Nationalism is increasing in Iran


Ferhad Ibrahim

To person

Dr. phil. habil., born 1950; Associate professor at the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the Free University of Berlin.
Address: Free University of Berlin, Otto Suhr Institute, Ihnestr. 31, 14195 Berlin.
Email: [email protected]

Numerous publications on the politics and history of the Middle East.

Iran has succeeded in normalizing relations with its neighboring Arab states 25 years after the revolution. Iranian politics are no longer determined by revolutionary Islamic ambitions, but by tangible national interests.


25 years after the Iranian revolution, Iran’s relations with its Arab neighbors are once again approaching the patterns during the Pahlevi rule. Iran is trying to use the usual instruments of foreign policy to bring its influence to bear in the region - above all in relation to its direct neighbors on the Gulf. The export of the revolution, once the declared aim of Ayatollah Khomeini and his radical supporters, is history. A few years after the overthrow of Shah Reza Pahlevi, the revolution has also lost its luster in its country of origin. The repeated election victory of President Mohammed Khatami is an expression of the pursuit of normality. After the first turbulent years of the revolution, Iran is on the way to becoming a "normal" nation state. [1] The normality of the Iranian state does not mean, however, that the country can break away from the complicated web of relationships, obligations and entanglements with its neighboring Arab states.

In addition, Iran faces inherited regional problems such as border disputes. Beyond the interests of the Iranian nation-state, it must deal with the foreign policy legacy of Khomeinism. This includes the restoration of normal political and diplomatic relations with the states in the region, a more realistic attitude towards the Middle East conflict and the reorganization of relations with militant groups.

Iran's relationship with the United States does not play an insignificant role in bilateral relations with the Arab states. For one thing, US relations with Iran develop in the context of the dynamics of regional relations. On the other hand, the USA is trying to isolate Iran in the region in order to force it to make political concessions, as was the case with the Clinton administration's "dual containment" strategy.

In this article, Iran's relations with the Arab states are examined against the background of the interweaving of the Middle East in international politics. The aim is to highlight the extent to which regional relationships have an influence on the system in Tehran. Finally, the question to be examined is whether the "case" of Saddam Hussein changed Iranian politics, especially foreign policy.