Just Peace Diplomacy Journal Volume 12 has been published by IPSC. 
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Just Peace Diplomacy Journal Volume 12 has been published in 112 pages and 7 articles in  English by the International Peace Studies Centre (IPSC).
 

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Regional Security Semiotics of Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign Policy

Submitted by on March 1, 2011 – 02:15No Comment
Regional Security Semiotics of Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign Policy

Ibrahim Mottaghi

University of Tehran and IPSC, Iran

 

Abstract

            Regional security semiotic has a discursive orientation and characteristic. Overall, national security discourses are shaped around linguistic, conceptual, perceptional, contextual, and analytical signs. Theoretically, this paper accepts and adopts the constructivist frameworks of analysis in international relations; as such interpretive articulations are recognized to be the principal theoretical tools for analysis of normative regional security semiotics. Islamic Republic of Iran’s (IRI) security semiotics is accordingly shaped by socially constructed signs. Therefore, interactions in the regional and international sphere are organized, articulated, and interpreted based on such socially constructed concepts.

            Constructivist theorists emphasize the need to take advantage of commonality of rules, norms, meanings, inclinations, and practices in regional security semiotics. The commonalities of these components are considered part of the inevitable realities of IRI’s regional security semiotics. Approaches that the leaders of the IRI offer indicate that their political system and Iran’s regional security semiotic features normative-ideational constructs that seek to develop at least some cooperative alliances in regional and international spheres. Iran’s willingness to work with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC, P 5+1), the country’s enthusiasm to participate in regional/international security conferences such as the annual Bahrain Security Conference organized by London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies, Prague Conference, Munich conference, etc… all indicate that the IRI is investing in multilateral cooperation and desires international integration at different levels.

            Some believe that Iran’s regional security semiotics has an offensive inclination and insists on the role of indicators of conflict and confrontation. This article demonstrates that Iran’s regional security semiotics retains an ideationalist disposition and thus makes an effort to achieve at least some aspects of multifaceted multilateralism and commonality of postulations though designating ideational normative policy models. Ideationalist understanding of Iran’s regional security semiotics leads to interactionist reciprocal inclinations in the regional political sphere as well as interventionist measures against those political players who are after implementing models of hegemonic domination.

            Considering the significance of the above mentioned commonality of components in analysis of the regional security semiotics of IRI, this paper emphasizes the role of the (inter)national and (trans)national norms formed within the international community that are shared among governments and have been incorporated and internalized within (inter)national political conventions. In connection with this, this paper also considers the role of domestic IRI norms that emanate from the Iranian society’s societal constructions and become internalized within the body of diplomacy and governing traditions. This paper then shows that the shaping of regional security semiotics does not merely take place in the realm of military, economic, and strategic powers. This is due to the fact that there are varieties of political processes including collaboration, interaction, trust-building, partnership, and multifaceted multilateralism that potentially affect the shaping of the regional security semiotics trends and conducts of IRI.

Keywords:
Normative Semiotics, Interactional Relations, Regional Harmony, Strategic Partnerships, Trans-regional Solidarity, Multifaceted Multilateralism, Ideationalism of Power, Freedom to Act, Activism, Equality of Roles.

Introduction

            One can adopt different approaches to explain and articulate the regional security semiotics of the IRI. In general, it seems that conventional methodologies, theories, and approaches in discipline of IR face some challenges in providing a clear picture of the characteristics of the IRI’s foreign policy. These shortcomings make necessary the formation of a theoretical framework which is uniquely designed to comprehensively provide a clear understanding of the particularities of IRI’s foreign diplomacy’s characteristics and behaviors. For this purpose, one should go back, reconsider, and further analyze the general principle spirit, governing the Islamic Revolution and its goals. In other words, understanding IRIs foreign policy is attainable if one looks through the window of the principles, goals, desires, aspirations, and ideals of the Islamic Revolution.

            Although based on a realistic approach, the domain of regional security semiotics is distinct from domestic politics, however, this distinction is not so sharply defined when it comes to the security semiotics of IRI. Accepting realism and realistic principles of approach indicatively compels one to acknowledging that IRI’s foreign policy is subject to domestic conditions more than any other factor. Certainly, there is confirmation of the above in empirical realities of IRI foreign policy which is evidence for the primacy of the role of domestically constructed factors in determining the nature and direction of IRI’s foreign policy. For example, in the realm of historical foreign policy developments of IRI, the country continuously pursues objectives and practices that mainly consider and take into account the enduring demands, aspirations, and ideals of Islamic Revolution with opposing inclinations towards international norms, conditions, and principles. A number of thinkers and theorists including Wolfram F. Hanrieder, Henry A. Kissinger, Ruhollah Ramezani, and James N. Rosenau talk about this domination of IRI’s domestic aspirations in the country’s foreign policy. Each of these theorists has put emphasis on this encompassing connectedness between domestic social conditions of Iran, the societal constructs within the domestic sphere, and IRI’s foreign policy in the international sphere (Hajiyousefi, 1384 SH/2005 CE: 185).

            Unlike the realists who emphasize the role of material factors in trends of regional security semiotics within various political units of IRI, the constructivists put more stress on issues related to the ideational spheres of analysis as well as the constitutive rules. The developmental process of constitutive rules necessitates passing of a relatively long length of time. Therefore, conflict related conciliation, arbitration, and mediation and their impact on regional security semiotics require that the corresponding provisions and conditions are accounted for and accommodated. This accommodation takes a temporal process of refashioning and change (Adler, 1997: 325).

            For example, in the first decade of Iran’s Islamic revolution, during a time which the overall domestic climate of the country was under the influence of radical and revolutionary sentiments and politics, IRI accordingly adopted an antagonistic confrontational foreign policy towards the Western world. It is during this period that IRI with an outward-looking approach, effectively pursued goals such as spreading out the Islamic revolution and assisting the liberation movements around the globe. Throughout the post Iran-Iraq war period when the domestic conditions required economic reconstruction and redevelopment, IRI emphasized the need for stable peaceful sphere of economic activity. This change in paradigm of relations, called for more reciprocal interaction with the rest of the world and the practical utilization of international financial provisions. In this period, IRI’s foreign policy adapted to the conditions accordingly and the improvement of relations with outside world was considered more seriously. In the period of reform that followed the postwar reconstruction era, attention to the issues of civil society and political developments raised within the domestic sphere of the country and accordingly IRI prescribed‒or at least assertively proclaimed‒“dialogue among civilizations,” reconciliation, and conflict resolution in the realm of foreign policy (Ehteshami, 1378 SH/1999 CE: 132).

            Some analysts believe that every country’s foreign policy is a continuation of its domestic politics. This, in particular becomes more explicitly relevant in the case of the IRI. Such trends of more forthright relation between domestic conditions and foreign policy, suggest that realist and neorealist approaches have less functionality and relevance when it comes to regional security semiotics of Iran. Constructivist models with semiotics orientated methodological and theoretical approaches have more relevance in the context of IRI. For the purpose of employing a semiotic-orientated constructivist approach one can consider using indicators and signs that associate with an ideational orientation to the issues of power, xenophobia, the role of the principle of negation of the domination of non-Muslims over Muslims (Nafy-e Sabil), freedom of choice and action in the international sphere, active engagement in international politics, negotiations for equality of international role, and engagement and activism to assert IRI’s identity in foreign policy.

            One could consider security semiotics in the area of regional security of IRI based on trans-argumentative approaches that do not “require” a solid proof; as such constructivist theory can be of use here. One can say that constructivism is a theoretical attempt to establish a sort of a link between the rationalist approaches (neorealism and neoliberalism) and reflexivist approaches (postmodernism, historical sociology, critical theory, and feminism).

            Disagreements between the above approaches go back to their different philosophical standings and approaches to philosophy of IR. A group of analysts believe that one can only elucidate the “reality” about the regional security semiotics of various countries by considering the extent of their national power and how they functionally utilize such power. A second group, insist that the normative and the subjective factors play a more determinant role in the realm of regional security semiotics. The second group question the epistemological and ontological theoretical grounds of the first group and argue that there exist no one “reality” that one can seek to identify through an empirical analysis (Moshirzadeh, 1386 SH/2007 CE: 335). 

1-    Ideationalist Approach to the Issue of Power in Iran’s Foreign Policy

 

            Ideationalism is of particular functionality and significance when dealing with issues of identity and identitarian politics. Iran’s Islamic revolution has identitarian and ideological phenomenological qualities and characteristics. This means the emergence of any sign of change and transformation within these ideological identitarian qualities of Iranian society translates to change in Iranian foreign policy. Surely, continuity and change are part of the realities of foreign policy of any political unit. However, indications of transformations and change in the extent that is observable in the evolution of Iranian foreign policy processes of reorganization is much broader and deserves more critical analysis.

            In order to clearly apprehend the prevailing logic of IRI’s foreign policy and in studying the qualities of such policies, the more one employs and gives importance to the theoretical tools that fall within the framework of ideationalist approaches in regional security semiotics, the more one needs to pay attention to the fundamentals, principles, goals, and the philosophy of existence of the Islamic Revolution. Iran’s Islamic Revolution is a movement to return to the foundations of Islam. The assumptions of the Islamic movement is that Islam is a complete religion which holds within all the spiritual and material means necessary for a prosperous blissful worldly life in all times and the hereafter. These ideas and ideals manifest in the political structure of IRI and thus, are of significance when using regional security semiotics, especially in relation to the aspirations of exporting the Islamic Revolution (Tajik, 1387 SH/2008 CE: 65).

            According to this way of thought, the causes of difficulties, hardships of Muslims’ life, and the reason for their miseries are foreign/ Western presence and influence in Islamic countries. These include Western power’s exploitations of Muslims, colonialism, and most importantly the domination of Western ideas and thoughts over social, economic, cultural, and political life of Muslims. Hence, within IRI’s framework of thought, the solution to “save” Muslims from Western hegemony is emancipation from intellectual, material, and spiritual domination of West. One can potentially highlight these ideational and identitarian frameworks of understanding the “problems of Muslims” as one justification for the constant conflict between IRI and Western powers.

            Based on this IRI general articulation of history of East-West relations, if Western influence, Western cultural hegemony, and Westoxication (gharbzadeghi) comes to an end, Muslims can elevate in status and overcome their problems by having faith in Islam and relying on Islamic answers for human salvation. Therefore the Islamic revolution in its essence is basically against Western/foreign hegemony, domination, and influence in all its forms and proposes an exclusive confident reliance on the intellectual foundations of Islam. Consequently, in the Islamic Revolution, cutting off foreign influence and dependence, the overthrowing of the kingdom of the Shah of Iran who was considered an affiliate of Western powers and a puppet of the West, opposition to Western influenced and imposed modernization programs of Shah, resistance to Western modes of though (liberalism, socialism, communism, and even nationalism) became the main slogan of the Islamic Revolution of Iran (Tajik, 1375 SH/ 1996 CE: 22).

            During the Iranian Revolution, some of these ideas, such as nationalism and socialism, were temporarily and tactically adopted and made use of by the mainstream revolutionary movement. However, after the revolution the established power made it clear these “Western-influenced thoughts” are incompatible with the prevailing Islamic Revolution’s ideology. With the aim of restoration of the country’s independence, that which was/is internal and Islamic became a virtue and was sanctified and whatever was/is foreign/ external/ Western became a vice and was negated. In this manner, the ideational semantics of signs and signifiers of IRI’s regional security were established as significantly opposing the United States of America.

            One should view the identitarian signifiers and identity signs of IRI as reflecting the ideology of revolution as well as the orientation of the regional security semiotics. Iran’s foreign policy in the period after the Islamic revolution was/is affected and formed by three integral components. First component is the reflection of the ideological symbols of the Islamic Revolution as they became manifested in IRI’s foreign policy. The second component is the ideological orientations of the country’s political elite and in particular the leaders of the revolution that played a decisive role. The third component is a function of various parameters of the concept of “the export of the revolution” and it becomes more of a radical revolutionary movement of expansion and promotion of the Islamic revolution in other geographic areas (Tahayi, 1387 SH/2008 CE: 45).

            The Islamic Revolution with an anti-Western paradigm resisting foreign domination came to declare its goals in the slogans of demanding “independence, freedom, and the Islamic republic.” The demand for independence came to include not only emancipation from foreign domination, Western hegemony, and all that which was considered dependent on the West that is to say the Shah of Iran and his modernization agendas, but also emancipation from Western thought and way of life. This included Western solutions that were prescribed condescendingly from above to solve Iran’s problems. The ultimate goal admittedly was liberation from the Western dominated system of international governance which according to the viewpoint of founders of Iran’s revolution was governed by Western thoughts and by Western powers only to continue their domination over the Islamic countries. By including other Muslims, other Islamic countries, in this mission and via the interconnection of all the above mentioned anti-hegemonic indicators with the proposed concept of “the export of the revolution,” Iran’s regional security semiotic systems of signs and signifiers were dispersed to other countries with an Islam-centered ideational and identitarian model of ideals.

            In this regard the notion of “liberty” as represented in the famous revolutionary slogan of “independence, liberty, and the Islamic Republic” was articulated as more of a freedom of action against the domination of the West rather than a means to create civil and political liberties. The “West” that the Islamic Revolution sought to emancipate from its domination included the U.S, the Shah (king) of Iran, regional and governments around the world who were affiliated with or dependent on Western powers, modern Western thoughts and ideologies including liberalism, socialism, communism, nationalism, international institutions and organizations, and dominant International norms and governing rules. All the factors mentioned above that become signified within the ideological framework of the Islamic Revolution show that Iran’s regional security semiology as an approach is interconnected with various manifestations of ideational semantics. In other words the semantics of these ideational indicators, how they become significant in meaning-making processes have had an impact on Iran’s regional security semiotics.

2-    Xenophobia, Refutation of Foreign Hegemony and the Doctrine of Nafy-e Sabil (Negation of Domination of Non-Muslims over Muslims)

            Further, among identity-based and behavioral indicators that are significant in studying the regional security of IRI though a semiotics lens, are convoluted impulses of what can loosely be called xenophobia. In order to further apprehend and analyze these impulses as they manifest in the foreign policy practices and characteristics of IRI, one can refer to the positions and opinions of the founders and leaders of the Islamic Revolution. In particular, to find traces of this xenophobia one can pay more attention to the macro level objectives, fundamentals, main slogans, and the revolutionary attitude and views towards the outside world.

            Analysis of beliefs of the leaders of the Islamic Revolution sheds a relatively clear light on their overall objectives for the future of the Islamic Revolution, the fundamental principles of IRI, the main aspirations and political orientations of IRI’s foreign policy. These are the leaders’ systems of thoughts and propositions in the early stages of the revolution that later become coherently organized in the framework of the constitution of IRI and the executive government further implements them to give precedence to these thoughts in international sphere and to pursue them as governing practices of foreign policy. IRI’s political leaders in all post-revolution periods thus far, have given much emphasis to these doctrinal positions of the Islamic Revolution (Imam Khomeini, 1381 SH/2002 CE: 22).

            Accordingly the dialectical relations continue and the thoughts and opinions of the revolutionary leaders which in the evolution of IRI’s practices have become the focus of the policies and demands of the Islamic Revolution as well as the country’s foreign policy confirm and give precedence to the anti-foreigner stances of IRI’s leaders. This loose traces of xenophobia as mentioned earlier become manifested in the anti-Western hegemony sentiments, the active opposition to the material and intellectual domination and influence of the West, and the ultimate proposition of return to a state of non-reliance by employing domestically formulated solutions to solve the problems within the country.

            This particular anti-foreigner stance is considered an ideological symbol and a sign in the strategic regional security semiotics of the Islamic revolution. These seminal demands which were first manifested in the slogans of “independence, freedom, and the Islamic republic,” sought freedom of action in the international sphere, they also strived for the restoration of the Muslim/self esteem in the international arena. Freedom of action and Iran’s dignity, in the opinion of the leaders of the Islamic Revolution was hijacked, appropriated, and heavily sabotaged due to foreign domination and dependence of the Shah’s regime on Western powers. This process of hijacking was also possible due to the hegemony of Western thought over Iran’s administration and system of governance. According to the leaders of the revolution, it was now time for the restoration of the nation’s self-esteem by revival of Islamic thought and relying on self, rather than the other.

            The text of the speeches of the late leader of the Islamic Revolution‒Ayatollah Khomeini‒ as well as the text of the Iranian constitution is enough evidence to attest to the above. This anti-foreign hegemony stance targeted and objected the domination of the Soviet Union, the United States and other political actors with (neo)imperialist agendas as well as those who desired (neo)colonial expansions.

            In the interview on May 6th, 1978 (16th of Ordibehesht, 1357 SH), the Le Monde correspondent asks Ayatollah Khomeini what the IRI’s political stance and position is towards the Soviet Union which at the time was a great neighbor of Iran. Ayatollah Khomeini responds:

[…] the same position and stance that we have adopted towards the United States; I do not see a difference between them and even the British. These superpowers exploit our people. When Iran became truly independent, then we can develop and establish equal and thriving relations with all nations in this world. (Imam Khomeini, 1381 SH/2002 CE: 68)

            The position of IRI’s leaders’ towards regional security from a semiotics point of departure orients against the world’s powerful nations’ expansionism. As one can conclude from Ayatollah Khomeini’s words, maintaining an everlasting independence, a disposition to renounce any dependence on world’s hegemonic powers is a precondition for relations with the world and particularly the unreasonable superpowers. This principle of negation of foreign hegemony later presents itself as the most important pillar of governing strategy of IRI’s foreign policy. Ayatollah Khomeini in a public address on Nov 2nd, 1978 (11th of Aban, 1978 SH), on the subject of Mohammad Reza Shah’s land reforms and the civilizational discourse of royalty celebrating kingdoms in Iran says:

We want independence, we want to run and manage our own country, we do not want be under others’ supervision. This country is ours, the good, the bad, whatever it is, it is ours, and we do not want others [i.e. Western powers] to interfere in our country. (ibid: 156)

            Such an anti-supremacist domination was introduced as symbol of the Iranian state’s approach of interactionism against the expansionist powers as late as 1979. Gradually, the grand determiner which was articulated in a general outline to be “an independent means of governing the country outside the influence of foreigners,” was raised as a more explicit form of foreign policy principle and an ideal of the Islamic Revolution. The slogan of “No to East, No to West, Only the Islamic Republic” in its essence is representing this foreign policy principle. Opposition to any foreign interference and celebratory remarks on the need for a return to “oneself” and negation and exclusion of foreigners and the Western world from domestic affairs has always been the apparent dominant paradigm of the revolutionary leaders’ speeches.

            For example, the late revolutionary leader in an interview with Brazilian, British, and Thai journalists conducted on November 9th, 1979 (18th of Aban 1357 SH) in response to a question regarding IRI’s foreign policy, especially in relations with the world’s superpowers emphasizes anti-colonialist stances, signs and signifiers of the revolution and says:

The Islamic government’s policy is maintaining independence and the freedom of the nation and the state. Mutual international respect can only be achieved when we have complete independence. In this regard there is no difference between the hegemonic superpowers or other states; we need to maintain our independence.” (ibid: 48)

On the same subject in an interview conducted on the same day Ayatollah Khomeini emphasizes that: “The principle that in unchanging and solid is that our foreign policy should be based on maintaining the country’s freedom and independence as well as protecting the interests of the Iranian nation” (ibid: 22).

            Iran’s regional security semiotics indicators post-1979 has always been a combination of various ideationalist oppositions against the powerful in the world. Independence and freedom in the context of this Ayatollah Khomeini speech and other speeches, more than anything else brings to mind freedom of action against foreign/Western domination in the international arena. In this view, basically all Iran’s troubles had external causes and were due to external hegemonies. Accordingly by eliminating foreign influence and domination the whole of the country’s problems could be resolved by relying on Iran’s own assets, especially by virtue of depending on the Islamic heritage.      

            One can potentially consider any independentist movement as a reactionary campaign against great powers in the developing regions of the world. Iran’s overall foreign policy revolves around maintaining the country’s independence, preventing any foreign/ Western influence and is characterized by mistrust towards the international system as an order that is formed to establish the hegemony of Western powers over the world. In addition to the notion and condition of independence as characterizing IRI, negation of all dominance and submission to the mastery of others were added clauses to the constitution of IRI (Gasiorowski and Keddie, 1379 SH/2000 CE: 238).

            Independentist impulses are interwoven with signs of struggle against submission to the mastery of hegemonies. In this regard article 152 of IRI’s constitution in a specific connection to the country’s foreign policy says:

The foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is based on the rejection of all forms of domination, both the exertion of it and submission to it, the preservation of the independence of the country in all respects and its territorial integrity, the defense of the rights of all Muslims, non-alignment with respect to the hegemonic superpowers, and the maintenance of mutually peaceful relations with all non-belligerent States.

            The fundamental constituents of this article were established in the speeches of Ayatollah Khomeini after the formation of IRI as an official state and the writing of its constitution to signify the prevailing spirit of the Islamic Revolution and its foreign policy. For example, Ayatollah Khomeini in a speech addressing the Lebanese Amal movement on October 8th, 1981 (6th of Aban, 1360 SH) declares:

The leaders of the Iranian Revolution have adopted an oppositional stance against the hostile threats of the superpowers. We will not submit or negotiate with any of these superpowers, we will not be dominated by the United States, nor will we go under the influence of the Soviets. We are Muslims. We want to live our simple lives, be it as a poor nation, but we want to be free and independent. We do not want to get down on our knees and beg foreigners for this so called progress and civilization. We do not want this civilization. We want a civilization that is grounded on dignity and humanity; a civilization that maintains peace on these grounds. These superpowers want to hijacked the humanity of human beings and enslave it to their own mastery. You and I and every Muslim are obliged to stand in front of them. We must not compromise. We must object and reject proposals, such as the ones that people like Anwar El Sadat and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia propose. It is upon us to stand against and condemn these propositions that deprive the poor nations of their rights to livelihood and well being. (Imam Khomeini, 1381 SH/2002 CE: 48)

            Although most revolutions are in “essence” anti-colonial; however, in the regional security semiotics of IRI this anti-colonial sentiments have been interlocked with oppositional and confrontational politics. The content of revolutionary leaders’ speeches‒if looked upon as empirical evidences‒ suggest that the fundamental pillars of IRI’s foreign policy is rejection of foreign domination and striving for independence from any foreign influence. Therefore, IRI is willing by all means to bear all the potential costs of adopting such confrontational policies. In paying such a high price in the area of international relations, IRI is not following any of the established cost and benefit models and conventional norms of foreign policy that other countries follow.

3-    Freedom of Action and Activism in International Politics

            Ruhollah Ramazani articulates the notion of freedom of action in the semiotics of regional security of IRI. This notion of freedom of action is considered a reflection of the ideals of Islamic Revolution in IRI’s international politics. Empirical analysis of the evolution of foreign policy post-1979 show that the domestic/internal politics of the Islamic revolution, its principles, objectives, essential qualities are the main determinants of macro decisions and orientations in foreign policy of IRI. All of these factors work together to reject foreign domination and to maintain independence and freedom of action in terms of emancipating from the material and the intellectual influence of that which is external/ foreigner/ Western and accordingly celebrating and sanctifying that which is internal/Islamic/self.

            Any kind of freedom of action on part of the IRI in the international sphere could translate into manifestations of variability in the process of a semiotics articulation of regional security of IRI. This notion of freedom of action on its own seems to be one of the dominant paradigms representing IRI’s foreign policy and therefore, an appropriate underlying basis for developing a theoretical framework to analyze the qualities, functionality, and the operation of IRI’s conduct in the realm of international politics. The concept of “freedom of action,” according to Ruhollah Ramazani’s articulation refers to effective optimization of the notion of “action” so that freedom to act within the existing international order prevails in order to persist on the ideational interests of IRI.

            Iran’s “freedom of action” in the sphere of regional security‒ if looked upon with a semiotics approach‒ is founded on strategic competence and ideological operations. The freedom to act, here, conveys that Iran regardless of the standing power, influence, and domination of any other international actor, aims to to pursue the country’s own aspirations, goals and policies in the international sphere to the best of possibilities. Obviously, freedom of action in the international arena is only possible in a relational and relative configuration with all other political actors; that is to say acquisition of an absolute freedom of action is impossible even for the superpowers. Regardless of this, overstressing the strives for maximization of relative/relational freedom of action in the international sphere is a foundational concept to be looked upon in order to better explain Iran’s foreign policy conduct. It is in light this particular articulation of this concept of “freedom of action” that the actions of leaders of developing countries to express their efforts in the aftermath of independence become meaningful. In order to optimize and boost their country’s freedom of action in the international sphere leaders often articulate concepts such as “absolute” autonomy, “real” independence, “true” self-rule (Ramezani, 1382 SH/2003 CE: 66).

            There exists a correlative connectedness amongst concepts such as freedom of action, independentist tendencies, and oppositional confrontation against international superpowers. It seems that the main focal demands of the Islamic Revolution which directs the foreign conduct of IRI is the endeavoring attempt to acquire freedom of action to promote the country’s esteem in the international arena. 

4-    Interactionism to Attain Equality of Political Role

            In terms of international law all countries stand in the same place; however, the reality of international politics works based on competing power. IRI foreign policy based on the qualities of its foreign policy, its identity, interests, and the conduct adopted in relations with the outside world, adheres to its critical role which constitutes a relativist position in deploying and establishing a productive interaction and a constructive balance both within the national and global sphere of obligations as well as the requirements of development. Adoption of this particular role is in part a response to actual historical developments that the outside world has imposed on Iran such as political tensions after the Islamic Revolution, Iran-Iraq war, etc…. On the other hand the very particular subjective constructs, mental structures, and the particular protective security-centered attitudes of the leaders and founders of IRI, that revolve around national security politics in relation to the surrounding world has lead to adoption of this particular form of international conduct that constantly negotiates and interacts for an equal role.              

            Equality of political roles can potentially be achieved when the signs signifying the fundamental frames of subjective minds of various political actors are structured relationally and methodically. This pervious statement works if you were to adopt a constructivist view that accepts the world we live in is a social as well as a physical space. Humans as such are physical beings capable of social life as social actors in the world. The world we create is constructed around the social relations we have that give meaning to the physical and material conditions of life. The collectiveness of all relations that is the relational configurations of all these social associations can affect the conduct of revolutionary countries if one looks upon regional security issues from a semiotics point of departure (Ramezani, 1383 SH/2004 CE: 45).    

            For Iran and other countries that strive to assert their identity in the international sphere, the attempt to gain equal political rights and an equal role is often one of the main regional security goals. As Nicholas Onuf puts it each of us live in our own world and yet we all are together in one world. We all experience the world we live in actively, thorough actions and reactions. Living together in one world is not merely to act, to take action “within” this world but to do so “upon” this world. The world as humans know it is constructed upon the sum of all human reciprocal actions, interactions, and reactions. In accordance to this constructivist assumption, there is no absolute precondition or requirement that obliges in the world of international relations.

            Everything in the surrounding social world that we perceive is shaped around social constructions, reciprocity of human relations, (inter)relational intellectual connections, and exchanging of emotions; the construction of all these is affected by both material and ideational structures. In case of IRI, the semiotics of ideational constructs does not correlate with corresponding material constructs and functionalist models as they relate to the regional security of the country. This lack of correlation, leads to much variation, disparity and incongruity in approaches of IRI to various political processes (Walker, 1993: 45).

            The constructivist approaches are useful in their reinterpretation of issues of analysis. According to constructivist view, mainstream discipline of IR and foreign policy assumes and articulates fundamental issues and concepts such as anarchy, nation-state, national interests as concepts that hold on a priori ground, on preexisting matters‒as subject of theoretical deduction rather than empirical observations. Constructivists, therefore, take issue with these mainstream disciplinary assumptions and challenge this “problematic” by proposing a re-articulation and reinterpretation of issues of analysis as hitherto interrelated social constructs.

            In the constructivist view any assertion of identity and identitarian politics can potentially be a means to achieve and attain equal political roles. In this process, the construction of subjective structures and social norms is as significant as the effect of material structures on the behavioral patterns of actors, be it individuals or governments. It is the structures of the social norms combined with the intellectual processes within systems of thought that brings about different interpretations of the material structure to the mind of the human actor. By the same token, the constructionist view holds that identities are manifestations and reflection of interests and therefore the sources of inspirations, behaviors, and actions of political agents. In other words, constructed identities are foundations of constructed interests. In the constructivist view there is a vested interdependence and correlation between interests and identity roles. Any identitarian partisanship or a refashioned working of identity politics can create new forms of conflicts and hostilities in the semiotics of regional security. This is a reflection of the ever-changing instability of identities and interests (Wendt, 1987: 338).

            Based on the constructivist analysis, the configurations, attributes, and qualities of the reciprocal relations of self with others in an inter-cognitive, inter-subjective framework determines our identity. This identity construct, further determines (national)interests within a regional security semiotics understanding of the very identity that correlates with and signifies  (national)interests. For example, since the nature of Unites States’ relations with Iran and with Canada is completely dissimilar, different identities are constructed in US relations with Canada and Iran. The United States has established different standards of relations with Iran and Canada as far as US interests, benefits, opportunities and threats are concerned. In foreign policy processes, the United States cannot possibly designate equivalent political roles in relation to other countries in a manner that yields identical or even similar perceptual configurations. For example, US cannot have identical policy arrangements in relation to a country like Iran, vs. in relation to any of the many allies of United States. 

            Identities and interests can be reflective of the coming together of various ideational, material, and semantic models in regional security semiotics. This particular articulation of correlation of identities and interests in constructivist view is distinct from the dominated mainstream views in studies of IR, as well as the regional security semiotics. In fact, as Alexander Wendt argues in the mainstream international relations view ‒unlike the constructivist view‒ identities and interests of political actors are non-changing, objective, external, and preexisting (Tajik, 1375 SH/1996:66).

            Any identitarian partisanship and advantageous employment of identity politics can potentially bring to realization the interests of the political actors involved. As oppose to intersubjective understanding of constructivism, the mainstream studies of IR superficially assume identities and interests are a priory that is objective and non-changing. The mainstream theories of IR in theorizing identities and interests merely focus on an “action-reaction” axis of analysis and answer solely questions of “how” and “why” certain actions on part of political actors would generate certain reactions and consequences in the sphere of international relations as well as regional security semiotics. The constructivist framework is suitable for understanding and analyzing IRI’s regional security semiotics and it can potentially provide an appropriate reflective approach for analyzing IRI’s political  and  international resolutions. This is mainly because ideationalism is interwoven with macro goals and aspirations of the Islamic Revolution and its regional security semiotics (Nye, 1990: 155).

            Accordingly, Iran’s foreign policy conduct, the ideological structure of the Islamic Revolution, the idealist subjective constructions, and the ideational constructs make the application of conventional and mainstream theories of IR limiting for the complexities involved in the context of IRI. However, constructivism is the way to go, if one is concerned with the multiplicities of the ideational/idealist meaning producing semantics of regional security semiotics of IRI. Needless to say, according to theoretical alliances, any group offers a particular approach to regional security semiotics (Hajiyousefi, 1384 SH/2005 CE: 18).

            One of the significant signs in a constructivist approach to regional security semiotics of IRI is the ever-chancing always differing course of actions involved. The fundamental principle of constructivist social theory is based on the argument that people act toward objects in accordance to the meanings that the objects have for them and the meaning objects have upon them. Accordingly political agents and states too, organize their actions, reactions, and interactions differently based on different contexts and in compliance with social knowledge and meaning producing structures that work against enemies or in favor of friends. Semantic structure, meaning producing social knowledge on the Islamic Revolution is a reflection of various ideational signs.

            Regional security semiotics goals are of diverse qualities. Distribution of power and capabilities always affects governments’ calculations in assessment of regional security semiotics. This process is in turn affected by perception of self in relation with the other‒i.e. the inter-cognitive, subjective, and mental reciprocal relations. Public inter-cognitive consensus, public reason, and public producing meanings develop structures that in turn organize and construct governments (re)actions within the semiotics of regional security. At every particular period of time, certain signs accordingly will be reflecting the particular context of identitarian politics and this makes the drive for equality of political roles an everlasting effort to be always carried on in conformity with various times and contexts (Onuf, 1989: 22).

            Agents and political actors acquire identity by participating in socially constructed collective  meaning producing reasons. That is to say that the process of identity making and identity in the making works within the comprehension of the inter-cognitive consensus that itself constructs public perceptions and public reason. The collectiveness of these identities that are fundamentally constructed on the basis of underlying societal interactions and reciprocal relations, shape and construct (national)interests. The agents and political actors involved in the realm of (national)interests are not pre-existing beings which stand outside the socially constructed structure of relations and interactions. The interests of political actors, or agents‒ be it individual or states‒are shaped in a process of identity construction which is itself constructed upon social processes, qualities of mutual relations, and interactions with other agents and actors‒ again be it individuals or state.

            Another constructivist characteristic of the government before entering the aforementioned interactions tends to be the inclination to retain the material means for its own survival. Since actors possess no perception of “self” prior to engagement and interaction with the “other,” their comprehensions of notion of survival‒the needs and means of vitality‒depends on the processes by which the conceptual meaning of “self” evolves and is (re)constructed. This process of producing meanings of “self” based on obligations, requirements‒the needs and the means‒can be either constructed through interaction and cooperation with others, or through confrontation and conflict with others.

            Based on constructivism, IRI’s behavior, political conduct, and semiotic orientations concerning the regional security of the country are not pre-decided, firmly eternal, and essentially unchanging. The characteristics and the quality of IRI’s behaviors and interests are fundamentally based on the identitarian quality and the identity politics that IRI has adopted and constructed for itself in relation to others in the international world (Hill,1387 SH/2008 CE: 68).       

The character, quality, and dominant paradigms governing the IRI’s international politics, weather confrontational or interactive, is not only dependent on imposed reality of external world and the international system of politics, but also on the stem of social raw material, content, and meaning that the Iranian domestic society constructs. These social constructs in turn affect the construction of subjective ideational and cognitive perception of the ruling elite and further the external behavior of the Islamic Republic, i.e. its foreign policy. The above processes, therefore, are partly determined and affected by a cascade of constructions of identities and interests that originate from domestic Iranian society.

            Various constructed identities and interests associated with IRI, are in fact founded on the history of confrontational relations that came into official existence during the Islamic Revolution‒ that is mainly conflicts between Iran and the Western world. The oppositional relations of IRI with the West itself is constructed product of material, ideational, subjective structures that (re)shape these processes as violent confrontational relationships (Cook, 2003: 14).

            Processes of (inter)national social transformations that the Islamic Revolution was shaped within, all affected its particular international identity in the realm of actions and reactions leading to (post)revolutionary climate. These include the campaigns leading up to the Islamic Revolution, the (post)revolutionary political conflicts, political tensions with the West, economic sanctions, the Iraq imposed eight-year war against Iran, etc…. All the above historical processes gave rise to the construction of the dominant oppositional ideational political content as well as the militaristic and security-based forms of confrontational paradigms of action that the IRI now holds against the West (Burgat, 2002: 28).

            On the other hand, the ideational/subjective structures governing the thoughts and minds of the revolutionary leaders of IRI also display security-based confrontational dispositions against the West. This opposition of the leaders to the West is partly a response to the actual colonial domination and the general hegemonic influence of the West over the destiny of third world. On the other hand, these sentiments are also a product of those Islamic discourses and thoughts that find the West responsible for the problems of Islamic countries and Muslims’ hardships and argue that this is due to hegemonic rule of the West and Western thought on material, cultural, and spiritual affairs of Muslims. Accordingly, the rejection and refusal of the West and the international system under Western dominance, manifested as a (re)construction of a spectacle of eternal confrontation and irreconcilable differences between the Islamic world (Dar al-Islam) and the land of the non-believers (Dar al-kufr). This becomes evident in the always present anti-Western, anti-colonial, anti-hegemonic paradigms of thought and action in the domestic sphere of the Islamic Revolution as well as the international sphere of foreign conduct (Dehghani Firouzabadi, 1388 SH/2009 CE : 241).

            The predominance of these oppositional material /ideational/subjective constructs on relations of IRI and the Western world has brought along with it persistence of a confrontational security-based quality of reciprocal relations. As such IRI has defined its identity as antagonistic towards the West. As might be excepted, therefore, (national)interests constructed upon such derived relational identities would be inimical to consoling the West by any mean or respecting Western interests (Tajik, 1387 SH/2008 CE: 49).

            However, this performative spectacle of eternal hostility of IRI towards the West as visible in the regional security semiotics of IRI is not quite an ever-lasting, never-ending phenomenon that one might merely associate with discourses representing the “aftermath of the revolution” or the political processes originating from the Islamic Revolution. This oppositional conduct is also very much so shaped by the dialogical and dialectical international hostilities towards IR. That is to say that the foreign behavior of the IRI that centers on security-based confrontational paradigms against international pressures is based on subjective and objective structures (ideational and material structures) governing these very same relations. A far as regional security semiotics determine and shape , in relation with Western powers’ hegemony, the processes of dialectical identity construction, constructs reactionary and reflexive perceptions of interests of the IRI as apposing those of the West.          

            Within the subjective and objective structures (ideational and material) that construct the political paradigms of relations between the IRI and the West, certain strategies have been functional less frequently. These include economic developments, strengthening Iran’s national power, increasing freedom of action within the international sphere, boosting the country’s international esteem, and building national security through gaining economic power in more operational relationship with the West. Nevertheless, a refashioning of international relations would be possible if ideational and subjective structures of outward looking policies of economic interaction and development were to be promoted, encouraged and implemented among decision-makers and the ruling elite of the IRI. Since Iran is situated in a very economically prosperous and dynamic region, changing of the necessary conditions and prerequisites can lead to transformations of foreign policy methodologies, approaches, and operations. These potential transformations can construct the needed infrastructure for resolution of conflicts and disequilibrium (Dehghani Firouzabadi, 1388 SH/2009: 228).

5-    Identitarian Activism

            Identity is possibly the most significant sign to be looked at when one aims to analyze the regional security semiotics with a constructivist approach. On the other hand, identity, and the processes of identity construction brings about the type of relationships, resources, and particular foreign conduct of the IRI. The making of IRI foreign policy is affected by the making of its identity: that is the identification that occurs in relation to the dominant material, ideational, subjective, and normative structures of Islamic revolution as well as the manifest texts of this revolution like the constitution. These structures that have lead to the developing of conflict-prone relations between IRI and the West are primarily grounded on anti-foreign negation of the West on an ideological basis (Edelman, 2001: 288).

            Analysis of these dominant normative structures and texts that are associated with them also shows that the issue of conflict resolution and development of interactions with the Western world, with the particular aims of acquiring economic power, increasing the scope of freedom of action, boosting Iran’s international esteem, strengthening national security through promotion of outward-looking policies of development have not contributed significantly to foreign policy and behavior of IRI. In fact, the issues of economic development and economic power is a much ignored indispensable matter within the dominant structures and prevailing spirit of the Islamic Revolution as well as the underlying the construct of identity and interests within the conduct of Islamic Republic’s foreign policy.

            Any of these signs of identity can be various manifestations of resistance and de-structuralism in regional security semiotics of IRI. The dominant mission-orientated constructs of the Islamic Revolution have lead to formation and adoption of a trans-boundary identity by the IRI‒within foreign policy frameworks‒that is defined beyond Iran’s national borders and generally stands at odds with the West. These anti-Western constructs of identity are in part due to the lived experiences of the social world surrounding Iran, inside Iran and the Islamic Revolution. This is in turn because the direct and indirect influence and domination of the West over material and intellectual aspects of lives and living conditions in the political, economic and social sphere of developing countries is an irrefutable reality. In order to maintain independence, a kind of a Westophobia and extreme sensitivity to the hegemony of the outside world has become a normative sentiment in IRI possibly due to the fear of continuing Western dominance over the subjective, ideational, and normative constructs governing the Islamic Revolution (Tahayi, 1387 SH/2008 CE: 86).

            Identity can contribute to and build resistance power. Identity is considered the main symbol and sign of resistance against threats in the semiology of the regional security of IRI. Reliance upon self and independence against foreign influence became the fundamental value governing the spirit of the Islamic Revolution. Also since the West and the whole international system is perceived to function on a sphere of interaction that inevitably brings about the material and intellectual influence of the West upon (in)direct correspondences that follow, confronting the West has became the dominant rival-less paradigm of thought, governing the ideational and subjective constructs as well as the relations, identity, interests and foreign behavior of Islamic Republic.

            In semiotics of regional security of IRI, missionarism facilitates the dispatch of IRI’s identity from one geographic region to other areas. The proposed return to Islam and to the foundations of Islamic thought similarly fortifies the confrontational ideational structures of opposition to the Western world. The prescription of the return to the underlying principles of Islam was due to the perception that all the misfortunes of Islamic countries were due to material and intellectual influence of the West over Muslims’ livelihood and destiny. The solution was to keep away from West and to prevent their infiltration. Obviously, this sort of mentality and ideational approach to the West could not lead to interactional and peaceful relations with the Western world. As such, the founders of Islamic Revolution not only challenged and opposed direct influence and domination of the West, but also stood against and negated Western theories, thought, and intellectual trends.

            Islamism can reconstruct identity and also restore the Islamic identity as a sign, a contributing infrastructure to the semiotics of regional security. This identity construction revolving around Islamic virtue is itself both a product and a necessity of the proposed return to Islamic principles of political governance. In general, this particular Islamic view critiques the segregation of human populations by borders of modern nation-state model and argues that the real boundaries are not the territorial frontiers but the frontiers of faith and belief in Islam. As such Islamists imagine the world according to their own perception of boundaries by mapping it into the irreconcilable war between the lands of the Muslim believers (Dar al-Islam) and the lands of the non-believers (Dar al-kufr). Allameh Tabatabaei on the subject of Islamic state and its boundaries of it in this time and age says:

The boundaries of the Islamic state are the frontiers of faith, principles, and thought, not geographical and political boundaries. Various groups of people depending on their efforts and endeavors in life have gotten hold of all these pieces of land of the lands of this earth and they have called this their homeland and they have defended it with all their power. This need for a homeland, this act of adopting one although is natural requirements of life, a yearning to fulfill, a desire that nature have commanded people to fulfill, but it is not without one fault. This is incompatible with one particular human need, one natural need of people. These nations, these populations come together in order to form a homeland and within the boundaries of the homeland citizens are called upon to join this unity of the nation, this oneness, this integration. However, this itself is a fault, this assumption of oneness, separates and segregates nations from other nations. Islam stands against this segregation of people. Islam does not support this branching of people, this divergence of human society based, race, land, etc…. Nations for Islam are built on faith, based on their belief …. (Dehghani Firouzabadi, 1388 SH/2009 CE: 225)

            Religious institutions can potentially produce political and ideological norms. The pillar of this process of construction of ideology, in this case, is religious belief and faith. This consolidation of faith and religious belief as the grounds for distinguishing humans is observable in the ideational constructs governing the spirit of the Islamic Revolution and the IRI’s constitution which stands at odds with the principles of nationalism which is the pillar of the order of formation of modern nation-states. Or one can even say modern nation-states (as the founding units of the new international order) and nationalism (as the determinant ideology of this system of governmentality) stood at odds with prevailing Islamic views on manners of governing, mapping, and bordering the international order and the world. This opposition to nationalist ideology and national systems of governance is itself a sign of the identitarian realities of IRI’s regional security semiotics.  

            Therefore, in the circumstances surrounding these faith-based world views, there is not much possibility of IRI to interact and associate with the Western world and the international system. The manner in which the IRI’s particular Islamic view imagines faith, desires belief, and encloses human groupings and borders, the manner in which they confront and negate the current international system leads to a powerful ideational/subjective/normative structure that constantly (re)fashions the ongoing process of the construction of identities, interests and the foreign policy behavior of IRI.

            Many Islamist theorists argue that the Islamic religious identity is an integral part of the realities of political behavior of IRI as well as the regional security semiotics. Allameh Helli in his book the Tazkara discussing possible verdicts on the issue of abandoned children talks about the boundaries of Islamic land as well as other boundaries in this world according to Islamic view. He distinguishes the land of Islam (Dar al-Islam) from the land of the disbelief (Dar al-kufr) by arguing that the land of Islam is where Muslims have been established and built properties and structures, they are lands that are owned by Muslims and have been purchased by them, and lands that have been captured by Muslims in war. The land of disbelief, Dar al-kufr in this geopolitical division is accordingly two categories  of  lands: the land which has always belonged to disbelievers, has been established by non-believers and it is currently owned by them, or the land that previously belonged to Muslims and has been captured, or is now currently at the possession of non-believers (Ramezani, 1382 SH/2003 CE: 67).

            Dar al-Islam is organized according to religious identity. This religious identity itself is a contributing sign in the regional security semiotics of IRI. In the framework of Islamic thought, this differentiating separation of believers and disbelievers is not merely a neutral impartial mapping of international boundaries. Muslims and “infidels” are not imagined as those who continue to live their lives in two separate geographical areas despite the obvious faith-based disputes. In the Islamic framework of thought, this construction of boundaries occurs with a mission of protecting the sanctity of Islam as well as missionary commitments. Muslims are obliged to spread and expand the faith of the Dar al-Islam with full force around the world by all different means. Embracing such a mission for the Islamic state, obviously will lead to conflict with the Western world.

            Identitarian constructs are a reflection of ideational and subjective constructs. The subjective mind constructs the foundation of political action. It is the subjective structure of IRI that has made “confronting the West” into a determining factor for structuring of political actions as far as Iran’s foreign policy is concerned. It is around the concept of challenging the global arrogant states and the continual struggle against those who claim superiority that this particular IRI subjective construct manifests; a subjective construct that endorses a confrontational identity for IRI and prescribes oppositional relations with the West within the realm of foreign policy. This perspective is consistent with the fight against global hegemonic arrogance based on the Islamic viewpoint regarding international boundaries of Dar al-Islam vs. the Dar al-kufr (Ramezani, 1382 SH/2003 CE: 68).

            One of the main factors shaping the power of resistance is smart use of identity politics by taking advantage of favorable identitarian rhetoric and terminology. Generally speaking, the analytical and systematic foundations of IRI’s foreign policy when referring to arrogant hegemony-seeking powers (estekbar), they mean non-believers. However, the estekbar, does not include all non-believers, it is only those who in addition to being “infidels” are supremacist in terms of wealth, power, and domination compared to others in this world. In other words, the exact terminology used‒ i.e. estekbar‒refers back to those arrogant leader of non-believers (be it individuals or states) that are running the central command of the Dar al-kufr, controlling everywhere else in this world. In IRI’s framework of thought, the irreconcilable struggle against the global arrogant powers‒the estekbar‒and the global world order under their command is one of the most important missions of Islamic Revolution and IRI’s foreign policy.

This confrontation of the world’s arrogant powers, on one hand comprises a functional role, and on the other hand is evaluated as an identity-based factor. In this regard, some thinkers and statesmen of the Islamic Republic of Iran view the processes of globalization as a continuation of colonial ambitions of Western governments. They believe that hegemonic, military and economic powers‒as always‒are using globalization as a new colonial means, as a refashioned politics of neo-colonialism to usurp the wealth of the world and divide it among their own allies exclusively. They further argue that in this time and age, the hegemonic powers are creating a new international order under the pretext of globalization to further extent their hegemony around the globe, especially in the countries of the Middle East.

            Each of these Islamist theorists insists on some aspect of resistance and confrontation against the threats from the West. According to these Islamist thinkers, the main architects of the dominant paradigms of globalization are after absolute‒all in all facet ‒global hegemony over all aspect of human life and livelihood including the political, cultural, economic and social spheres. In this clash the target goal of this Western domination is especially Islamic countries who have become the center subject of emphasis in order to pressure them to leave their Islamic principles and to accept the requirements of joining this globalization; that is to submit to acceptable interaction with the West (Castells, 1380 SH/2001 CR: 44).

            Any identitarian construct is itself built on subjective constructs and is (re)constructible within ideational, semantic, and conceptual frameworks. The dominance of these subjective, security-centered and confrontational constructs has resulted in the formation of very particular IRI identity as well as relations based on (re)construction of the continuous struggle of good and evil, right and wrong, Dar al-Islam and Dar al-kufr. The forces behind these struggles imagine the core basis of the current international system of relations to be perceptible in the continuous confrontation of Islam and the West.

            Some analysts map this international system as concentric circles with the IRI standing at the center representing the emperor of Dar al-Islam and United States stands at the outmost layer as the arrogant supremacist power, the emperor of the Dar al-kufr and the estekbar. These analysts perceive the structure and current formations of international order as ultimately constructed upon the participatory rivalry between these two heterogeneous powers of Islam/Iran and the West/United States. The sum of all these conflicts between US and IRI seems to be configuring the future of the international order.

            Concepts such as reconciling differences, resistance, cooperation, and pragmatism in Iran’s regional security semiology cannot have much meaning or function, unless one adopts an ideational conceptual framework of analysis. Generally speaking, these ideational subjective structures as well as the corresponding configurations of international relations, have constructed a confrontational identity for the Islamic Republic of Iran‒ i.e. as the one who opposes the West. Therefore, the constructed interests of the IRI within the sphere of foreign policy have also been marked as following a pattern of dispute, disagreement, and confrontational behavior towards the West. In the midst of these entire confrontations one can also find instances of mutual cooperation and participation in political, economic, and security issues that occur occasionally in the processes of foreign policy interactions of Iran and the US. These instances are of course a reflection of each situation and actors subjective perception of the real world, real politics. These occasions are also a product of the conditions in which intersubjectivity and reciprocal subjective relations become feasible through approaches adopted by IRI’s foreign policy elites and actors. Perception of political reality is formed in “real” spaces and reflections of this reality are represented and accordingly (re)produced in social spaces (Motaghi and Kazemi, 1386 SH/2007 CE: 218).

Conclusion
            Iran’s regional security semiotics is formed within normative/ideational perceptions. These ideational and normative constructs have lead to adoption of identitarian political performances in the regional and international sphere of political behavior. On the other hand, these ideational constructs have also promoted action based on perceptual and normative models. This indicates that Iran’s regional security semiotics cannot be approached with the structuralism of neo-realist theories of International Relations nor can it be compatible with the power-centered analysis of realist theories in the field of international politics.

            All various signs analyzed in this paper indicated that the regional security policies of IRI aspires to have a domestically constructed quality and as such negates the influence of world powers over strategic goals of the regional countries. To realize these target goals of the IRI, one can pay more attention to the main indicators within the central framework of constructivist analysis:

1-    The normative necessities of regional security semiotics of IRI require that this country tries out and evaluates at least some aspects of “self-reliance” and “freedom of action” within the realm of semiology of regional security measures, interactions, and actions. Generally speaking, IRI is reluctant to accept the dominant political indicators and Western accepted patterns of behavior. Therefore, the normative Western signs cannot be desirable for regional security semiotics of IRI.

2-    The regional security semiotics of IRI has a critical edge and orientation. Critical approach to regional security semiotics in the Iranian context shapes the conceptual, ideational, semantic, and normative models of action that IRI adopts internationally. Various indictors that were discussed in this paper with regards to this critical inclination of IRI towards the West indicate that engagement with Iran in the sphere of international politics require some display of appeasable conciliatory efforts.

3-    In many cases one observes that the behavior of Iran’s regional security semiotics adopts a reactive and reflexive character and quality. This indicates that Iran pays attention to ideational reflexivity and pattern of meaningful counter-action with respect to various behavioral occurrences. When international pressure against IRI increases and the Western political rhetoric adopts threatening tones, the patterns of Iranian reaction conditions accordingly in the form of reactive identitarian models of behavior.

4-    This reactive approach can be associated with the IRI’s policies within the Middle East. For example, when Israel attempts to gain superiority in the region with patterns of political outreaching activities, it is obvious that this becomes a security threat as far as Iran is concerned. In response to this, reflexivism and reactionary responses become evident in IRI’s regional security semiotics against the threatening political agents and actors involved

5-    Rebuilding of relations between Iran and the West is not feasible under security threatening pressures. Although, Iran’s position in the region is desirable and beneficial as far as the effective strategic goals and interests of the United States are concerned, the US has always adopted a cynical attitude, and hostile behaviors towards Iran. This suspicion and distrust, has accordingly contributed to identitarian and normative counter-reactions on part of Iran.

6-    Iran shows aspiration to adopt multicultural models in connection with the country’s regional security semiotics. When Iran’s efforts for implementations of multicultural politics are faced with US-lead constraints or other supremacist powers oppositions, this in turn limits Iran’s ability and freedom. This even forces Iran to consider itself bound to resist and react with hostility towards such forces and such domination systems. The identity of resistance that is observable and reflected in IRI’s regional security semiotics is due to such Western-lead hostilities.

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