In recent decades, the Middle East has been an arena for strategic contest of Islamic Republic of Iran and the U.S. These two key players have frequently struggled in different contexts and on different topics, whether in military fields or at negotiation table whereby trying to conquer each other in the soft and hard power arena and cut each other out of the management field of Middle East.
Obviously, the importance of the Middle East region is effective in the approaches of these two political systems. The strategic significance of this region has long been proven to the policymakers and authorities of White House and also the importance of energy for Western consumers, the geopolitical significance of this region as a bridge connecting three continents and as the hub of commercial transportation besides the geo-cultural importance of this region as the arena of civilizations and religions and most importantly, the presence of Muslims as the majority population in this region as the key obstacle against the development and penetration of Liberal civilization all have acted as stimulation for the U.S. and in general Western governments to consider this region in their macro-strategies. On the other hand, the goals and values of the system developed through the 1979 revolution in Iran grounded on the development of political Islam discourse known as Pure Islam are directed toward the region that has been the origin of such thinking that is south-west Asia and West Africa. Moreover, the geo-strategic importance of the area surrounding Iran in terms of national security requires Iranian government to develop its power and authority over surrounding regions and neighboring countries in order to achieve national security out of its borders.
It seems that Iran, due to many reasons described in the following possesses required conditions to obtain spiritual power and enhance its popularity among the countries of middle east and it has the potential to be known as the key player of the Middle East.
Efforts to disseminate Iran’s Revolution to other Islamic countries, advocacy of extremist and radical movements, advocacy of terrorism, acute hostility to Israel, human rights violation, serious support for Hezbollah and Palestinians’ Intifada, effort to achieve atomic weapons, provoking the historical quarrels among Muslims, seeking revenge against countries that helped Iraq during 8-year war with Iran, forcible ownership on the three islands on which UAE claims ownership, attempting to take over the leadership of Islamic World, to illegitimate some governments in Islamic World, trying to weaken the position of the U.S. in the Middle East and the like have been prevented Iran in achieving its goals, namely achieving and enhancing its power and validity and in this way this country has incurred heavy costs but it has had an ascending movement toward these goals.
During recent years, Tehran has tried to demonstrate itself as the symbol of resistance and independence whereby enhancing the independency potentials in the Middle East; such a policy has been successful in strengthening the foundations of Iran’s soft power. Therefore, by seeking to obtain independence and resistance against western interventions and also by economic and technical development (despite international sanctions), Iran has succeeded to attract the attention and support of many observers as a successful country in applying soft power in its interactions with Middle East countries.
As long as Iran succeeds to maintain its security territory as such, it would be able to guarantee its national security. By defeating the forces supported by Iran in the region, the security borders of Iran may retreat up to its geographical borders and the risk of direct confrontation with the U.S. may threat Iran in a serious manner.
The origins of struggles between Iran and the U.S. may be traced to a mutual threat- based relationships based on which both parties presume the other party’s measures in enhancing its role, penetration, and opportunities across the region as a threat against each other’s interests and so try to prevent such a threat. In other words, because of its special features, Iran naturally wishes to play its role in a manner proportional to its power and dignity in the region. In this way, Iran finds the U.S. presence and penetration into economic, political and military systems of the region as a direct threat against it and its position in the region. On the other hand, the U.S. considers that Iran with its historical hostility to the U.S. is a serious threat against its national interests and its long-term goals in terms of achieving economic, political, cultural and military strategies in the region. Inside Iran, although the majority support the system’s policies and there is the notion that continuance of resistance policy and enhancement of strength relying on domestic potentials is a key factor in meeting vital interests of Iran, but there is also a reformist movement developed on 1997 when Mohammad Khatami became the president of Iran through a free election and it was restored when Rohani in 2013 became the president of Iran against the radical party that opposed any form of compromise. Over his presidency, Rohani proceeded a series of negotiations between Iran and European countries and the U.S. similar to those led to JCPOA. At the moment, the U.S. has quitted being a party to this agreement, but Iran continues to adhere it. The reformists that are moderate in their policies try to continue their efforts in compromising with the international community during Rohani’s presidency, so that Iran may restore its position in the international community; but based on previous experiences, this idea would not be operationalized without involvement of the U.S.; so that, in Iran’s National Parties Congress, the elites advocating negotiation and compromise with the U.S. called for direct negotiation of Iranian Leader with the U.S. and some of American authorities also called for direct negotiation of Iranian leader with the U.S. This analytical commonality indicates that by the help of a stream proponent of compromise in Iran the Iranian Leader may be convinced of direct negotiation with the U.S. Achieving this goal may take time and require political intelligence, because Iranian Leader has acted smartly in the management of political space inside and outside of Iran and directing him toward the playground is not an easy task. It must be noted that this opportunity may never repeat.