Iran: Illusion, Reality, and Interests
JOINT SPECIAL OPERATIONS UNIV MACDILL AFB FL
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Why does an Iranian leader make a sincere and, in Iran, widely held belief that the world owes us something How is the Iranian present connected to the Iranian and Persian past, and what does this mean for the future In these questions, one finds the frustrating reality of dealing with modern day Iran and the potential problems that this portends for the future. The primary purpose of this study is to provide a framework from which to analyze Iranian policies with a more strategic perspective. The goal is to integrate to the greatest degree possible Irans perceived interests into an overall calculation about regional conflict and stability. Past events have brought us to this juncture, and particularly, in the case of Iran, this connection between past and present with its implications for the future is undoubtedly the key to an understanding. Sir Percy Sykes, the longtime British resident in the Gulf, opened his History of Persia with a Persian proverb History is a mirror of the past, and a lesson for the present. He might well have added that it provides a guidepost for the future. In a region where the past is so much a part of the present, no countrys perception of itself and its role in the region is more colored by its past--contemporary, modern, medieval, and ancient--than Irans. Nor is any state in the Gulf region more acutely afflicted by a sense of being denied respect and its proper place in the region. Viewed through this prism of resentment and insecurity, Iranian policy becomes both more comprehensible and more predictable.
- Government and Political Science