Sandra Peets (Tallinn University, Estonia) “Impact of State Identity on the Foreign Policy Making of Iran: An Analysis Based on the 2013-2015 Period of Nuclear Negotiations”


On 14 July 2015 Iran and the P5+1 countries (the US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany), along with the EU, announced the completion of a comprehensive nuclear agreement – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). During the negotiations, lasting from 2013-2015, the heads of the Iranian regime were engaged in an attempt to frame the process inside the “ideological red lines”. These are the deep seated identities rooted in the Iranian mindset, from which any deviation is unattainable. Those exchanges reveal the multiple identities contesting in Iranian foreign policy making. These are both the devices for validating and confining the foreign policy steps of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The study is based on constructivist assumptions and is founded on a methodological framework introduced by A. P. Tsygankov. The work does not aim to explain the formation of identity. However, the aim is to analyze the prevalent identities and their causes in Iranian foreign policy making today. Therefore, the results of the study are certainly not deterministic arguments. Rather, the understanding of different identities helps to make assertions of what is currently possible in the context of Iran’s foreign policy.