Iran's re-emergence as a significant regional power is not likely to result any time soon in a fundamental shift in its post-1979 foreign policyby Andrew Hammond / November 4, 2015 / Leave a comment
This Wednesday marks the first anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran since Iran’s landmark nuclear deal in July with world powers, including China, Russia and the United States. Some three and a half decades after the US hostage crisis began, Tehran is reasserting itself significantly more forcefully on the international stage following years of international estrangement.
However, it remains unclear exactly what course the country will chart as it opens itself up more to the world, and the degree to which influential conservatives in Iran might thwart the greater engagement desired by the Rouhani government. Tehran’s choices will have a major impact not just politically, but also economically, as it potentially transforms into what some assert is a nascent Middle Eastern superpower.
The latest sign of thawing in Iran’s former diplomatic and economic isolation came last Friday when Foreign Minister Javad Zarif joined, for the first time, multi-country talks to try to bring resolution to the Syrian crisis. The change in US policy concerning Tehran’s involvement in the discussions is a political dividend of the Summer’s nuclear agreement. Although some powers, especially Saudi Arabia, resent Iran being given a seat at the table, it is increasingly acknowledged internationally that Tehran is key to any eventual political deal given its staunch support for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.