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Iran’s foreign policy towards the United States during the Khatami Presidency, 1997-2005


Partowazar, Baharak (2016) Iran’s foreign policy towards the United States during the Khatami Presidency, 1997-2005. Doctoral thesis, Universiti Putra Malaysia.


During World War II, Iran had a close relationship with the US. In 1952, Britain, the US and Mohammad Reza Shah planned a coup against Mohammad Mossadeq. They succeeded to remove Mosaddeq and consequently the relationship improved until 1979. After the Islamic Revolution, Iran-US relationship transformed into hostility. The initial objective of this study is to discuss the various relevant factors that influence Iran-US relationship over different periods of time and the reasons of conflict and hostility between these two countries. The second objective is to explain the changes of Khatami’s foreign policy compared to previous republic of Iran’s presidents, and the process of this evolution during his presidency. The last objective aims to identify the formal and informal factors that determine Iran’s foreign policy which has not been fully investigated in the literature. Moreover, the detente policy, dialogue among civilizations and the reasons that Khatami used them for his foreign policy are explained in detail. Data have been collected from various sources namely political articles, speeches and media reports on Khatami, Khamenei and other formal and informal decision makers such as The Guardian Council, Assembly of Experts, Expediency Council, Friday Prayer Speakers, and Military Leaders as supplementary sources. Due to sensitivity of this research, the researcher used speeches that are available from official newspaper archives such as Ettelaat and Reuters as well as official websites such as www.khamenei.ir and www.khatami.ir. Articles and books on formal and informal Iranian decision makers and their roles in foreign policy especially in relationship with the US were used as secondary data to support primary data gathered from speeches. Qualitative content analysis method is employed to interpret those data. The finding of this study revealed that Iran’s foreign policy is not only affected by formal powers, but also it is strongly affected by informal factors. Therefore, these groups interfered in Khatami’s foreign policy and strongly prevented him to develop relationship with US. To achieve this goal, these groups tried to create tension in both policies, and decreased Khatamis’ political power. Beside these factors, other external factors such as September 11 attacks, labeling Iran as “axis of evil” by George Bush, and United States’ attack to Iraq, led to strengthen Khatamis’s opponents in Iran. Furthermore, the finding revealed that two factors introduced Khatamies’ policy, namely Detente and dialogue among civilizations. The reasons for choosing these two criteria as main component of foreign policy were explained. This study implied that Mohammad Khatami worked hard to improve Iran’s standing among the international communities and provide the opportunity for Iran to avoid isolation and economic sanctions against the country. He developed relationship with the European countries and Persian Gulf States, however, he failed to improve the Iran-US relationship due to following reasons. Firstly, the US cooperation in the coup against Mohammad Mosaddeg damages the reputation of the US in Iran, because this coup was recognized as a setback to Iran’s political development and killed any chance for this country to develop into a democratic society. The Islamic government used the coup against Mohammad Mosaddeg to energize anti-American attitudes. Secondly, the hostage crisis which broke off the diplomatic relations between Iran and the US. In response US imposed serious sanctions against Iran. Thirdly, Iran’s foreign policy is very complicated phenomenon and formal and informal political structures compete to gain more power, wealth and benefit, as a result these structures interfered in foreign policy.

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Additional Metadata

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subject: Foreign relations
Subject: Iran - Foreign relations - United States
Call Number: FEM 2016 29
Chairman Supervisor: Jayum Anak Jawan, PhD
Divisions: Faculty of Human Ecology
Depositing User: Haridan Mohd Jais
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2019 03:09
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2019 03:09
URI: http://psasir.upm.edu.my/id/eprint/67350
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