Iran: Foreign Policy & Khamenei’s Power

International Relations

Iran: Foreign Policy & Khamenei’s Power

Abstract:
This paper tests the theory that there is a direct link between Iran’s foreign policy and Ayatollah Khamenei’s domestic power using an analysis of both foreign and domestic politics during the three post-Khomeini presidents: Rafsanjani, Khatami, and Ahmadinejad. This analysis shows that there is a direct link between the two variables, when Khamenei is weak Iran’s foreign policy has been more pragmatic, and during times of strength and consolidation, Iran’s foreign policy has been more aggressive. The question of causation however, remains unanswered. The paper closes with a discussion of potential U.S. policy options and suggestions for further research into the problem.

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