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How the Iranian Regime Survived: Examining Internal and External Strategies

Following the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018 and the reimposition of economic sanctions, Iran witnessed public unrest that threatened the survival of the regime. Throughout its history, the Iranian regime has deployed various intricate internal and external strategies that have worked separately at times, and overlapped at others, to secure the regime against threats and guarantee its survivability. It is important to discover the strategies the Iranian regime has followed to survive the stifling crises it has faced since its establishment in 1979, in order to evaluate whether it will be able to survive its chronic economic crises. While the regime has purposely supported the Palestinian cause, strengthened its relations with non-state actors, and engaged in religious discourses on an external level, it has also achieved militarization and securitization, populated unelected governmental institutions with personnel loyal to its clerical and military institutions rather than qualified persons and pursued legitimacy renewal on an internal level.

How the Iranian Regime Survived Examining Internal and External Strategies
An man waves an Iranian flag and flashes a Victory sign to commemorate the 42nd Anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Tehran on February 10, 2021. MORTEZA NIKOUBAZL / NurPhoto via Getty Images
 

 

 

 

Introduction

 

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been exposed to U.S. sanctions since its establishment in 1979, with nuclear-related sanctions being the most effective. Those unprecedented sanctions have isolated Iran, harmed its financial system, and severely constrained its overall economy. Economic activity and government revenues in Iran rely to a large extent on oil revenues, which lead to constant volatility.

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