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Abstract


IRANIAN FOREIGN POLICY TOWARDS IRAQ: AN ANALYSIS OF THREE WARS BETWEEN IDEOLOGY AND REALISM
Iran’s relations with Iraq have shifted from conflict to cooperation in the last fifteen years. Two neighbors who fought between 1980 and 1988 are in strategic cooperation today. Iran is regarded as one of the most dominant external actor in Iraqi politics. Toppling of the Saddam regime by the American intervention in 2003 and the establishment of a Shiite-dominated administration in the center of Iraq contributed to that process. It is thought that Iran has been an ideological state since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the main determinant of its policy towards Iraq is the Shiite groups in Iraq. Iran’s relations with certain Iraqi Shiite groups have deepened with the transformation of Iraq after American intervention. In this article, Iran's policy towards Iraq is examined during three wars; the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), the Gulf War (1990-1991) and the Iraq War (2003). The study reveals that Iran's policy towards Iraq is both realistic and ideological in every period, but that their weight changes from time to time. In this context, it is considered that the foundations of the Shiite element used in Iran's policy towards Iraq are not only ideological, but also as a means of preserving its strategic and national interests.

Keywords
Iran, Iraq, foreign policy, ideology, realism


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