U.S. should use r egional states to force Iran stop it s nuclear activity. It should emphasize that a nuclear Iran is a threat to all states in the region. The best strategy would be the formation of an anti nuclear Iran regional coalition. Finally, U.S. should use the domestic factions in Iran to gain more in telligence and to decelerate the pace of the nuclear activity. One example is the decision of the European Union to take the jahideen Organization (PMOI) of Iran off the list of terrorist organization and unfreeze its assets. As staunch opponent of the Iranian theocratic regime, PMOI has promised to provide (and has provided) intelligence regarding the both U.S. and Iran will not abandon their paramount goals. Iran will not stop pursuing its ultimate ideology of survival and the need (quest) to be a regional hegemony U.S. just cannot accept a regional hegemony in the Middle East that would threatened its regional and global status. Meanwhile Russia will suppo rt Iran to that extent that Iran itself does not become a threat to the security and interests of Russia. Russia will continue to provide nuclear support to Iran as a way to challenge the U.S. interests in the Middle East, but it will never allow Iran to h ave a nuclear weapon. Facing U.S. and Russia, Iran should play the role that it once played with Russia and Great Britain in the nineteenth

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119 century Meanwhile, Iran should be cautious to not promote policies that would cause U.S. and Russia to cooperate wi th each other

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