Islamic Realpolitik: Two-level Iranian Foreign Policy

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Political Science

Publication Date



This essay examines the evolution of Iranian foreign policy on the 30th anniversary of the revolution. Iranian foreign policy operates on two levels: domestic politics and international politics. Statements offered for domestic consumption can be given less attention than those remarks and actions at the international level. While religious rhetoric often billowed from Friday sermons, pragmatic policies driven by a basic understanding of realism generally determined foreign policy over the last thirty years. The United States and other countries dealing with Iran should understand Iran's national interests and find some common interests upon which to cooperate and reduce tensions, or they will face continued hostilities and failed policies. Any calls for a grand bargain should be rejected because this would be inconsistent with Iran's approach to foreign policy.


This article was originally published in International Journal on World Peace. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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International Journal on World Peace