After Khomeini: New Directions in Iran's Foreign Policy

By K. L. Afrasiabi | Go to book overview

2
Iran and the Kuwait Crisis

Introduction

On the surface, Iran's behavior during the Kuwait crisis ( 1990-1991) appears as straightforward and relatively easy to comprehend: The Islamic Republic wisely insulated itself from the neighboring crisis, adopted a neutral stance, cooperated with the United Nations' resolutions aimed at reversing Iraq's conquest of Kuwait, and sought to take advantage of this crisis's "windfalls." According to the typical analyses of Iran's diplomacy in the course of this crisis, the anxieties of decision- making under the uncertainties of a fluid international crisis do not appear to have introduced any major headaches in clarifying Iran's policy option and choices of how to position itself vis-à-vis the protagonists of both sides in the crisis. Furthermore, it is often argued by various analysts that Iran emerged as a "clear winner" of the crisis by virtue of its leadership's shrewd diplomacy of "staying on the sideline" while their Iraqi nemesis was being crushed by the Western superpower and its allies. Indeed, reference to Iran's diplomacy in this crisis as "prudent" and as "highly successful" has become an article of faith among the experts. 1 But do such characterizations stand the weight of critical scrutiny?

In the following pages, our inquiry into this question will demonstrate the need to amend these happy prognostications of Iranian diplomacy, focusing on Iran's tactics and strategies, the interplay of dual leadership and the strategic concerns, and the tensions and dilemmas of Iranian actions which chewed away a great deal of Iran's much talked about crisis "windfalls." Contrary to the simplistic diagnoses of Iranian behavior aforementioned, our inquiry leads us to believe that there was nothing straightforward about any of Iran's reactions to this crisis and that, far from it, a complicated web of tactical and strategic actions characterized the Iranian behavior. Untangling this web under our

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After Khomeini: New Directions in Iran's Foreign Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 5
  • 1 - The Dynamics of Iran's Foreign Policy 9
  • Introduction: International Relations Theory and the Islamic Republic 9
  • Notes 41
  • 2 - Iran and the Kuwait Crisis 57
  • Introduction 57
  • Notes 77
  • 3 - The Making of a New Persian Gulf Policy 85
  • Introduction: A New Persian Gulf Configuration 85
  • Notes 108
  • 4 - The Making of Iran's Central Asia-Caucasus Policy 117
  • Introduction 117
  • Notes 145
  • 5 - Iran and the Passages to the Post-Cold War Era 153
  • Introduction 153
  • Notes 187
  • 6 - Future of Iran's Foreign Policy: Agendas for Adjustment 201
  • Introduction: Iran as an International Power 201
  • Notes 211
  • Selected Bibliography 219
  • About the Book and Author 233
  • Index 235
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