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Independence without Freedom

Iran's Foreign Policy

R. K. Ramazani

Publication Year: 2013

Ruhi Ramazani is widely considered the dean of Iranian foreign policy study, having spent the past sixty years studying and writing about the country's international relations. In Independence without Freedom, Ramazani draws together twenty of his most insightful and important articles and book chapters, with a new introduction and afterword, which taken together offer compelling evidence that the United States and Iran will not go to war.

The volume’s introduction outlines the origins of Ramazani’s early interest in Iran’s international role, which can be traced to the crushing effects of World War II on the country and Iran’s historic decision to free its oil industry from the British Empire. In the afterword, he discusses the reasons behind America’s poor understanding of Iranian foreign policy, articulates the fundamentals of his own approach to the study of Iran—including the nuclear dispute—and describes the major instruments behind Iran’s foreign efforts. Independence without Freedom will serve as a crucial resource for anyone interested in the factors and forces that drive Iranian behavior in world politics.

Published by: University of Virginia Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-6


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-12

I would like to thank Ms. Lillian Frost, a scholar in her own right, for her unstinting and indispensable help in preparing this volume. It has been an enormously challenging task, particularly considering the condition of my health, which has limited my ability to contribute to the publication...

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pp. 1-6

The concluding essay in this volume points out that since its revolution in 1979 Iran has effectively resisted any major power intrusion into its decision-making process. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, felt the need to declare to the world the ideals of the...

Part I. The Shah and Khomeini Revolutions

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pp. 7-20

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“Church” and State in Modernizing Society: The Case of Iran

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pp. 9-15

After nearly ten years of political quietism and apparent political stability, antigovernment riots broke out in Iran early in June 1963. The riots were not incited by the supporters of Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh, whose government had been overthrown by the “Royalists” nearly ten years before....

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Iran’s “White Revolution”: A Study in Political Development

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pp. 16-32

Iran is entering the second decade of its “White Revolution.” The Shah has set forth his own account of it,1 but the scholarly community has, as yet, made no serious attempt at analyzing it.2 This omission is glaring regardless of justifi cations. It is, in fact, an omission that verges on scholarly neglect...

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Iran’s Revolution: Patterns, Problems, and Prospects

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pp. 33-49

The global repercussions of the Iranian Revolution continue. All around the world the revolution produces almost daily headlines referring to the tensions, strains, uncertainties, and confl icts that it exhibits at the local, regional, and international levels. The increasingly polarized domestic politics of...

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Who Lost America?: The Case of Iran

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pp. 50-67

Whatever the reason for any puzzlement over the title of this essay may be, I hope to challenge it. We Americans are accustomed to asking, “Who lost Iran?” as in the past we have asked, “Who lost China?,” “Who lost Indochina?,” “Who lost Nicaragua?,” and as in the future we may ask, for example,...

Part II. Revolutionary Foreign Policies

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pp. 69-82

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Khomeini’s Islam in Iran’s Foreign Policy

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pp. 71-93

The “Islamic Republic of Iran” celebrated its third anniversary on April 1, 1982. The Iranian Revolution has gone through three major stages of development in three years and is still evolving. It has been marked by international crises and war with other states, as well as by domestic political chaos,...

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Iran: Burying the Hatchet

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pp. 94-110

Today’s wisdom may be tomorrow’s folly, unless political leaders are able to combine their current imperatives with foresight. For the past halfdozen years American foreign policy has aimed at containing revolutionary Iran and has been based on the conviction that an Iranian victory in its war with Iraq...

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Iran’s Foreign Policy: Contending Orientations

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pp. 111-127

An entire decade of cold war and nearly a year of sporadic armed skirmishes between Tehran and Washington have not led to a better U.S. understanding of revolutionary Iran’s foreign policy. Academic discussion has helped, but not enough. Two dominant analytical tendencies have impeded a...

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Iran’s Export of the Revolution: Its Politics, Ends, and Means

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pp. 128-147

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s imposition of a death sentence on Salman Rushdie ignited a new global crisis. The move demonstrated that Iran’s underlying commitment to “the export of the revolution” (sodour-e enqelab) was alive and well. It also demonstrated that an assessment of the relative impact of...

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The Shifting Premise of Iran’s Foreign Policy: Toward a Democratic Peace?

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pp. 148-159

The all-important foreign-policy component of Iranian president Mohammad Khatami’s election has been universally overlooked, partly because of the reformist rhetoric of his election campaign. This essay argues that the pivotal synergy in President Khatami’s worldview between reforms at home...

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Reflections on Iran’s Foreign Policy: Defining the “National Interest”

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pp. 160-183

One of the most crucial intellectual challenges facing Iran as it enters the third decade of its revolution, I would argue, is how it will define its “national interests” (manafa-e melli). Five years before the eruption of the Iranian Revolution, I asked a similar question at the conclusion of a two-volume...

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Ideology and Pragmatism in Iran’s Foreign Policy

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pp. 184-195

This essay hypothesizes that the tension between religious ideology and pragmatism has persisted throughout Iranian history. The Iranian Revolution simply put it on graphic display in the contemporary period. The essay also suggests that the dynamic processes of cultural maturation seem to be shifting...

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Reflections on Iran’s Foreign Policy: Spiritual Pragmatism

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pp. 196-211

Pragmatism is conventionally viewed as the opposite of principle, whether religious, moral, or ideological. The gradual evolution of Iranian foreign policy since the Iranian Revolution, however, demonstrates that foreign policy makers have aspired to create a hybrid of pragmatism and spirituality....

Part III. Security in the Persian Gulf

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pp. 213-226

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Security in the Persian Gulf

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pp. 215-228

Who should maintain the future security of the Persian Gulf? This question looms large in the minds of policymakers in the United States, Western Europe, Japan, and, of course, the Persian Gulf states. The fact that this question is raised with a deep sense of urgency in numerous capitals of the...

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The Strait of Hormuz: The Global Chokepoint

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pp. 229-239

Ensuring the uninterrupted flow of Persian Gulf oil to world markets through the Strait of Hormuz is an economic, a political, and a strategic imperative. Yet fears and suspicions as to how this basic goal might be achieved tend to complicate both the identification of the problems involved and the proposals...

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Shiism in the Persian Gulf

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pp. 240-262

The world’s oil heartland also happens to be the Shii heartland. Out of an estimated 750 million Muslims in the world, about 11 percent are Shia. More than half of them are Twelver or Imami Shia who live in the Persian Gulf region, as majorities of the citizen populations in Bahrain, Iran, and Iraq and as...

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Sociopolitical Change in the Gulf: A Climate for Terrorism?

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pp. 263-284

In no other region of the world has the onslaught on American life, liberty, and property taken a greater toll in recent years than in the Middle East.1 The region as a whole has become the global hotbed of terrorism. By the end of 1985, the Middle East accounted for 45 percent of the world’s terrorist attacks,...

Part IV. International Law and Diplomacy

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pp. 285-298

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Who Started the Iraq-Iran War?: A Commentary

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pp. 287-306

Since Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990, the international legal community has rightly condemned Iraq’s aggressive use of military force against its neighboring sovereign state of Kuwait. Considerable discussion has followed about appropriate legal consequences, including sanctions, reparations..

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Iran’s Hostage Crisis: International Legitimacy Matters

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pp. 307-316

A quarter-century ago revolutionary Iran took over the American Embassy in Tehran and held fifty-two Americans hostage for 444 days—a crisis that has cast a long shadow on Iranian foreign-policy behavior. A quartercentury later U.S. hostility toward Iran continues. Whatever else might be said...

Part V. The Shah and Israel, Khatami and Bush

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pp. 317-330

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Iran and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

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pp. 319-334

How does one try to explain Iran’s policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict? This is not a rhetorical question. The presumption that the “real nature” of Iran’s behavior in respect to the Arab-Israeli conflict is enigmatic persists stubbornly. The so-called enigma is partly because of the paucity of information...

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Iran, Democracy, and the United States

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pp. 335-352

While the Bush administration includes Iran in its “axis of evil,” the Iranian people see this designation as a threat to Iran’s historical pro- democracy movement. Decades of mutual vilifi cation between Iran and the United States predated President Bush’s moralistic identification of Iran as evil. The hostility...

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pp. 353-358

A better American understanding of Iran’s foreign-policy behavior is necessary because the United States has to deal with Iran, whether monarchical or revolutionary republic and whether the American administration is Republican or Democratic. The Obama administration has said no to the opponents...

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Appendix: The Role of Iran in the New Millennium—A View from the Outside

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pp. 359-364

When I was invited to speak about the role of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the new millennium in fifteen minutes, I said that I am no academic astrologer, but agreed to think it over for a few days before accepting. I thought because I have tried for half a century to deepen Western understanding of Iran by teaching...


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pp. 365-383

E-ISBN-13: 9780813934990
E-ISBN-10: 0813934990
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813934983
Print-ISBN-10: 0813934982

Page Count: 400
Publication Year: 2013