Iran and the Arab World afer the Nuclear Deal: Rivalry
and Engagement in a New Era       

            Compiled by Payam Mohseni, Director at Belfer Center for Science and International A?airs Harvard
Kennedy School, this publication has gathered the analyses of more than a dozen
of the leading experts of the subject based in the Arab world. This publication
re?ects a unique picture of the response of experts across the region to the nuclear
agreement between Iran and the P5+1. Mohseni argues that given Iran’s important
geostrategic position and critical involvement in key Middle Eastern a?airs,
the July 14, 2015 declaration on a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between
Iran and the P5+1 not only diminishes risk of nuclear proliferation but also presents
significant implications for the future order of the Middle Easti.
Whether moving toward greater accommodation with regional states or pushing forward
with its revolutionary policies that confront regional order, Iran’s role in
the Middle East is now more important than ever and will be a critical subject
of analysis, research, and discussion in the foreseeable futureii.

2.4       Iran’s
Normalization Project: Custodians and Spoilers

            Dr. Farhad Rezaei
is a research fellow at Center for Iranian Studies (IRAM) in
Ankara, Turkey, where his work focuses on Iran’s foreign policy. His article for
Middle East Policy Journal, a Washington, DC, based Council aimed at carrying out
in depth analysis of Middle East. Dr. Rezaei draws boundaries of this research to
assess whether the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), negotiated
between Iran and the international community in July 2015, might lead to a
fundamental reorientation in Iran’s foreign policyiii.
Taking power in 1979, Iran’s revolutionary regime adopted an international posture
that combined the export of the Islamist revolution, a quest for regional hegemony,
defance of international norms and, most consequentially, the search for an
atomic arsenal. Over the years, these policies turned Iran into a virtual
pariah state, a process made unbearable when the United Nations imposed heavy sanctions
to force the regime to roll back its nuclear projectiv.

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From the onset of his
presidency, Hassan Rouhani and his supporters considered the JCPOA to be the first
step in a grander plan to normalize Iran’s international relations and
reintegrate it into the community of nationsv.
But opposition to normalization has not disappeared; important elites have
objected to the conditions that would qualify Iran as a member in good standing
of the international community. It is assumed that a power struggle between the
normalizers1 and their opponents would dictate the outcome of the process. Integrating
Iran into the community of nations is one of the defining issues of our time.
Providing rigorous measurement for evaluating this project would help to
monitor its progress and predict the outcome. Beyond the case of Iran, the
study hopes to advance the theoretical knowledge of how spoiling actions
develop in all instances crucial to the well-being of the international

Mohseni, Payam, and Hussein Kalout. ‘Iran and the Arab World
after the Nuclear Deal Rivalry and Engagement in a New Era’. Belfer Center
for Science and International A?airs, Harvard Kennedy School of Government,
Project Iran, 13 August 2015, 100.




Rezaei, Farhad. ‘Iran’s Normalization Project: Custodians
and Spoilers | Middle East Policy. Middle East Policy Council, Vol.
XXIV, No. 2, Summer 2017 (2017): 87–101. Washington, DC.









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