Iran, the US & Persian Gulf

Despite current tensions, cooperation between Tehran and Washington is possible.

Iran, the US, and the Persian Gulf

By Sina Azodi

Iran has one of the longest and subtlest traditions of statehood in the Middle East. Its vast territory once encompassed the modern Caucuses, India, and even modern Egypt. Because of its location between the spheres of influence of constantly changing superpowers and possession of natural resources, Iran has constantly suffered from foreign intervention in its political and security affairs. As a result, Iran finds itself insecure, xenophobic, and the victim of foreign powers’ manipulations. On the other hand, Iran by the virtue of its size, population, natural resources, and geography strives to assert its powers in the Persian Gulf. These conflicting factors shaped the foreign policies of the late Shah of Iran, and continue to influence those of the Islamic Republic.

However, while the Shah sought to revive the “Persian Empire” by a strategic alliance with the United States, the Islamic Republic has charted an independent course, often undermining American interests in the Persian Gulf. The security of this body of water is pivotal to Iran’s security, stability, and long-term economic growth. However, despite significant differences, a tolerable coexistence between the Islamic Republic and the United States is viable.

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