Iran's Foreign Policy in the Post-Soviet Era: Resisting the New International Order

Iran's Foreign Policy in the Post-Soviet Era: Resisting the New International Order

Iran's Foreign Policy in the Post-Soviet Era: Resisting the New International Order

Iran's Foreign Policy in the Post-Soviet Era: Resisting the New International Order


A comprehensive exploration of postrevolution Iranian foreign policy analyzes the country's relations with key nations and regions and the impact of both Iran's domestic situation and the developing global system.

• Presents documentation from many government sources, including Iranian and international organizations

• Offers a clear chronology of developments in relations with Iran and the evolution of Iranian foreign policy relative to each country/region surveyed

• Provides an extensive bibliography of original sources, government documents, academic publications, and websites


The Soviet Union’s dismantlement in December 1991, as a result of its own internal developments and without any direct outside interference, was the most significant development in global politics of the second half of the 20th century. The USSR’s demise fundamentally altered the character of the international political system and equations of power among its major players. However, the expectation of a post-Soviet system based on the hegemonic dominance of the United States has not been realized, although the United States still retains the greatest influence internationally.

The characteristics of the emerging international system still remain unclear and to a considerable degree undefined, although economic, political, and military trends point to a system with multiple centers of power. Similarly, despite the relative revival of socialism in parts of the world and, notwithstanding much talk of a looming clash of civilizations, the return to a sharply divided international system along ideological lines seems highly unlikely.

What has become quite clear, however, is that post-Soviet systemic developments have been detrimental to less powerful countries, albeit to varying degrees. For example, the elimination of the Cold War era zero-sum competition between the West and the Soviet bloc countries freed both sides in that conflict to intervene more boldly in other countries, including militarily. The U.S. war against Iraq in 1991, although occurring before the official end of the Soviet Union, as well as the Afghan and Iraq invasions of 2001 and 2003, respectively, would not have been possible during the height of the Cold War. Similarly, there has been a greater deal of international tolerance for turmoil in poor and powerless countries than could have been possible during the Cold War because the fear on the part of major powers that rivals might exploit that turmoil for their own ends has essentially disappeared.

While all less powerful countries have been negatively affected by the post-Soviet systemic changes, those in the proximity of the former USSR and those with hostile relations with the West have suffered most. Iran is the best example of this category of states. Even before the USSR’s official demise, changes in Soviet foreign policy had . . .

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