Foreign Policy Behaviors of Rentier States: In the Context of Iran


  • Dr. Anar Aliyev


As is seen geopolitical motives are the main source of interest behind the active political, military and cultural activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran to expand its sphere of influence from the Middle East to the Caucasus, from Central Asia to Sub-Saharan Africa, from Latin America to the South East Asian Region. The billions of dollars of military resources that Iran has transferred, especially to Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and other regions assumed within its sphere of influence, show that costly foreign policy is a conscious choice for the Islamic Regime. In addition, it is clear that this costly foreign policy choice does not bring any significant benefit to the Islamic Regime in terms of political economy. It is known that inflation rates are over 40% and unemployment figures are more than 10% in Iran, which is in a serious economic bottleneck with the effect of economic embargoes along with its costly foreign policy choice. Also,  it is seen that the Islamic Regime has not been able to use the extraordinary natural resources of the country efficiently and in a way that will provide welfare to society in general. In this article, an analysis will be executed on the “rentier state” concept to explain the reason, motivation, and ambitions behind Iran’s strong operational capacity in the Middle East, which is in a serious economic bottleneck with the impact of economic embargoes. Thus, the question of whether or how effective the “rentier state” system is in Iran’s unique foreign policy preferences, which are shaped in line with geopolitical motives, will be focused on. Finally, by emphasizing whether the Iranian regime fits this definition or not, an answer will be sought to the question of how adequate the use of this concept is to describe the Iranian state and foreign policy system.