Why Protests won’t Change Iran’s Foreign Policy

At the same time, the ongoing diplomatic spat between Qatar on the one hand and Saudi Arabia and some other Arab countries on the other has left Sunni Arab countries unable to adopt a unified stance against the Islamic Republic. It has been reported that in contrast to other Arab states, the Qatari government instructed its media to adopt a low-profile stance regarding the unrest in Iran.

A similar gap has been visible in the West when it comes to the matter of how to react to the unrest. While the United States has been vocal in its support of the protests, the European Union avoided taking any strict stance against the Islamic Republic. Such a modest stance is indeed derived from Europe’s concern that the Trump administration may try to use the protests as a pretext to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal. Given that such a move could mean the full collapse of the landmark accord, the Europeans are understandably cautious about putting the result of years of intensive multilateral diplomacy at risk.

International relations scholars have found that the international system has over the past decade experienced a transitional period in which the roles of emerging powers in determining the global and regional equations has increased. In this vein, it should be noted that Iran enjoys close relations with two of these powers, namely Russia and China. When it comes to the Middle East, it now seems that the role of Russia as Iran’s close partner in Syria has made Moscow more sensitive than ever to any destabilizing factor within Iran that could potentially challenge the Kremlin’s shared plans with Tehran in the region.

The outcome of this is clear: Iran is more confident in pursuing its established goals in the region.

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