You Know, Mr. Khomeini, You and I Aren’t So Different

Earlier this year, The Strategy Bridge asked university and professional military education students to participate in our first annual writing contest by sending us their thoughts on strategy.

Now, we are pleased to present one of the essays selected for honorable mention, from James Bryant of the United States National Defense University.

The present-day Islamic Republic of Iran and the former Imperial State of Iran are organized according to completely different political arrangements. The first is a theocratic regime, based upon the ideals of the Islamic revolution with an all-powerful clerical Supreme Leader. The second, the Imperial State, was a secular, absolute monarchy. The Shah’s Iran was a stable, respected power in a vital region. The Islamic Republic is an international pariah that openly flouts global norms. If one were to ask a member of the Iranian diaspora, a dissident or even a true revolutionary believer what the differences between the two are, each would tell you, for different reasons, that the two regimes are like night and day.

Political structures are important, but what of grand strategy? I argue that the Shah’s Iran and the Islamic Republic of Iran are very similar indeed in terms of aspiration. If we look at the ends and ways to expand or maintain influence, there are more similarities than differences. The main difference between the present and former regimes in Iran has to do with means. For the purposes of this examination, I will show that both the Shah’s Imperial State from the late 1960s into the 70s and the Islamic Republic from 1979 onward have pursued a goal of regional preeminence. Then, I will compare the ways that the two regimes attempted to pursue this goal. Finally, I will show the differing means between the two states.

The Iranian psyche has always had a tinge of cultural and civilizational superiority. Iranians will regale all those willing to listen with tales of their great Kings, first-ever world empire, poetry, and art. They will less cheerfully recount Iran’s conquest by the Arabs, nevertheless turning the story into a cause for cultural self-congratulation by reminding listeners that unlike other great Arab-subjugated civilizations, for example Egypt, Iranian culture and the Persian language have survived.

Hegemonic Desires

The Shah of Iran on the cover of TIME Magazine, 12 Sep 1960 (TIME)

It should come as no surprise that Iran’s grand strategy under both the Shah and the clerics of the Islamic Republic has been to be the preeminent power in the region. The Shah pushed the primacy of his nation forcefully beginning in the late 1960s. The departure of the British from the Persian Gulf (and the advent of the Nixon Doctrine) delivered a golden opportunity.[1] A declassified State Department document from 1977 describes the Shah as having “a consuming ambition to see his country socially advanced and militarily and economically strong-the predominant power in the region, able to deter his neighbors and possibly to dominate them should they stray from his preferred path.”[2]

Lyndon Johnson was unenthusiastic about Imperial Iran’s hegemonic ambitions, already visible during his tenure. He preferred to let Iran and Saudi Arabia balance each other and rely on Great Britain to keep the region stable and limit Soviet influence.[3] Nixon’s official strategy was the same, minus Britain. In practice, however, Iran’s power far exceeded that of the Saudis.

The Islamic Republic also has a grand strategic goal to become the preeminent power of the region, but it is less direct in the way it demonstrates its ambitions. The Shah was blatant in his view that Iran was the natural regional leader stating that “to be first in the Middle East is not enough. We must raise ourselves to the level of a great world power.”[4] The revolutionary message of the Islamic Republic has been far more circumspect in this regard. From the beginning, post-revolutionary Iran has presented itself as the anti-hegemon. Underneath its assertions of benign intent and commitment to championing the oppressed, though, Islamic Iran wants to recreate the region with itself at its center. In 2015, at a conference in Tehran about Iranian nationalism, culture and history, Ali Younesi, an advisor to current Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, stated, “We are protecting the interests of [all] the people in the region—because they are all Iran’s people. We must try to once again spread the banner of Islamic-Iranian unity and peace in the region. Iran must bear this responsibility, as it did in the past.”[5]

Way 1: Keeping the Great Powers Out

The first facet of Iranian regional preeminence is to keep stronger, extra-regional hegemonic powers out of the region. Luckily for the Shah, the British departure happened for reasons unrelated to Iran’s ambitions. The British drew down in 1971, largely due to budget cut-backs. The United States, heavily committed in Southeast Asia, and later exhausted by entanglements there, proffered the gift of absence and relative disinterest. The only credible threat to Iran was from its historical enemy, the Soviet Union, keen on gaining influence in the Persian Gulf.

The main worry of the Shah was that instability or a general war could give other great powers a pretext to reenter the region. According to an Imperial Iranian ambassador of the era, “We certainly could see the dangers of a Soviet presence in the Persian Gulf and definitely didn’t want that.”[6] Thus, the Shah was quick to nip regional instability in the bud.

Iranian troops prepare to deploy on Operation Nader, Christmas 1974. (Ian Buttenshaw/Defence in Depth)

The Dhofar War, also known as the Omani Civil War, is a prime example. Local disaffection and generous communist support (particularly from the People’s Republic of China) coalesced into an insurrection against the conservative monarchy of Oman. The Shah, seeing the double catastrophe of instability and a possible additional communist presence, took action, deploying over 15,000 troops from 1972-1979 in support of the Sultan of Oman.[7] His action proved effective, and together with the British he was able to prevent a Marxist takeover of the Gulf state and suppress the rebellion. When Pakistan’s Baluchis rose up against the government, the Shah offered early aid to Pakistan and stated he would not hesitate to invade if necessary to maintain order and stability.[8]

The Shah went beyond material aid and reassurances shortly after the 1969 Rabat Conference. At this conference, he had assured King Faisal of Saudi Arabia he would provide the Kingdom with whatever help was needed.[9] This did not turn out to be a mere boast. When the South Yemenis attacked Saudi Arabia, the Shah sent weapons to aid the Saudis and assured them they would have air support for future conflicts with South Yemen.[10]

The Islamic Republic did not have the Shah’s luck. Instability in the Middle East, arguably incited to some extent by the Iranian revolution, led to greater U.S. regional involvement. Iran’s revolutionary fervor necessitated that the U.S. be driven out of Iran. The nation was ambivalent toward the Soviet Union, on the one hand welcoming a counter to the U.S. and on the other fearing take-over by an old colonial power. Ultimately, Tehran made no overtures to gain a new patron or change alignment. Over the years, Iran has been relatively successful at keeping U.S. influence out of its borders, but it has not been successful at ejecting the U.S. and its proxy, Israel, from the region. This was not for lack of trying.

Hours after the Sunday, Oct. 23, 1983, bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, rescuers comb the wreckage for the wounded and dead. (Zouki/AP)

One of the earliest examples of Revolutionary Iran’s attempts to evict great powers from its perceived region was the 1983 Marine Corps barracks bombing in Beirut. Two truck bombs, financed by Iran but driven by Hezbollah operatives, detonated, killing 241 people, mostly American Marines. Iran sent a clear message of what it wanted through its proxies. This early action was also one of its most successful, as U.S. peacekeepers withdrew from Lebanon less than a year later. Since 1984, Iran has periodically taken opportunities to inflict blows against the U.S. presence in the region, albeit with far less success.

During the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, Arab powers, fearful that the Islamic Revolution would have spillover effects, mostly fell in behind Baathist Iraq. In order to discourage Arab support of the Iraqis, Iran resolved to cut off oil sales through the Persian Gulf. Using a combination of mining and fast-moving patrol craft, the Iranians harried oil tankers during the later years of the Iran-Iraq war. When Kuwait asked the U.S. to reflag Kuwaiti vessels as American, and further threatened to go to the Soviets for assistance if rejected, the U.S. accepted. The Iranians attempted to use the same small boat and mine laying tactics to force the U.S. to leave the region, believing them unwilling to pay a high price to remain.[11] This plan ultimately failed and ended in the almost total destruction of the Iranian navy by U.S. warships and aircraft.

Prior to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., Iran had two unfriendly, though mostly inept, neighbors: the Taliban and Baathist Iraq. This situation became far more threatening after the U.S. overthrow of both regimes. From Tehran’s point of view, a hostile hegemonic power now had forces on its southern flank in the Persian Gulf and its eastern and western borders. That Iran supplied its non-existential enemy, the Taliban, with weapons and training against its absolutely existential, sworn enemy, the U.S., is not surprising.[12] Even less surprising is Iran’s support to Shia militia groups in Iraq. Both of these tactics are in line with the overall strategy of ejecting hegemonic powers from the neighborhood.

Although Iran considers the U.S. its primary existential threat, the Islamic Republic views others with suspicion. In the summer of 2016, Russia was granted rights to use Hamadan Airbase in Iran to launch bombing sorties against the Syrian opposition. Russia touted this as deepening of relations, and was surprised when Iran reneged on the deal only a week later. Iran was clearly skittish about hosting a great power in the region, even one working for a common interest: preservation of Bashar Al Assad.

Way 2: Weaken Threats and Rivals

For the Shah, instability was something to be avoided, but there were exceptions. Insurrection elsewhere could prove useful to Iran’s power aspirations under the right circumstances. One such circumstance was the Kurdish uprising in northern Iraq. Saddam Hussein’s regime was aligned with the Soviet Union, had irredentist land claims, and was building its military power with Russian arms. For Iran, arresting Iraq’s growth as much as possible was important.

Iran did well in keeping Baathist Iraq busy. Iran twice tried unsuccessfully to overthrow the Iraqi government through sponsored coups in 1969 and 1970.[13] The most effective measure was Iran’s support to Iraqi Kurds, however, as fighting that insurgency tied up around 50 percent of the Iraqi army.[14] Not only did the Iranian regime supply the Kurds with arms, it further trained Peshmerga troops, some of them in Iranian military academies.[15] Iranian artillery positioned along the border would bombard Iraqi positions, and Iranian troops sometimes masqueraded as Kurds to take part in the fighting.[16] Only when the Shah felt he had sufficiently cowed the Iraqis with a settlement of the Shatt al Arab waterway did he stop supporting Kurdish forces.

Shia protesters in Bahrain demanding the Sunni kings to step down. (AFP)

Islamic Iran also has a propensity for supporting movements to weaken its regional rivals. As it is the most populous Shia majority nation on earth, it often acts to incite Shia populations in Sunni-ruled nations. Bahrain is one nation where Iran has had great success, as the situation has become unstable enough on occasion for Saudi Arabia to intervene militarily on behalf of the Sunni-dominant Bahraini government. Iran’s funding of Hezbollah and Hamas is a vehicle to weaken and exhaust Israel, as well as a way to maintain influence in Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories, respectively.

Way 3: Increase Regional and International Prestige

Both the Shah-led and Ayatollah-led Iranian regimes were willing to get their hands dirty to further their respective goals. Much effort was also exerted with the aim of increasing national prestige in the region and the world, though. Imperial Iran was interested in garnering the international stature that it felt befit its great power status. To this end, the Shah curried political favor and acceptance in the region as well as globally. While his interest in stability was illustrated in his large troop commitment in support of the Omani Sultanate, he also acted in less dramatic ways.

Imperial Iran gave foreign aid to Egypt after the latter’s western recalibration. Chief among its investments, totaling $1 billion, was the refurbishing and expansion of Port Said, which benefited Egypt but also would provide free port facilities to Iran to expand its Mediterranean presence. Iran gave a $150 million economic development loan to Syria at a nominal interest rate during the same timeframe.[17] Iran also extended substantial additional aid to Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan.[18] Iran attempted to create a regional security organization, but was unsuccessful due to fears from Arab rulers, completely founded, of Persian hegemonic ambitions.[19] This was a clear sign that while Imperial Iran had shown its ability to keep order in the region, both in Oman and Saudi Arabia, Iran would have to overcome Arab hostility if it wanted widespread acceptance of its self-perceived preeminent role.

To this end, Iran’s thirst for prestige and Arab recognition led to a shift in Iranian regional foreign policy. Iran had always been close, at least in a de facto sense, to Israel. This positioning was seen as smart geopolitics, as it served as a counterweight to the Arab majority in the region. But after Israeli military superiority was established in the Six-Day War, Iran started to shift support to the Arabs. The Shah knew that gaining Arab acceptance would be difficult so long as he remained close to Israel.[20] Ultimately, he did not want one side to prove conclusively superior to the other, as Arab-Israeli rivalry was a useful way to focus Arab anger. This was well illustrated in the Yom Kippur War, where the Shah supported both sides. Iran allowed Soviet overflight rights to resupply the Arab forces with spare parts and even bolstered Arab logistics with Iranian Air Force aircraft. At the same time, it continued to supply Israel with oil and some weapons for the duration of the conflict.[21]

Iran’s need for prestige was not confined to its region. It craved respect on the world stage. Its successes in modernization, while maintaining an authoritarian form of government, positioned it as a leader in the third world. Iran eagerly bid for, and received the right to host, the 1968 UN Human Rights Conference. The Shah personally spoke at the conference, and Iran co-authored resolutions that gave emphasis to economic and social rights rather than traditional western political rights. This was met with approbation from new and mainly undemocratic African and Asian state leaders.[22] The event was a bit of a coming out party for Iran, and guests were treated to lavish accommodations that contrasted sharply with those on offer at previous conferences.[23]

One of the Shah’s great prestige projects was his nuclear program. He envisioned Iran as a nation with self-sufficient nuclear power. The western nations who supplied him with nuclear equipment and educated the future technicians of the program had other ideas. The Shah chafed at additional requirements above and beyond those under the Non-Proliferation Treaty levied by a West unnerved by India’s recent nuclear detonation. With the desire for international prestige, and of course the practical advantages of having an independent nuclear energy supply, the Shah also wished to have a surge capability, meaning know-how and materiel to weaponize nuclear technology if needed.[24]

Islamic Iran, despite being a theocratic state, has been quite pragmatic in its pursuit of regional dominance. Iran can rightfully proclaim itself as the only nation that goes beyond tough talk against Israel and Zionism. The ability to take action against Israel is guaranteed by Iran’s alliance with Syria. The alliance, which has stood from the earliest days of the revolution, is at once natural and logically difficult to explain. Iran has shown that although the Syrian regime is secular, Arab and religiously distinct from the brand of Shia practiced in Iran, strategic interests should bind the two states. Furthermore, Syria, unlike its erstwhile war allies Egypt and Jordan, is still hostile to Israel and more than willing to allow its territory to be used as a transit point for armaments to militants. While this action is not likely to lead to Israel’s extinction, it certainly allows Iran to claim the leadership mantle of anti-Israel resistance, a message that resonates with neighbors and in the Muslim world.

Along with the prestige of being seen as the standard-bearer in the struggle against Israel, Iran has attempted to bolster its standing in other ways. Much like the Shah’s attempt to seize ideological leadership of young, developing countries at the 1968 UN Human Rights Congress, Islamic Iran attempted play its role of presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to the hilt. By securing the attendance of then-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon at a NAM Summit in Tehran, against the wishes of the United States, the Islamic regime was confident it had pulled off a diplomatic coup to reverse its isolation. Keyhan, a publication close to the Supreme Leader, crowed that the event was “a ringing slap not only to Israel's face, but also to the face of the U.S. and the entire 5+1” and that the conference being held in Tehran was important, as “Iran is the standard-bearer and the focal point of the Islamic awakening on the international level, on the economic and political level it has always been.”[25]

Damage control was difficult when Ban Ki Moon criticized the regime’s human rights record and then-Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi criticized Iran’s position on Syria and the Syrian regime itself. Still, Iran attempted to salvage the situation, altering translations to fit in with the regime’s view on world events.[26]

Just as the Shah’s Iran eventually attempted to gain a self-sufficient nuclear energy program, the Islamic Republic has been working over a protracted period to master nuclear technology. Whether this program is peaceful or not is immaterial, in a sense; in fact, the nation is embarking on a costly and technologically advanced program. Islamic Iran sees harnessing nuclear energy, much as the Shah did, as its right under the NPT—and from a legal standpoint, that is the case. At the same time, though, Iran’s progress in installing centrifuges and in fuel processing must be seen as a prestige-enhancing, if costly, exercise.

A Safir space launch vehicle carrying the Rasad satellite is readied for launch at the Semnan launch site in Iran. (Spacewatch)

Another costly prestige effort was the Iranian space program. As very few nations can be considered part of this exclusive club, Iran, while not delivering what it promised, has achieved more than any nation in the region apart from Israel.[27] This has been particularly true during the late 2000s and early 2010s, when Iran seemed most determined to enhance its standing and to show the West’s attempts at isolating it were futile. Although Tehran’s space program achieved little materially, the fact that it was able to launch animals (said to have returned safely) from a domestically-produced launch vehicle is impressive.[28] Iran was not stingy with its funding of the program, building a massive space launch facility at Sharoud in addition to its other pads.[29]

Differing Means

As shown in the examples above, the Shah’s Iran and the Islamic Republic do not differ greatly in their ends or ways. In both cases, the ultimate goal is to be the dominant power in the region. Ways include the exclusion of other major powers from the region, destabilizing rivals, and efforts at enhancing its political prestige both in the region and on the world stage. The main difference between the two Iranian regimes is in the means by which these ends are accomplished. This is due to geopolitical realities that have changed markedly from the era of Pahlavi Iran to the Islamic Republic.

Imperial Iran’s primary means of achieving its goals was its overwhelming conventional military superiority in comparison with neighbors. While the Shah’s Iran was no match for the Soviet Union, the amount of advanced hardware it possessed was sufficient to give any nation pause. This is vividly shown in the way Iraq, an intractable rival with an Iranian-sponsored revolt going on inside its borders, backed down on the Shatt al Arab conflict. It is further illustrated in the way Iran broke relations with Cuba over its involvement in guerilla wars in Oman and Africa, started an anti-communist propaganda campaign, and strongly rebuffed Soviet concerns over military buildup. In these cases, the power of the Iranian military allowed the Shah to enact bold actions without engendering a military response from hostile neighbors.

Pahlavi Iran further made use of support from the United States to become dominant in its region. This relationship gave the Shah a source of diplomatic power and a form of leverage even over the U.S. By pointing to the fact that he had been appointed to keep the region stable, the Shah was given carte blanche with respect to military equipment that, thanks to high oil prices, Iran could afford.

Post-revolutionary Iran enjoys none of these advantages. Iran’s once state-of-the-art military, with the latest in American technology as of 1977, is still there, in exactly that form. Iran still flies outdated F-4s, F-5s, and F-14s with abysmal readiness rates. Iran must rely on cannibalization and ingenuity to keep its jets airborne. The entirely undiplomatic beginning of the Revolution, the war with Iraq, and ongoing sanctions have prevented today’s Iran from creating a conventionally powerful military, but it has found a cheaper way to keep up with its competitors: proxies.

Some of Iran's early F-15 pilots (Wikimedia)

Iran’s reliance on unconventional power has served both as a deterrent and as a power projection enabler. Iran learned a valuable lesson toward the end of the Iraq war, when it decided to attack U.S.-flagged Kuwaiti oil tankers. First, it learned to accept that it could not match the U.S. conventionally. The more valuable lesson was that swarm tactics with fast, machine gun-armed boats, naval mining, and the advantage of the restrictive waters of the Persian Gulf were force multipliers.[30] Today’s Iranian Navy reflects this philosophy, which, coupled with a considerable ballistic missile inventory, makes war with the nation unappealing.

Islamic Iran does not have diplomatic support from a great power, as it did during the Shah’s days. It has preferred to position itself as self-reliant and independent. Iran has also attempted to present itself as the leader of the Islamic world and the standard bearer of the anti-Israel struggle on behalf of downtrodden Palestinians. When necessary and convenient, Iran attempts to use clout and veto power from China and Russia to advance its interests, but for the most part stays independent of great power aid and support.


The Shah’s Iran and the Islamic Republic are very different places, particularly for those who have lived in both. The Shah was pragmatic and non-ideological, while the Islamic Republic shows some pragmatism, but has a very powerful ideological bent in its governing philosophy. Even with very important differences, Iran’s ultimate goals have not changed. These consist chiefly of regional dominance. Both governments sought to prevent superpower presence, destabilize rivals and increase prestige within the region and abroad. The Shah could count on the West for diplomatic and military support. The Supreme Leaders of today’s Iran have had to rely more on wits and guile. Despite these differences, though, the roads all converge to the same end for Iran.

A strong counter-argument to the claim that pre- and post-revolutionary Iran are power-hunger regionally could be made by those attempting to prove that Pahlavi Iran and the Islamic Republic are simply trying to secure their immediate environment. Obviously, any nation should attempt to protect itself against hostile actions and maximize its prosperity. But Iran’s actions through the decades have shown that its intentions are on a grander scale.

The Shah’s statements themselves are the best evidence for a hegemonic drive on the part of Imperial Iran. Even before the West was willing to relinquish policeman duties in the Persian Gulf, the Shah was lobbying hard for his country to take the reins. But apart from his many quotes on the subject, the actions of Iran at the time of the Shah speak even louder.

While most nations state that regional stability is important, the Shah deployed Iranian troops to Oman and Saudi Arabia, as well as aid to Pakistan against possible destabilization. This shows a keen desire to keep competing powers out of the region. The Shah’s alignment with the Arabs after years of supporting Israel showed his need for recognition as the region’s true power center.

These actions show more than a mere desire for security. Iran already had an overwhelmingly powerful military that could defeat any of its neighbors and even make war for the Soviet Union a distasteful prospect. It did not need widespread Arab goodwill to be secure from attack, but Iran very much needed its neighbors’ approval to be recognized as the center of the region.

Islamic Iran faces different circumstances using an altogether familiar strategy. Iran today is not trying to keep powers out, but rather attempting to eject them. After the initial revolutionary fervor and Iran-Iraq war, rapprochement with the West and the U.S. would have been the most promising form of security. At that point and even today, Iran has much prestige riding on continued enmity with the West.

One of the greatest sources of Iranian power and influence is its self-perceived position at the head of the Ummah. Security against western threats would be at the price of its treasured, self-proclaimed position as the source of resistance and the vanguard of the anti-Zionist struggle. In the aftermath of the removal of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, instead of helping to stabilize Afghanistan and Iraq and tacitly allowing a limited U.S. presence, Iran has been intent on building influence at the cost of Iraqi and Afghan unity while providing weapons and training to insurgents. Certainly, a stable Iraq (and to a lesser extent Afghanistan) would be beneficial for Iranian security, but a foothold for an extra-regional power, namely the U.S., remains unacceptable.

Iran’s space program boils down to a version of prestige-building. While it is certain that the launches also provided cover for missile testing, during the program’s Ahmadinejad-era heyday, these launches were very much touted as shows of the greatness of the Iranian nation.

Both Iranian regimes have shown themselves to be obsessed with recognition as the dominant power of the region. Both have gone far beyond basic steps to maintain national security and stability. Further, they have both spent large sums of money on vanity projects designed to increase regard for the nation on the international stage. So, while it is true that political alignments and stated philosophy have changed greatly from the Shah to the Supreme Leader, the goal of the Iranian nation has remained the same.

James Bryant is a career intelligence officer and a former enlisted Korean Cryptologic Linguist.  He is a fluent Farsi, Dari and Tajik speaker with 5 deployments to the middle east, as well as language immersion in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.  His research centers on Central Asia and the Persian-speaking world. He is currently an AFPAK Hand who will deploy early next year. The views expressed are the author's and do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense, or the United States Government.

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Header Image: Portrait Of Ayatollah Khomeini taken in Paris, shortly before the 1979 revolution. (Denis Cameron/Rex Features/The Guardian)


[1] Roham Alvandi, “Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The Origins of Iranian Primacy in the Persian Gulf,” Diplomatic History April 2012 (36, 2): 347.

[2] State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research, “The Future of Iran: Implications of the US” (1981), 6.

[3] Roham Alvandi, “Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The Origins of Iranian Primacy in the Persian Gulf,” Diplomatic History April 2012 (36, 2): 338.

[4] Assadullah Alam, The Shah and I: The Confidential Diary of Iran’s Royal Court, 1968-77 (London and New York: I. B. Taurus, 1991).

[5] Michael Morell, “Iran’s Grand Strategy Is to Become a Regional Powerhouse,” Washington Post, June 3, 2015.

[6] Trita Parsi, “Israel and the Origins of Iran’s Arab Option: Dissection of a Strategy Misunderstood.” Middle East Journal 60, no. 3 (Summer 2006): 504.

[7] Geraint, Hughes, “All the Shah’s Men: The Imperial Iranian Brigade Group in the Dhofar War,” Defence In Depth, 2006.

[8] Robert Manning, “The Shah’s Imperial Dream,” Worldview (July-August 1975): 21.

[9] Roham Alvandi, “Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The Origins of Iranian Primacy in the Persian Gulf,” Diplomatic History April 2012 (36, 2): 357.

[10] Ibid., 357-8.

[11] David Crist, “Gulf of Conflict: A History of U.S.-Iranian Confrontation at Sea” The Washington Institute for Near East Policy 95 (June 2009): 11.

[12] Nader and Laha, “Iran’s Balancing Act in Afghanistan,” Rand National Defense and Research Institute, 2011.

[13] Roham Alvandi, “Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The Origins of Iranian Primacy in the Persian Gulf,” Diplomatic History April 2012 (36, 2): 362.

[14] Robert Manning, “The Shah’s Imperial Dream,” Worldview (July-August 1975): 20.

[15] Ali-Fuat, Borovali, “Kurdish Insurgencies, the Gulf War, and Turkey’s Changing Role,” Conflict Quarterly (Fall 1987), 34.

[16] Ibid., 35.

[17] Robert Manning, “The Shah’s Imperial Dream,” Worldview (July-August 1975): 20.

[18] Alfred Atherton Jr., “Your Meeting with the Shah,” Department of State..

[19] Trita Parsi, “Israel and the Origins of Iran’s Arab Option: Dissection of a Strategy Misunderstood.” Middle East Journal 60, no. 3 (Summer 2006): 499.

[20] Ibid., 500-501.

[21] Ibid., 502.

[22] Sherry Bennett, “King of Kings: Human Rights Rhetoric and Regional Security in the Shah’s Iran, 1968-1978,” Dissertation, University of Montana, 81-82.

[23] Ibid., 84.

[24] Harvey Morris, “Iran Relives the Shah Era,” Financial Times, December 5, 2007.

[25] MEMRI, “The Non-Aligned Movement Conference In Tehran - A Show Of Strength Against The West,” August 12, 2012.

[26] Muhammad Sahimi, “Iran’s Leaders Challenged on Human Rights, Syria at NAM Summit,” PBS, August 31, 2012.

[27] Jassem Al Salami, “Iran Just Cancelled Its Space Program,” War Is Boring, January 17, 2015.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Uzi Rubin, “Space Programs of North Korea, Iran: Covert Twins?” Space News, August 11, 2014.

[30] David Crist, “Gulf of Conflict: A History of U.S.-Iranian Confrontation at Sea,” The Washington Institute for Near East Policy 95 (June 2009): 23.