The United States and Iran: Analyzing the Structural Impediments to a Rapprochement

Author/s: Robert S. Snyder
1st Edition Year: 2001
Edition: First edition
Language: English
Available Languages: العربية


The United States and Iran have had hostile relations for over two decades, yet there are some signs of a thaw. What are the prospects for a reconciliation between the two states? Although Washington and Tehran are likely to improve relations, certain structural impediments will probably keep the two from embracing each other as friends any time soon. An analysis of the breakdown in relations between the United States and a set of Third World revolutionary states (including Iran) found that these revolutionary states initiated conflicts with the United States largely for domestic reasons, and the United States deepened the antagonism because the foreign policies of these revolutionary states challenged Washington's Cold War's interests. With respect to a current rapprochement between Tehran and Washington, domestic politics still prevents Iran from seeking friendly ties with the United States, and Washington has likewise been hindered from changing its stance due to its rigid containment policies in the Gulf. This paper explores these structural impediments, focusing on Iran as a revolutionary state and the United States as the lone superpower. For Iran, a reconciliation would challenge the regime's theocratic institutions. For the United States, a rapprochement would require that Washington accept greater limits to its power in the Middle East.



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