The Islamic republic of Iran and the international system

Clash with the domination paradigm

Manouchehr Mohammadi


In the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union and with the end of the bipolar hegemonic system, scholars and policymakers in the West sought to find a substitute, and great efforts were made with the aim of stabilizing and defining the continuation of the hegemonic Western-oriented system. Before long, the creation of a New World Order with the remaining superpower from the Cold War playing the pivotal role was raised and presented to the US Congress as the doctrine of George Bush, Sr.

Nevertheless, the inefficiency of such a unipolar system and the rejection of other world powers very soon proved that there was no room for the hegemony of a superpower. Therefore, Western scholars and theoreticians, especially in the United States, by presenting other theories such as the ‘End of History’ (Francis Fukuyama) and the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ (Samuel Huntington) tried to further underline Western sovereignty and hegemony and view the world from a Western domineering and hegemonic perspective. However, now that two decades have passed since the demise of the bipolar system, the world is still in a transitional period. Not only has no stable system come forth or stabilized to fit the previous bipolar one, but a kind of anarchism is now ruling over international relations so that Western theoreticians are unable to define a clear justification or stable regulations for it. Recently, Richard Haas admitted that the world is entering ‘an era of non-polarity’ .

Among these developments what was ignored by Western scholars was the movement of Imam Khomeini in the early 1960s in Iran followed by the success of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and the ever increasing consistency and strength of the newly born religio-political system, despite anything the Western powers could do. The author, who has personally witnessed these developments, believes that such a phenomenon has had a great effect on the future world order and will continue to do so. The movement not only destroyed the monarchical autocracy in Iran that had been in place for several thousands of years, but had major repercussions in the region and seriously challenged the hegemonic system left over from the Peace of Westphalia.

Furthermore, through Islamic vigilance and the awakening of the colonies of the imperial nations, Islamic Iran has undertaken the leadership of a new camp of what can be called Counter-Autocrats and is set to shape the future of international relations by opposing the hegemonic system of the West. It aims to lay new foundations for such relations, which in structural terms or in terms of context and concept would have no similarity with what has so far been defined in the literature of political sciences and international relations. With regard to such an important development and its subsequent events, this chapter will present a new paradigm called ‘the clash with domination’. We believe that what Huntington has tried to observe within the framework of the Clash of Civilizations is, in fact, not a clash of civilizations as such but a clash of counter-autocratic regimes resulting in the domination of hegemonic states, which this chapter will try to review.

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