What paved the way for the establishment of the foreign policy of the Pahlavi dynasty in Iran? This paper seeks to analyze the phenomenon of the construction of the enemy image in the diplomatic history of Iran from 1798 to 1921 and assess its historical roots as it can be useful for the understanding of the attitudes of Iranian policy makers towards the West. The authors’ proposal is to explain the construction of enemy image in a historical context in the cognitive structure of Iranian political leaders towards the great powers in the 20th century until the advent of the Islamic Revolution in February 1979. In doing so, the authors have proposed the following hypothesis: With the continuation of Iran’s diplomatic relations with Western powers (Great Britain and Russia) under the Qajar dynasty in 1798, a process took shape which gradually led to the construction of an enemy image in the cognitive structure of future Iranian statesmen in the Pahlavi era, underpinning their political relationships with contemporary powers. The authors’ findings include the notion that the historical process in question under the Qajar Dynasty involved a combination of military domination, political influence and economic exploitation by the aforementioned powers.


Keywords: Iran, Diplomatic Relations, Qajars, Great Britain, Russia, Enemy Image