Iran makes it to the list of countries that could impact the world’s future not because of the size of its economy but because it is reentering the world at a critical time. For three and a half decades, it chose to isolate itself from the world. When the Islamists took over the reins of government in 1979 after having deposed Emperor Reza Shah Pahlavi, the clerics feared that their revolution would become contaminated by staying open to the world. The new governing elite—the ayatollahs—were suspicious of the intentions of the West towards Iran. History weighed heavily on their thinking. After all, both Britain and the United States had been active in Iran throughout most of the twentieth century, choosing who ruled the country. By 2015, when Tehran signed an accord with the world’s six largest powers that curtailed its ambition to develop a nuclear bomb, it was poised to reenter the world and play an important role in reshaping the Middle East and Muslim countries in the western part of the Asian continent.
- Saudi Arabia
- Middle East
- Nuclear Weapon
- Arab World
- Gulf Cooperation Council
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Daniel Twining, “Iran deal could undercut US pivot to Asia,” Nikkei Asian Review, July 16, 2015.
Roger Cohen, “The door to Iran opens,” The New York Times, July 16, 2015.
Thomas L. Friedman, “Obama makes his case on Iran Nuclear deal,” The New York Times, July 14, 2015.
Robin Wright, “Tehran’s promise: The revolution’s midlife crisis and the nuclear deal,” The New Yorker, July 27, 2015.
For a discussion of the increasing importance of the Shiite sect in world affairs, see Vali Nasr, The Shia Revival: How conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future, New York: W.W. Norton, 2007.
There is now a vast and rich literature on the war in Afghanistan. Of particular interest are the books by Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, New York: Penguin Books, 2004 and George Crile, Charlie Wilson’s War: The Extraordinary Story of How the Wildest Man in Congress and a Rogue CIA Agent Changed the History of Our Time, New York: Grove, 2007.
Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, New York: Crown Books, 2013.
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Burki, S.J. (2017). Iran’s Reentry into the World. In: Rising Powers and Global Governance. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-59815-8_7
Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, New York
Print ISBN: 978-1-349-94917-5
Online ISBN: 978-1-137-59815-8
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