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The Rise of Iran: How Durable, How Dangerous?

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Iran is viewed by many as a rising power that poses an increasing threat to regional and even global security. This view is wrong for three reasons. Iran's hard and soft power is exaggerated by most accounts; it is too limited to allow the Iranians to dominate the Persian Gulf let alone the Middle East, and its brand of Shi'ism has very limited appeal outside of Iran. Second, growing internal political and economic instability will seriously limit Iran's bid for regional dominance. Third, the failure to stop the Iranian nuclear program has led analysts to underestimate the ability of the other regional powers and the West to balance Iran and contain its influence, even if it acquires nuclear weapons. If these limitations on Iranian power are taken into account the rise seems destined to be a short one.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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