International Politics

, Volume 52, Issue 5, pp 626–636 | Cite as

The attenuation of revolutionary foreign policy

  • Chad E Nelson
  • Arthur A Stein


Revolutions provide a new domestic order, and sometimes destabilize the international order by threatening to spread abroad. But these ideological implications attenuate as a function both of compromises by the revolutionary state and political stabilization in other countries. Eventually a modus vivendi is reached. Iran is a case in point. The Iranian Revolution established a theocratic state, and attempts were made to export revolution abroad at the same time as the new regime served as a beacon for opposition movements in other Arab states. But that revolutionary period is over. Iranian foreign policy is no longer revolutionary. Iran no longer serves as a model for opposition groups elsewhere, and although it still has a revisionist anti-Israel and anti-US policy, it no longer attempts to spread revolution abroad. Recent fears of Iran are driven by the threat of an expansion of Iranian power, rather than its challenge to the legitimacy of existing regimes.


revolution ideology foreign policy Iran 


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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceLos AngelesUSA

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