The Role of Geopolitical Factors in the Emergence of Iranian Realism

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant professor of political geography, Faculty of geography, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant professor of political sciences, Islamic Azad University, Shoushtar Branch, Shoushtar, Iran


This research analyzes the impacts of social and geopolitical factors on the emergence of Iranian realism over the past four decades. These factors are including the historical roots of insecurity in Iran, the regional geopolitical position of Iran, the geography of the Iran-Iraq War, the hostility of Americans and Israelis against Iran. Iranian realism has influenced the evolution of domestic and geopolitical realities and challenges of regional and international geopolitical and national interests in the pursuit of pragmatism. The seventh and eighth and eleventh governments of IRI have continued to engage with the world and domestic and foreign policy behavior was on this basis. In order to achieve national goals and interests in the international arena, this approach was continued and  largely succeeded. Historically, Iran's position on the crossroads has caused concerns of national security. Territorial and geographical location has always been able to shake the resolution. This is a historical problem. Several factors during the Islamic Republic government and the attitude of realism in the conduct of foreign relations and its international direction are the components of the geographical, historical, geopolitical and geo-political functions.
The importance of this study in the current situation is to use an analogy of a large-scale national macro-oriented approach using analytical and descriptive method. In this study, we have gathered library information and documents including important and reliable external and internal resources on history, political geography, geopolitics, international relations, political science, sociology, and history. This broad approach will be used to prove and show how the components of the intellectual and cultural, historical, geographical, and geopolitical realism are effective on shaping the status of Iran.
Results and discussion
It seems that Iran has been attacked abroad for 2500 years because of its geographical location. Territorial and national security as their most important concern due to the geographical location  is fixed in this area and unsafe and risky. This is always able to solve the problems of historical political elite and the government. The unstable security situation in the country remained mainly four times thus far spent in fear and trembling. Despite of regional geopolitical environment of Iran in the economic field as well as the threats and shaky economic activity, the goals of the enemies failed. One component of the international behavior of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and attitude of realism in foreign policy is geographical location and political geography of Iran. War was not only an end to the cynical attitude, but different aspects of land issues and the necessity of the national territory and its components as a constant and fundamental factors represent that future wars will emerge on the field and the grounds for the revival of the national geographic realists in the country. Based on the enduring nature of geography, the factors such as geopolitical conflicts, the breadth of the national territory, sizes, shapes and dimensions of the borders and the population are the characteristics of power and national security. These can contribute effectively to the issue of Iran's realism. It seems that Iran is surrounded by four security environments: Persian Gulf, Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus and Southwest Asia. With these areas, threats and challenges to security of Iran can better be understood. Each of the areas has its own problems in the environmental decision-making with influence of Iran.
The Islamic Revolution and the imposed war led to the emergence of idealistic and revolutionary ideas in Iran. Iran during this period was consistent with geographical iron law of politics. In this period, geographic sustainable elements in Iran's foreign policy was more than ever before. Ubiquity of America and its regional ally Israel in adjacent territories, the consequences of this presence and influence in the region such as Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq, and finally, the expansion of cross-regional institutions such as NATO's political and military impacts in the region, as well as an understanding of the requirements and demands of the security environment has a direct impact on the Iranian realism and regional approaches in its foreign relations. Iran's nuclear activities and deviations in the state of the laws and regulations of the NPT led to sanctions on Iran by the Security Council and issued four resolutions and deadlock for all economic activities, production, export and purchase of foreign products and complete cessation of bank activity with the outside world (Swift). All these events made the government to have a better understanding and a more rational behavior of this Iranian rationality and realism in diplomacy and foreign behavior. It is one of the most important factors of national power that can accelerate development and enforce Iran in the face of challenges and international surrounding. Finally, the Iranian realistic approach in this era of environmental conditions in local, regional and international fields are continued to this day and to the evolution of Iranian rationality, social conscience and political wisdom of nations with realistic government informed choice during about 30 years.


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Volume 50, Issue 2
July 2018
Pages 491-511
  • Receive Date: 06 December 2015
  • Revise Date: 30 January 2018
  • Accept Date: 30 January 2018
  • First Publish Date: 22 June 2018