The Arab Revolutions have resulted in a shift in the nature of Iran’s regional policy from a traditional “reconciliation and resistance” approach to a “regional cooperation” approach. The new approach aims to strike a balance between strengthening cooperation with states in the region and containing threats through maintaining traditional relations with ideological movements. As a result, a new kind of pragmatism has emerged in Iran’s regional policy. Prior to the Arab Revolutions, Iran was only able to enhance its role and project influence in the region through establishing close relations with the Arab Street and Islamist movements such as Hezbollah and Hamas. Of course, the establishment of a Shiitemajority government in Iraq and its closer relations with Iran was a turning point. But with the Arab Revolutions and the emergence of new nationalist-Islamist governments, such as that of Egypt, which seek an independent and active role in regional issues, an opportunity has emerged for Iran to simultaneously establish close relations with these Arab states.
Discourse: An Iranian Quarterly,Vol. 10, Nos. 3-4, Summer-Fall 2012.
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