Saturday, April 20, 2024

Country Study of Iran

Author: Faizan Rashid

Affiliation:  Center for Security, Strategy and Policy Research, University of Lahore

Organization/Publisher:  Center for Security, Strategy and Policy Research, University of Lahore

Date/Place: November 2020/Pakistan

Type of Literature: Research Report

Number of Pages: 31 


Keywords: Iran, Iran-Pak Relations, Iran Politics, Iran Economy, Iran Ballistic Missile Program, US Sanctions




The report’s most original contribution is the closing assessment of the Iran-Pakistan relationship. The report skillfully describes the tensions straining the relationship. For example, it points to the differences between Iran and Pakistan over the question of Afghanistan and Iran’s growing dependency on Indian trade. The report argues that Iran has much to benefit by engaging China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and coordinating with Pakistan to improve ties over border control in the Baluchistan region and increase bilateral trade. The report gives a helpful list of highlights between Iran and Pakistan over the last decade, showing the growing cooperation between the two countries. The report’s overall policy suggestion to Tehran is to downgrade its relation with India in favor of China by connecting with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and possibly strengthening its energy infrastructure into Pakistan through the Asaluyeh-Nawabshah Proposed Gas Pipeline Project. Another unique aspect of the report is the strategic assessment and history of Iran’s ballistic missile program. The report argues that a missile program is far more effective in securing Iran’s national security than any other aspect of Iran’s defense strategy. This country-focused research report, prepared by a leading strategic policy think tank in Pakistan, is an opportunity to understand how analysts in Pakistan look at their neighbor. While first-time readers on Iran may be surprised to learn general facts such as the quality and scope of the healthcare and education in Iran, the report has very few references to indigenous Persian language sources for data, analysis or history. There is also very little original Pakistani scholarship directly on Iran. A brief glance at the sources of the report reveals that this Lahore based think tank drew mainly on Western sources such as the BBC, Wall Street Journal, Wikipedia, and the CIA Factbook, which weakens the objective neutrality of the report regarding the general understanding of Iran in terms of its geography, economy, history, demographics and politics. This reveals that the Pakistani assessment of Iran’s strategic imperatives are largely contextualized within a Western lens, with only an additional autonomous view of Iran-Pak relations.


By: M. Üveys Han, CIGA Senior Research Associate



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