V. Kurshakov, Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO RAN), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Special emphasis in the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) is laid on the Shia factor. Its role increased significantly after the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq was overthrown in 2003, and also as a result of both strengthening of Shiite radical organizations (“Hezbollah”), and a common rise of Shiite Muslims' civil consciousness in the Middle East during that period. As the biggest Shia country in the world, Iran lends support to groups of its adherents in the Persian Gulf region. Without its contribution, the post-war settlement process in Iraq may become much more complicated. Besides, Iran is bound by long-lasting cooperation ties with Bashar al-Assad Alawite regime in Syria. The whole range of issues is the focus of the author's attention in the article.
Iran, foreign policy, "Shiite Crescent", "Arab Spring", foreign policy, Alawites, Zaidites
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