Why Protests won’t Change Iran’s Foreign Policy

By Hamidreza Azizi for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

While the recent unrest in Iran has eased, discussion on its various aspects — including its causes and implications — is still heated and ongoing among domestic as well as foreign analysts and observers. One important part of the debate about the reasons behind the protests is what some refer to as the “foreign policy angle.”

The argument is that slogans such as “Leave Syria alone, think about us,” which were heard during the protests in Tehran and other cities, is a representation of the Iranian people’s discontent over the direction of the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy, and especially the level of its involvement in regional crises.

As such, the reading is that Iranians are urging the government to adopt a more inward view, redirecting its financial sources toward satisfying their economic needs.

This has caused some observers as well politicians around the world to speak of the possibility, or even the inevitability, of a shift in Iran’s foreign policy and especially in the Middle East. US President Donald Trump was among the most vocal supporters of this idea, depicting the Iranian people’s assumed discontent over foreign policy as one of the most important motives behind the protests.

Some Arab officials also took the opportunity to condemn Iran’s regional policy. In this vein, speculations have been raised about the recent unrest’s possible implications for Iran’s regional policy and whether this would lead Iran to reduce its involvement in the region.

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