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tjir5-3e - Iran and the New Iraq Security Challenges and...

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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 5, No.3, Fall 2006 77 Iran and the New Iraq: Security Challenges and Foreign Powers Kayhan Barzegar* The two major functions of each country’s foreign policy are establishing security and creating opportunities in the foreign arena. Assessing the extent of the success of a foreign policy is very much dependent upon the degree of the simultaneity and feasibility of the two aforementioned elements. Indisputably, the new Iraq is the most important ground where Iran’s foreign policy in terms of the above two functions can be put to test. Understanding the roots of Iran’s foreign policy in the new Iraq becomes important since the developments of the last two years in this country transgress the boundaries of bilateral relations and thence affect Iran’s interests both regionally and internationally. This paper aims at analyzing Iran’s foreign policy in the new Iraq on the basis of the necessity of regional order and Iran’s security concerns; the author maintains that Iran as both an independent power and a key regional player has legitimate security concerns which justify the country’s presence in the political arena of the new Iraq. The main argument advanced here is the view that Iran’s security challenges in the new Iraq is the result of Iran’s legitimate concerns in terms of establishing national security on the one hand and creating opportunities for it to walk out of geopolitical isolation and thus consolidate its credit and influence both regionally and internationally on the other. In other words, Iran’s foreign policy in the new Iraq has so far been defined upon eliminating security challenges caused by the new internal developments in Iraq and the presence of foreign intervening forces in the transition era. The success of Iran’s foreign policy depends upon its entering the second stage: the stage of creating opportunities to extend its natural credit and influence.
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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 5, No.3, Fall 2006 78 Iran’s Legitimate Security Concerns in the New Iraq Although the new Iraq is no longer a military threat as it used to be, it still contains the potentials to direct tension towards the domain of foreign policy in various aspects. Under the current circumstances, Iraq poses challenges to Iran’s interests domestically, regionally, and internationally. Domestically, the challenges are caused by the rivalry of different ethnic and political fractions and the destructive impacts of instability, civil war, extremism, ethnic and religious divisions, and the probability of its disintegration. At a regional level, the challenges are due to the birth of a new Iraq with a different essence defining a new role and stance for itself in the regional security order. The international challenges are produced through the presence of the occupation forces in Iraq led by the Americans which has its own detrimental effects on Iran’s national interests.
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