Iran's Role in Afghanistan

Publication date:
Roberto Toscano

Policy Research Papers

January 2012

In order to assess Iran’s role in Afghanistan it is indispensable to start from a fundamental question: what, in general, is the foreign policy of the Iranian regime? More specifically, it is also necessary to identify its real priorities – a complicated endeavour given the ideological nature of the Islamic Republic and the thick layers of rhetoric and posturing that tend to overlay and disguise actual policy goals.

This approach is somewhat controversial, especially given the strength of the view held within Western political circles and in the media, that the Islamic Republic is bent on exporting and expanding its religious and revolutionary model - if not messianically attracted by a cleansing Armageddon as an introduction to the return of the Hidden Imam.

Analysis of actual Iranian behaviour reveals, on the contrary, a rather “classical” set of priorities, with specificities that are linked to the non-democratic nature of the regime, rather than to its stated religious and revolutionary goals.