Department of International Relations, University of Tehran
The depth and extension of Iran’s controversial connections with its proxies have caught eyes and thoughts. While much ink has been spilled to Iran's regional policy, the majority of these analyses, either intuitively or deliberately, build their explanation on the so-called ‘Persian-Shia offensive intentions’. Conversely, the present paper seeks the roots of Iran's regional policy in its specific geography and history. From this perspective, Iran’s regional policy is inseparable from its geopolitical strategies. To shed light on these strategies, the paper begins with the rise of the Persian Achaemenes until the establishment of the Islamic Republic, focusing on major driving forces behind Iran’s regional policy and strategies. The paper elaborates on a foundational concept of ‘strategic loneliness’, as Iran’s permanent feature, by highlighting the country’s curse of geography and its long-standing historical insecurity. In following, it shows the consequential impact of Iran’s strategic loneliness for the country’s non-state foreign policymaking strategic connections with military non-state actors—in the containment of its regional enemies. The paper ultimately argues that while this policy has kept Iran’s national integrity and security while entrapped the country in a durable ‘geopolitical predicament’ and deepened regional crisis in the Middle East.