The Director of the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS), Mehran Kamrava, delivered a paper at the “Arab-Iranian Relations in the Gulf” symposium that took place the the W Hotel in Doha on December 2-3, 2012.
The two-day symposium was organized by the Forum for Arab and International Relations and the Cultural Village Foundation (Katara). The symposium tries to trace different factors that influenced this relationship, and speakers are researchers and specialists from the Arabic world, Iran and the West.
During his presentation, Kamrava argued that some three decades into the life of the Islamic Republic, the Iranian regime has yet to devise and implement a coherent national security policy or even a set of guidelines on which its regional and international security policies are based. In relation to the Persian Gulf region and the country’s immediate neighbors, this has resulted in the articulation of foreign and security policies that at times have seemed fluid, changeable and even inconsistent. The discrepancy between the appearances of Iranian policy and its substance is primarily a function of the populist rhetoric through which most Iranian political leaders, particularly President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, enunciate Tehran’s positions on various international and regional issues.
Kamrava argued, however, that the country’s foreign and national security policies, both in relation to Iran’s immediate neighborhood and in the larger global arena, are influenced far more by pragmatic, balance-of-power considerations than by ideological or supposedly “revolutionary” pursuits.