Manara - Qatar Research Repository
10.1111_muwo.12403.pdf (115.59 kB)

Institutions and Policy in Iran’s Relations with the GCC

Download (115.59 kB)
journal contribution
submitted on 2023-03-15, 08:05 and posted on 2023-03-15, 09:31 authored by Mehran Kamrava

Two overlapping yet distinct sets of developments influence Iran’s position in the Persian Gulf region, one having to do with the Islamic Republic’s own policies and the other with structural factors that are largely beyond the control of policymakers in Tehran. In terms of policy, Tehran’s regional relations are shaped by a confluence of security as well as diplomatic priorities. At the broadest level, the resulting policy output amounts to ensuring Iran’s security interests in the Persian Gulf waterway while at the same time maintaining friendly or at best non-confrontational relations with the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Under the Rouhani administration, this policy was summed up under the rubric of the Hormuz Peace Endeavor, HOPE. But such policy pursuits have been consistently hampered by structural factors both indigenous to Iranian politics and exogenous. Within Iran, the insistence of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which is responsible for the country’s regional security, to repeatedly demonstrate its military prowess and its battle readiness—through holding exercises, drone attacks, and rhetorical if not actual support for the Yemeni Houthis—heightens the regional security dilemma and only serves to further antagonize the United States and its local allies. At the same time, the newly found military confidence and ambitions of countries such as Saudi Arabia and especially United Arab Emirates, backed by what appeared to have been unconditional American support under the Trump administration and continued arms sales and close military ties during the Biden presidency, further perpetuate threat perceptions in Tehran. From Iran’s perspective, structural factors only serve to undermine its policy objectives.

Other Information

Published in: The Muslim World
See article on publisher's website:


Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2021

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Georgetown University in Qatar

Geographic coverage

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

Usage metrics

    Georgetown University in Qatar



    Ref. manager