In two article-length contributions recently published in a special issue of the International Politics journal, Dr Terhalle offers theoretical and historical answers to concerns related to Iran’s foreign policy and its future relations with the Western world. He assembled a group of world-leading scholars – including Robert Jervis, Columbia University, Louise Fawcett, University of Oxford, and Arthur Stein, University of California – to explore the trajectory of Iran’s medium- to long-term foreign policy.
“After some ten years of studying Iran’s role in international politics, I realised that Supreme Leader Khamenei’s recent concessions represent a fundamental change from his previously unyielding anti-Western policies,” said Dr Terhalle. “Nonetheless, I caution against the view that Iran’s yielding to international sanctions will necessarily have predictable implications – for example, Iran is not likely to turn into a capitalist democracy any time soon. Iran will not change its anti-US and anti-Israel policies, especially in the light of continued US support for the Jewish state.
“If the West is searching for indications of a more substantive ideological change in Iran’s world-view, a more reliable sign would be an end to its support of Syria and Hezbollah against Israel – after the current realpolitik-based alliance with the USA against ISIS – and a reconciliation of its tensions with Saudi Arabia over hegemony in the Gulf region.”
In the meantime, Dr Terhalle suggests the West should assume that Iran is searching for a whole-concept way of coping with a post-nuclear future and potentially adjusting to a new-look world.
“This realisation is connected to the undeniable and substantive changes that have occurred in the former ‘Third World’, of which Iran still believes it is leader,” added Dr Terhalle. “In reality, not only has this position been assumed by China but also the ‘Third World’ itself has undergone manifold divisions in political and economic terms.”
Dr Terhalle’s article, titled Why revolutionary states yield: International sanctions, regime survival and the security dilemma. The case of the Islamic Republic of Iran, can be found in the September special issue of International Politics (no. 52), published by Palgrave Macmillan.
Dr Terhalle is available for media inquiries/interviews concerning Iran, Syria, Russia and ISIS – please contact the Press Office at email@example.com or 01962 827678.