The Strategic Meaning of Compromise With Iran

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Looking to the Middle East from a strategic perspective, nothing would be the same following the historic peace between Iran and the international community concerning Iran’s nuclear policies. Since the coming to power of the theocratic regime in Iran in 1979, Iran’s regional policy in the Middle East seems to have been based on the twin pillars of ideology and power. On the one hand Iran’s new rulers ascribed an ideological and identity related function to their county in the sense of promoting Iran’s revolutionary sprit across the region with a particular emphasis put on spreading the Shiite ideology. For long, Iran has remained more as an ideology and idea than as a state. On the other hand, the mullah regime, inheriting an imperial legacy and sitting on a priceless geopolitical location wanted to make sure that Iran never be encircled by enemies and Iran’s ability to resist external challenges remain strong. 


Despite the fact that Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear technology date back to the Shah era, the new rulers of the country adopted a strategic approach vis-à-vis this technology and pursed the so-called nuclearization policy with a view to strengthening Iran’s material capability to resist external challenges. Being short on conventional military capabilities and suffering under the harsh terms of economic and military sanctions by the western powers following regime change in 1979, acquiring the nuclear technology and possibly developing nuclear weapons would likely compensate Iran’s strategic weaknesses.


Rather than welcoming the theocratic regime, the US-led western international community defined it as a principal challenge to its strategic primacy in the Middle East and consequently adopted some measures to help contain it. Strong Western support to Iraq during the eight-year long first Gulf War, the adoption of the double-containment policy during the 1990s, and the incorporation of Iran into the axis of evil by the Bush presidency in the post 9-11 era can all be seen as particular western initiatives to help suffocate the regime in Tehran.


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