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Dignity, Wisdom and Expediency: How Ideational Factors Shape Iran's Foreign Policy


The weight of ideational factors has always been felt in Iran’s foreign policy processes as it, often times, outweighs that of material factors in its strategic calculus. Since 1979, the revolutionary state identity has focused on keeping the country independent and shaped its foreign policy continuum of enmity and amity accordingly. As the centrepiece of Iran’s foreign policy enactment and framing, independence brought ideational factors into Iran’s foreign policy processes. A close look into the past four decades suggests that strategic proportionality – based on the three principles of dignity, wisdom and expediency – vis-à-vis rivals and foes directed much of Iran’s foreign policy conduct, connecting ideational and material factors.
Keywords: Iranian foreign policy; ideational factors; Iran’s Saudi policy; Iran-US relations; axis of resistance