The Doctrinal Foundations of Iran’s Geopolitical Project

EPC | 05 Feb 2015

Since 1979, Iran’s Islamic revolution has resumed the Safavid state project which has rebuilt the Iranian identity on a combination of selected Iranian national images and the Shiite doctrine. The revolution has consolidated a closed framework for the identity in the constitution. Thus the Islamic regime has failed to build a nation-state that takes in various religious, doctrinal and national components of society. At the same time, the Islamic revolution has led to a post-revolutionary regime whose state institutions are wrapped in missionary zeal. This duality has led to a contrast between the ideological boundaries of the revolution and the geographical boundaries of the Iranian state. In the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings, Iran lost among Sunni Arabs the soft power it had built through “resistance and opposition” due to its interference in the Syrian crisis. Iran resorted to escalating sectarian discourse to cement easily its Shiite centrality in the region. This paper is an inquiry into the Iranian strategic theorization for this centrality.

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