The 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran resumed the project of the Safavid state which reconstructed the Iranian identity based on a combination of the Iranian inclination and the Shiite doctrine. Iran consolidated this project in its constitution and bestowed a missionary nature on the revolution. Therefore, in the wake of the revolution, the Iranian regime has taken the shape of duplicity between the institutions of the revolution and the state, as a reflection of this arrangement. This duplicity has produced a contrast between the ideological boundaries of the revolution and the geographical boundaries of the Iranian state. This has also been reflected by parallel Iranian foreign policies. The Iranian revolution adopted the theory of “Revolutionary Mahdism” which is focused on paving the way for the reappearance of the awaited Imam al Mahdi. In the early days of the revolution, the dissemination of the “Age of Appearance” ideology took place. Soon after, the theorists of the Iranian revolution adopted the theory of “Iran as the Center of the Muslim World” (Umm al Qura). When the vision of the Iranian regime matured through experimentation, the theorists of the regime adopted the theory of “Shiite Geopolitics” which is based on establishing a geopolitically-linked Shiite nation. Iran’s loss of its ‘soft power’ among Sunni Arabs in the wake of the Arab Spring has contributed in cementing the Iranian Shiite centrality. But this has embodied other impacts inside Iran such as the increasing number of Arab Shiites converts in Ahwaz to the Sunni doctrine, and the rise of Salafism among Baloch and Kurds, which deepens the crisis of the Iranian state. While regional and international political and research circles were debating an Iranian regional doctrinal project by focusing on the activities of the revolutionary institutions in several areas of the region, the Iranian regime kept denying the existence of such a project, saying that such talk is part of an “Iranophobia” or “Shiitephobia.” However, the personalities who discussed the Iranian project were content with following up on the activities of the Iranian regime and some of its statements, and at the same time, neglected the strategic theorization produced by the regime’s theorists on this project. This workshop aims to present an introspective understanding of this theorization through a detailed investigation of its original sources, in an attempt to examine the Iranian strategic theorization, and monitor real data which backs this theorization. In the current state of the world’s newfound openness towards Iran, we must draft scenarios for the integration of the Iranian regime into the international order, based on its willingness to make the necessary changes in its constitution and behavior.
Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates