f_0019734_16810 - Understanding Irans Foreign Policy An...

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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 9, No. 1, Spring 2010 148 Understanding Iran’s Foreign Policy: An Application of Holistic Constructivism Mahdi Mohammad Nia * Abstract This article seeks to explain why Iranian foreign policy toward the western countries in general and The United States in particular even under the systemic pressures has remained relatively unchanged. To this end, the present article identifies the determinant factors affect Iranian foreign policy. Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iranian foreign and security policy has been dominated by a new set of revolutionary values and discourses. The author believes that the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran mostly is driven by its revolutionary values and ideological perspectives than the logic of nation states. To understand Iranian foreign behavior, one should try to understand the basic characteristics of the country’s normative and discursive structures. Hence, this article argues that due to the role of normative factors in constructing Iranian foreign policy, the Holistic constructivist approach is considered the most applicable theory for explaining the country’s foreign policy. Key words: constructivism, holistic constructivism, identity, social discourses, foreign policy. Introduction The Islamic Republic of Iran is a country with great strategic and geopolitical importance for international community. Iran is currently at the centre of a global
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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 9, No. 1, Spring 2010 149 push-and-pull because of its geo-strategic location and its relationship with regional and international players. Ideological and Islamic nature of 1979 Iranian revolution distinguishes it from other revolutions and movements throughout the world. The country’s foreign policy because of its normative and ideological dimensions is a complicated thing to understand. The author believes that rationalist approaches whether assume states as security-maximizer (neorealism, defensive realism), power-maximizer (offensive realism), influence-maximizer (neoclassical realism) or absolute gain-seeker (neoliberalism), are not sufficient to properly explain Iranian foreign and security behavior. Generally, rationalists view states as unitary rational actors which pursuing a rational choice perspective in foreign policy. From the rationalist perspective, the foreign policy of states considered as the result of cost-benefit and means-ends analysis aims at maximizing security and power in international relations. Rationalists make a motivational assumption that since states are power – seeking, security-seeking , or influence seeking actors they have be to egoistic and self-regarding actors (vs. other-regarding) which trying to “maximize”(offensive realism) or “guarantee” (defensive realism) their situations in the international relations. As Kenneth Waltz –a leading neorealist scholar-argues, in an anarchical
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f_0019734_16810 - Understanding Irans Foreign Policy An...

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