Iran's global reach: The Islamic Republic of Iran's policy, involvement, and activity in Africa

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The aim of this study is to analyze the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI)'s policy toward and involvement in the African continent as a case study of the IRI's global policy and reach. The aspiration of the IRI's leadership for international standing and support coupled with a desire to export its revolutionary model and extend its influence beyond its borders have shaped its activity on many continents, including Africa. Africa's strategic location, past colonial experience, political position, rich resources, large Muslim population, and economic attractiveness have all contributed to shaping the IRI's activity within it. This study analyzes IRI's foreign policy in general and its implementation in Africa in particular, identifying the different historical phases of its activity in Africa, distinguishing between the various African regions, the main Iranian organizations involved therein, the means of and channels for Iranian involvement in Africa, and the reasons for IRI's gains and losses on that continent. The study shows how the Islamic regime has managed, during its 40 years of rule, through pragmatism and resilience, to gain influence and support, has endeavored to balance its losses, and has adapted to new circumstances in the African continent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-75
Number of pages23
JournalDomes : digest of Middle East studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 May 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Policy Studies Organization. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • Africa
  • Iran
  • Shiʻa
  • foreign relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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