America and Securitization of Iran after the Islamic revolution 1979 till 2013; continuation or change

Document Type : Original Article


1 Associate Professor of English literature, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Ph.D Student of North American Studies, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran



U.S foreign policy toward Iran had been so uncertain and variable since the beginning of this relation, but alongside fluctuations, some kind of consistency is distinguishable. Until the Islamic revolution of 1979by the Iranian people, Iran was playing a major role in the U.S. anti-communist strategy in the Middle East.  U.S grand strategy was based on its confrontation with USSR and Iran was the key for controlling the Middle East and process of underpinning Iran’s power as a liberal ally in the region was at the core of U.S considerations in Iran. After the 1979 revolution, Iran’s priority had changed as a regional actor and it no longer identified itself as a member in the Western coalition based on American foreign policy. On the other hand, U.S. also stopped to identify Iran as a friend and started to demonize the new role Iran was playing in the Middle East and the world.  By having these trends in mind, a very fundamental, important question strikes the mind: Did U.S has a turning point in its foreign policy toward Iran after the 1979 or the principle of its foreign policy was fixed and only tactical changes occurred? In order to answer this question I’m going to examine the history of U.S foreign policy toward Iran, particularly the post-revolutionary period. This analysis will be conducted according to the Copenhagen school definition of security and concept of securitization. This theoretical frame work brought us a comprehensive understanding of security and also a relative, useful categorization of security strategy in foreign policy. Different methodological approaches could be used in these frameworks but in this research I have used the discourse analysis method to explore the subject of research. Conclusion of the research shows us that American strategy toward Iran covers both permanent and variable factors but the permanent element was the key and variable factors made changes only in tactical level. U.S foreign policy was basically directed toward securitizing Iran but the world system, regional and national events also made it more powerful. It means that after the Islamic revolution of Iran, U.S. has continuously made an attempt in persuading other actors to securitize Iran. Before the Cold War, this securitization was in a low level but after the Cold War it can be classified as a high-securitization.


Volume 11, Issue 40
December 2016
Pages 85-116
  • Receive Date: 31 July 2015
  • Revise Date: 20 September 2015
  • Accept Date: 30 September 2015
  • First Publish Date: 22 December 2015