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Iran's Foreign Policy: A Shifting Strategic Landscape

Iran's Foreign Policy: A Shifting Strategic Landscape Unlike Mohammad Khatami's liberal‐pragmatic vision or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's ideological‐populist stance, newly elected Iranian president Hassan Rouhani is bent on pursuing a centrist‐pragmatic agenda. His campaign platform reflected such a vision: Iran should engage in serious negotiations with the Western world, reduce regional conflict, and prioritize its economic recovery and the general well‐being of its people above its nuclear program. Will Rouhani be able to implement this vision, considering the structural, institutional and strategic barriers to his success? If his tenure in office is to be more successful than his predecessors’, his administration will have to tackle many problems, while providing the perspective and political flexibility necessary to break away from the futile approach of the past. Although it is difficult to foretell the nature of any radical strategic policy shift on Iran's part, it is clear that maintaining the status quo in U.S.‐Iran relations, which also reinforces Iran's international isolation, has lost its traction. The positive signals and overtures from Iran toward the United States in the early months of Rouhani's presidency have given reason for tempered optimism, demonstrating a rare willingness on the part of Iranian leaders to reach out to Washington. Presidents Rouhani and Obama exchanged http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Middle East Policy Wiley

Iran's Foreign Policy: A Shifting Strategic Landscape

Middle East Policy , Volume 20 (4) – Dec 1, 2013

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2013, Middle East Policy Council
ISSN
1061-1924
eISSN
1475-4967
DOI
10.1111/mepo.12052
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Unlike Mohammad Khatami's liberal‐pragmatic vision or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's ideological‐populist stance, newly elected Iranian president Hassan Rouhani is bent on pursuing a centrist‐pragmatic agenda. His campaign platform reflected such a vision: Iran should engage in serious negotiations with the Western world, reduce regional conflict, and prioritize its economic recovery and the general well‐being of its people above its nuclear program. Will Rouhani be able to implement this vision, considering the structural, institutional and strategic barriers to his success? If his tenure in office is to be more successful than his predecessors’, his administration will have to tackle many problems, while providing the perspective and political flexibility necessary to break away from the futile approach of the past. Although it is difficult to foretell the nature of any radical strategic policy shift on Iran's part, it is clear that maintaining the status quo in U.S.‐Iran relations, which also reinforces Iran's international isolation, has lost its traction. The positive signals and overtures from Iran toward the United States in the early months of Rouhani's presidency have given reason for tempered optimism, demonstrating a rare willingness on the part of Iranian leaders to reach out to Washington. Presidents Rouhani and Obama exchanged

Journal

Middle East PolicyWiley

Published: Dec 1, 2013

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