What’s new? Iran is a rising power in the Middle East, having exploited opportunities arising from the U.S. invasion of Iraq and wars in Syria and Yemen. But where the Islamic Republic’s enemies see a grasping would-be empire, its own strategists see an embattled state redressing historical wrongs.
Why does it matter? On several fronts, from Syria to Yemen, tensions between Iran and its foes are heightening. In the overheated atmosphere of mutual mistrust and demonization, even a miscalculation could easily plunge a region already in flames into wider conflagration.
What should be done? To craft sensible policy toward Iran’s regional ambitions, its adversaries must better understand what drives Iranian leaders, particularly their strong defensive impulse. The Islamic Republic must accept that its approach is perceived as offensive – and adjust accordingly. Ending the wars where Iranian and rival interests clash is paramount.
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