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Imagining Iran

Orientalism and the Construction of Security Development in American Foreign Policy

Jonathon Patrick Whooley

Imagining Iran constructs and assembles American foreign policy through critical security studies discourse analysis and Orientalist descriptions of key actors within the presidential administrations of Lyndon Baines Johnson through Ronald Reagan (1965–1989). This book is essential reading for those who are interested in learning about how foreign policy making is conducted, how theories directly affect the process of foreign policy making, and how the shah and Iran served US interests. It also discusses the larger question of why the US uses autocratic proxies to pursue its nominally human rights and democracy-based goals.

Students of foreign policy, Middle East studies, and critical security studies, as well as Iran experts, can benefit from this historical deep dive on policy making. The internal conversations, diary entries, and previously classified documents and briefings tell the story of how the US imagined Iran, and why that ideational construction proved to be such a dominant and pernicious image for 26 years, the reverberations of which are still felt today in our modern conception of what Iran is and what Iranians can do through the lens of American foreign policy.