Reflections of the dissidence between reformist and conservative factions on foreign policy of post-revolutionary Iran

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Bursa Uludağ University, SOSYAL BİLİMLER ENSTİTÜSÜ, Turkey

Approval Date: 2015

Thesis Language: Turkish

Student: Zeynep Şartepe

Supervisor: SEZGİN KAYA


The structure of international system and its effects on states' behaviors has been debated for a long time in realist school of international relations. The new wave of realist theory called neoclassical realism, which claims that systemic factors must be filtered through intervening variables to formulate foreign policy behaviors, has emerged by the end of Cold War. This paper uses theoretical insights from neoclassical realism, which incorporates both systemic level variables and domestic factors into its analysis, to explain the reformist-conservative conflict in the foreign policy of post-revolutionary Iran. With the ascent of reformist cleric Khatami to presidency in 1997, the long lasting rivalry between reformist faction, which seeks for Iran's integration into world politics and 'Islamic democracy' at home, and the conservative faction whose guiding principle is based on return to revolutionary Islamic ideology, has become apparent in post-revolutionary Iran. Despite the contentious discourses adopted by those factions, this paper tries to reveal basic principles of Iran's foreign policy. While explaining the building blocks of foreign policy of Iran, the paper incorporates both domestic and international factors into its analysis.