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Iran’s Interregional Dynamics in the Near East

Edited By Banafsheh Keynoush

Few regions in the world are as torn by conflicts as the Near East, in which Iran plays a central role. Opportunities to engage with Iran are abundant, but they are squandered when regional states address immediate conflicts in which Iran is only one part, despite its prominent role. Iran’s Interregional Dynamics in the Near East provides a comprehensive guide to broaden our understanding about Iran and its regional neighbors. By analyzing how Iran’s neighbors view their ties with the country, this volume reveals why Iran is less successful in expanding its regional influence than what is commonly assumed. This is the first book of its kind to be written exclusively by authors from and working in the Near East region who came together at a roundtable funded by and convened at Princeton University. As the moderator of the roundtable, the editor of this volume invited the authors to contribute chapters to this timely book. The book explores a wide range of topics to describe the complex relations between Iran and other states in the Near East including Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman. The volume is designed to inform politicians, world leaders, scholars, senior policy makers, and graduate students, and it provides an accessible guide to undergraduate students, junior scholars, and the general public.

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On October 19, 2018, the Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies at Princeton University hosted a by invitation only roundtable discussion entitled The Near East: Iran’s Interregional Dynamics. The event brought together experts from the region and the United States, to participate in three moderated panels convened for half a day. Experts presented papers on pre-selected topics, exchanged views, and responded to questions from invited guests at the roundtable. Guests included Princeton University students, faculty, scholars, staff, and members from the Mossavar-Rahmani Center. Discussions focused on relations between Iran and the Gulf Arab states, Iran’s relations with Turkey and Israel, and Iran’s involvement in conflicts in the Arab world.

As the convener and moderator of the roundtable, I invited speakers to contribute chapters to this edited volume. Views expressed in the volume are those of the contributors, not those of the Center. The volume includes chapters by several of the speakers at the roundtable, and reflects the goal of the roundtable, i.e., to bring forward discussions about Iran’s foreign policy from the perspectives of its immediate neighbors in the Near East region. The views in the following chapters offer unique and seldom explored region-specific perspectives on Iran, from experts from the region, and bring those perspectives to the attention of western and English-speaking readers.

My gratitude goes to the contributors to this volume, for patiently spending months writing, revising and reviewing chapters, and for flying long distances to participate at the...

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