Status-Seeking and Iranian Foreign Policy: The Speeches of the President at the United Nations

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Vahid Noori
30 June 2012


One of the major manifestations of the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran under the Principlists is its significant changes, particularly in comparison to the eras of reconstruction and reform. This paper seeks to analyze the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in this period, utilizing the explanatory capacities of the social identity theory and the analytical concept of status-seeking. The main question of the paper concerns the main reasons behind the change in the foreign policy of Ahmadinejad’s government when compared to the governments in the reconstruction and reform eras. There are also some secondary questions: Can we consider a common ground for Iranian foreign policy in all these periods? What is the main difference between the foreign policy in the Principlist period and that of Ayatollah Hashemi and former President Khatami’s governments? The first secondary hypothesis argues that Iran has always been a status-seeking state in the regional and international systems. The second secondary hypothesis states that Ahmadinejad’s government’s foreign policy differed from the two preceding governments simply in its search for status-seeking strategy. The main hypothesis is that the perception of the policy-makers of this period concerning the failure of former governments to attain status goals, political purposes, and U.S. containment policy has been the main reason accounting for the revision of status-seeking strategy in the Principlist period.

Keywords: Foreign Policy, Islamic Republic of Iran, Ahmadinejad’s Government, Status-Seeking, Identity Management Strategies