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Iranians are now second generation revolutionaries and one might have expected that the country would have settled down into a clearly visible, if not well defined, development path, and that path would have helped carve its role and position in the international, and by extension the regional, system. But in the two decades since its 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has yet to decide what real role it will play on the international stage. The country’s growing geopolitical importance since the late 1990s and a tense regional setting have undermined this decision-making process.
Developments in the region and security turmoil seem to have had a direct effect on the domestic politics of the country, and so long as Iran sees itself as a beacon of resistance, it will not be able to chart an accommodating role, which in turn fuels tensions with its neighbours and the wider international community.
©2016 Anoush Ehteshami, Director of the HH Sheikh Nasser al-Sabah Research Programme ©2016