Addendum: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rolin G. Mainuddin wii be the new discussant for panel TB06-1.
Geography, Shi‘ism, and Islam in the Geopolitics and International Relations of Iran and Iraq: Frameworks and Layers of Understandings
Dr. Raffaele Mauriello (born July 1974) is an Italian historian of the modern Middle East. He holds a PhD in Islamic Civilization: History and Philology from the Sapienza, University of Rome (Italy). He has published several peer-reviewed essays on Shi’a Islam history and on Iranian and Iraqi geopolitical affairs and is a translator of both Arabic and Persian. In 2013, he was awarded the World Prize for the Book of the Year of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the field of Islamic Studies.
Reflecting the growing influence of Shi‘i Islam experts in determining U.S. foreign policy toward the Muslim world, early in his first term in office Obama appointed Vali Nasr as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Already facing the existing difficulties of developing a workable idea of an Islamic IR theory, scholars, practitioners, and students of IR have however shown little coherent understanding and structured knowledge of Shi‘itology. A field of enquiry in its own right, this used to belong exclusively to a few scholars of Islamic Studies within the Euro-American academia but is increasingly unavoidable for anyone interested in deciphering current Islamic political discourses and the dynamics gradually dominating contemporary international relations. This paper delineates and conceptualizes some major frameworks and layers of understandings IR scholars should be aware of when researching the geopolitics and international relations of countries with a significant Shi‘a presence, taking as case study Iran and Iraq. In particular, it problematizes the different and possibly alternative roles that geography, Shi‘ism, and Islam play in the geopolitics of these countries.
A Constructivist Study on the Israeli-Iranian Nuclear Problem
Seyed Hossein Zarhani, M.A. (PhD Researcher, Department of Political Science, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University)
This study seeks to examine how constructivism can help to deep our understanding of the Israeli-Iranian conflict over Iran’s nuclear program. In doing so, the basic tenets of constructivism is unpacked to identify which aspects of the constructivist approach to seeing social reality as derived from the shared understandings of actors would be most suited to this particular case study. Focusing on the manner in which actors create and maintain identities, both for themselves and others, through language use in realm of discourse, the identities of Iran and the Israel is shown to be mutually constituted; that is, the identity of one was, in part (for given contexts), formed in relation to the identity of the other. The central question that this study seeks to answer is: how can the application of a social constructivist approach to the Israeli-Iranian conflict over Iran’s nuclear program enhance our understanding of the nature of this conflict? This study goes beyond Realism to explore the dynamics of the cultural and religious underpinnings of the “clash of narratives” that shape the dynamics of nuclear confrontation between Israel and Iran. This paper compares the ways in which Israelis and Iranians utilize sacred text, myths, tradition, national-religious historiography, and “selective memory” to construct and promote their identification with ancient cultures, traditions, and historic grievances. In addition, this study highlights the ways in which Israelis and Iranians use the negative stereotypes of one another especially in nuclear issues to brand and demonize the opponents. This study finally shows the constructivist approach to the Israeli-Iranian conflict over Iran’s nuclear program can expand our understanding of that encounter by underlining the ways in which actors and their representations of any given situation are constructed, rather than being objectively given.
Velayate-E Faqih and the Nuclear Issue
Dr. Rania Mohamed Taher Abdul-Wahab (Ain Shams University, Egypt)
There has been an increasing assertion of the velayat-e-faqih in Iranian politics in recent years. This has led to tensions between them and the presidential office in Iran. Against this backdrop, this article seeks to analyse the constitutional position of the velayat-e-faqih and how it has interacted with other institutions to shape Iranian foreign policy and taking a decisions in nuclear issue. The article critically analyses the relationship between the velayat-e-faqih and different popularly elected presidents. so this study will consists of the following:
first: historical background of Iranian nuclear program and its developments.
second:motivations that encourged iran to acquire nuclear program
third:the role of velayate-e faqih in building iranian nuclear program
fourth: International responses toward Iranian nuclear program