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The Victimization Narrative: A Thematic Analysis of Iranian History and Strategy

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The Victimization Narrative: A Thematic Analysis of Iranian History and Strategy

Amir Perk

Introduction

Objectively, the United States had nothing to do with a set of June 2017 terror attacks in Tehran. Yet following these attacks, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard “appeared to blame Saudi Arabia and the United States…even as responsibility for them was asserted by the Islamic State.”[i]

This anecdote is one of countless cases that demonstrate a deep-seated Iranian feeling of victimization by the United States. Iran’s image of the United States as a great victimizer is pertinent in the Islamic Republic’s media, politics, and culture. And it serves a purpose: as will be discussed in greater depth later, Iran employs the idea of victimization by the United States as a catalyst, a mobilizer. Accordingly, this essay will attempt to answer two questions: where does this sense of victimization come from and how does it influence Iranian grand strategy?

As Iran grows in power and influence, it becomes increasingly crucial to understand the nation’s grand strategy. To help reach this end, this essay studies the origin and impact of Iran’s feelings of victimization. Hopefully, the perspective gained from this study might aid policymakers and scholars as the United States continues to grapple with Iran in the coming years.

I will start by establishing the link between history and strategy at the end of this section. For the argument of this paper to hold, historical events must impact strategic choices, a nontrivial idea. The next section will be a review of the literature that shows Iran’s sense of victimization is already acknowledged, but not adequately understood in its implications. The following section will study where Iran’s sense of victimization mainly comes from. Since Iran has a long history with many possible events that contribute to its victimization narrative, I use the 1953 Coup D’état for an exemplary historical event, as it seems to provide the strongest grounds for Iran’s victimization tale. Next, I intend to demonstrate how Iran’s sense of victimization has impacted strategy through a case study of the hostage crisis. Finally, I will advise for the future in the conclusion section. Based on the idea that victimization is a key theme in Iran’s history and tangibly affects the nation’s strategy, the advice will be to respect boundaries and Iranian autonomy if we want to mend relations.

Connecting History and Strategy

This section establishes the connection between history and grand strategy, thereby providing the link between the origin of the victimization narrative (the Coup) and the implication of the victimization narrative (the hostage crisis) which will be studied in sections to follow. To claim the pre-Revolution Coup D’état had an impact on the post-Revolution Iranian hostage crisis, it must be demonstrated that history actually impacts strategy.

One illustration of history impacting strategy can be found in James Kurth’s 1996 study of United States grand strategy.[ii] In his analysis, Kurth looked at three “historical cycles,” each of which he demarcated by its commencement in the wake of a “decisive victory by the United States in its epic war of the century—the Revolutionary War in the eighteenth century, the Civil War in the nineteenth, and the Second World War in the twentieth.”[iii] Though he found that America’s primary foreign policy goals during each cycle varied—territorial annexation in the first, consolidation of a regional sphere across North America in the second, and expansion of American influence to preserving international order in the third—Kurth discovered interesting patterns in how lessons from previous cycles (history) affected strategy in later ones. For example, in his discussion of American grand strategy in the third cycle, the decades following World War II, he claimed,

After the achievement of its great victory over Germany and Japan in the Second World War, the United States was once again ready to focus its foreign policy upon the goal of expansion, this time on a truly international scale. It had learned fundamental lessons from the great disasters of the recent past. From the Great Depression, it learned that the massive American economy—the leading industrial economy in the world—could only prosper in an open international economy, even one that included its recent enemies, Germany and Japan. From the Second World War, it learned that its own American continent and regional sphere could only be secure if no single great power dominated the European continent, or, more broadly, the Eurasian land-mass. The strategy to achieve these goals would now be the most sophisticated of all—American design and leadership of new international organizations, which in turn would institutionalize the opening of the international economy and the containing of any potential European or Eurasian hegemon.[iv]

Since the Great Depression took place in the second cycle and World War II was the bridge between the second and third, they were both “history” when the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and North Atlantic Treaty Organization were formed in the third cycle. America was a leader in all of these projects, and they serve as just a few examples of America pushing to restore and open the international economy and contain the threat of European/Eurasian hegemony (i.e. Soviet Russia). As explained in the quote above, these goals were deeply rooted in historical lessons. Kurth says, “the course of American foreign policy in the future has already been largely set by its legacy from the past. In most respects, the strategy of the United States has already been composed by the historical tradition and trajectory of American foreign policy…”[v] He provides many more examples and analyses, making a very compelling case that American history impacts American strategy. Another scholar, Dr. Richard D. Hooker, Jr. goes as far as to say that “American grand strategy cannot be understood without historical grounding.”[vi]

But history impacting strategy is not a uniquely American concept. Ronald Robinson and John Gallagher’s Africa and the Victorians: The Official Mind of Imperialism provides an example in the case of Britain. In a review of the book, C. E. Carrington asks,

Why did the investing, emigrating, exporting free-traders turn to the partition of Africa where there was no demand for capital and little land for temperate agriculture, and where the people were too poverty-stricken to buy British goods?[vii]

Robinson and Gallagher do not claim to know the full answer to this question, but they do determine that policy pushed by bureaucrats and politicians in late-Victorian Britain was based on more than rational calculation.[viii] The co-authors introduced the concept of the “official mind” to explain the formulation and execution of policy[ix] and developed it by analyzing British diplomacy in partitioning Africa, British strategy with respect to the geography of its imperial strongholds and bases, and various other subjects. In their development, it became apparent that a major factor that influenced the British official mind—and consequent strategy—was history. Robinson and Gallagher found that the British politicians’ choices regarding Africa were heavily influenced by “assumptions and prejudices accumulated from past successes and failures”[x] and could only be understood as following policies that had come before in a historical context.[xi] Timothy Sayle references Robinson and Gallagher’s book in concluding history needs to be used in explaining foreign policy.[xii] Strategy is intrinsically influenced by history.

Following these scholars’ works, strategy and history appear to be intrinsically tied. We can therefore proceed to study the history of Iranian victimization and rest assured it impacts Iran’s strategic employment of victimization. But first, let us have a look at where the current literature stands.

Literature Review

Many scholars have noted the presence of victimization in Iranian history and strategy. It is apparent in the literature that there is a general presupposition that Iran has a narrative of victimhood. But before reviewing what has been said of this subject in the literature, it may be useful to define terms. For the purposes of this essay, the term ‘victimization’ will be employed in a political psychology context and contain two parts. The first part will be Alouph Hareven’s definition:

Victimization—like any other human interaction—involves different experiences and different perceptions. What is central to it is the infliction of pain, and therefore suffering…Victimization can be physical, as when a victor wounds his captive, or when a torturer deliberately hurts his victim. But…victimization can also be experienced on a nonphysical level, as when a person suffers a loss caused by someone else: loss of persons one loves, loss of land and property, loss of honor, loss of self-respect.[xiii]

Hareven’s definition of victimization is essentially “a loss caused by someone else,” which matches any other possible definition, such as Merriam-Webster’s as “[subjection] to deception or fraud.”[xiv] What is interesting about Hareven’s definition is that he formulates it by examining the etymology of “victim” and its implications in Hebrew. He notes that the Hebrew word for victim, “qorban,” has the root “qarov,” which means near, and that by means of victimizing, a person becomes nearer to the deity in acquiring a sort of omnipotence.[xv] Hareven argues the loss caused by someone else is not the only factor that makes victimization (in a political psychology context), but that there is something more, a dependency relationship of some sort. This leads to the second part of what “victimization” will contain in this essay.

Along with Hareven’s definition, “victimization” will also embody a relationship of victim and victimizer. In a psychological analysis of abusive relationships, Dr. Ofer Zur argues that victimization is dyadic: there is a victim and a victimizer, and one needs the other. He explains this concept with analogies to other similar relationships, such as co-alcoholics coupling with alcoholics:

When the alcoholic stops drinking it is not unusual for the relationship to end and for the co-alcoholic to find another 'wet' alcoholic. The conclusion is simple; the co-alcoholic need to control, to be the competent, responsible, 'morally right' partner outweigh the hardships of living with an alcoholic.[xvi]

Dr. Zur argues that, like co-alcoholics, “Victims have complementary needs to be in relationship[s] with victimizers,” and that one of the needs is connected to belief of a lack of control.[xvii] This multi-dimensional relationship captures why Iran might need a victimization narrative: a feeling of lack of control.

To recapitulate, “victimization” will be used in the rest of this essay as an embodiment of Hareven’s definition of victimization—a loss caused by someone else—and Dr. Zur’s element of dependency in the dyadic relationship of victim and victimizer.

With the definition and key elements above in mind, it is possible to apply the concept of victimization to Iranian political psychology. One example can be found in Saʻīd Zāhid’s pursuit of the constituent factors of Iranian identity and the Iranian position toward globalization. Drawing from historical cases ranging as far back as Cyrus the Great, Saʻīd Zāhid argues that a major part of Iran’s national identity is resistance identity, a form of identity in which an actor bases its survival on opposition to the permeating principles.[xviii] (The general concept of resistance identity was introduced by Manual Castells in The Power of Identity.[xix])  Zāhid demonstrates the presence of Iranian resistance identity through the 20th century rise of Islam as a “credible social movement” in response to the Shah’s lack of attention to the religion in decades of policy.[xx] Resistance identity resembles our conception of victimization in that its definition implies both a loss inflicted by another, and a relationship in which a victim is in some way dependent (as in Islam becoming a credible social movement) on a victimizer.

Moreover, scholars have looked at the role victimization played in the Iranian nuclear negotiations. Shimon Stein and Emily Landau referred to the nuclear negotiations as a war of narratives in which a central theme in Iran’s story was mistreatment and victimization by a hegemonic West.[xxi] Writers for the Iran News Update discussed the warning letter 47 Republican senators sent to Iran during the nuclear negotiations and how it might provide fodder for Iran’s well-worn narrative of victimization, noting Ayatollah Khamenei’s assertion that the letter proves America has a legacy of deception and backstabbing.[xxii] Ashley Tellis and Nick Bisley found that Iran’s leaders framed the nuclear issue as of one of rights, denial, double standards, respect, and dictation, successfully playing on the sense of Iran’s historical victimization.[xxiii]

Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth also sheds light on Iran’s sense of victimization. The concept is indirectly recognized in the foreword by Homi K. Bhabha:

The Shiite revival of the 1960s and 1970s, which developed into the Iranian revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini, was based on a revision of Shiite doctrine influenced by Marxism and committed to the ideology of Third World liberation. No scholar or intellectual was more respected among the student militants who followed the People’s Mujahideen than Ali Shariati, who had read Fanon during his student days in Paris and translated The Wretched of the Earth into Persian. According to Giles Keppel, a historian of political Islam, “Shariati rendered the difference between ‘oppressors’ and ‘oppressed’ with the Koranic terms mostakbirnie (the arrogant) and mostadafine (the weakened or disinherited), thus transposing the theory of class struggle into the terminology of Islam.” This “translated,” hybrid term crept into Khomeini’s political rhetoric—via Shariati’s translation of Fanon—after 1978, in his attempt to broaden the appeal of his message and address a more diverse audience.[xxiv]

The language of “Third World liberation,” “the arrogant,” and “the weakened” exemplifies what I have referred to as the Iranian sense of victimization.

It follows from the literature that many scholars, such as those mentioned above, have an understanding that Iran has what Jerrold Green dubs a “Victimization Complex.”[xxv] However, an analysis of where this victimization comes from and its implications appears to be missing. For instance, Alastair Crooke writes,

The object of mainstream Islamist resistance is not to resolve matters by force, but to reveal and expose the underlying causes of the wreckage piling at the angel’s feet; to [sensitize] the consciousness of people who are able to hear, and to find a route back towards a different way of living… Resistance emerges…to call attention to ‘forgotten’ principles. This resort to resistance is the reflection of a true paradox: the need to adopt resistance in order to provoke and to bring about real dialogue.[xxvi]

While Crooke brilliantly describes Iranian resistance, which is tied to Iran’s sense of victimization for reasons mentioned above, Crooke’s gentle conception of “Islamist resistance” seems incompatible with the empirical evidence that will be presented in this essay (namely, the hostage crisis). It seems that the implications of Iran’s resistance to victimization are much deeper than fueling a conversation.

What needs to be recognized in the literature is that Iran weaponizes victimization. The Islamic Republic uses propaganda and other tactics to push anti-United States messages, thereby cultivating a narrative against the west. Iran utilizes this narrative as a political unifier and mobilizer. A demonstrative illustration of Iran doing so is located in a U.S. State Department report from March 2016. A key finding in the report is:

Recent Department polling shows that about 40 percent of Iraqis believe that the United States is working to destabilize Iraq and control its natural resources and nearly a third believe that America supports terrorism in general or the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, specifically. About half of Iraqi Sunnis and Shia now say that they completely oppose the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.[xxvii]

A third of Iraqis believing the United States supports terrorism or ISIS specifically seems absurd and almost suitable for rejection as a surveying fluke. But on the contrary, this statistic is one to take very seriously, and is apparently the result (at least in a substantial part) of concerted effort by Iranian actors:

In the Post report, U.S. military spokesperson Col. Steve Warren laid much of the blame for such stories on Iran and “the Iranian-backed [Shi’a] militias” in Iraq who are “really pushing this line of propaganda.”

Phillip Smyth, a researcher at The Washington Institute focusing on Shi’a Islamist militarism, agreed with Warren and said that much of the disinformation has its roots in Iran-produced messages dating back to the mid-2000s.

The long-sought goal…has been to minimize U.S. influence and maximize Iranian influence in Iraq by turning the majority Shi’a population against America.[xxviii]

Since Iran has a sense of victimization and uses it to politically influence actors even beyond the confines of its national boundaries, this subject is crucial for us to better understand. Iran’s ability to so effectively weaponize the victimization narrative demonstrates that either our policymakers are not combatting the narrative well enough, or they simply do not understand its roots and implications satisfactorily. Assuming our problem is the latter, the literature has room to provide more.

My contribution to the literature will be to delve into where I believe Iranian victimization mainly originates and plays out in Iranian strategy. This will serve to build the central claim of this essay: victimization appears in Iranian history and consequently impacts Iranian strategy. In short, the purpose of the rest of this essay is to analyze victimization as a major psychological factor in Iranian history and strategy.

Victimization in History: The 1953 Coup D’état

This section will study the 1953 Coup D’état, and how it fits into Iran’s narrative and sense of victimization. It will offer an analysis into how the overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq was an unwelcomed violation of Iranian sovereignty and integrity, a “loss caused by someone else,” a major act of victimization.

Pre-Coup Background

Britain’s main motivator for the coup was maintaining its oil interests in Iran. These interests started in 1901 when William Knox D’Arcy negotiated for exclusive rights to oil extracted from a large portion of Iran for sixty years.[xxix] In return for the rights to prospect in a territory larger than Texas and California combined, the Shah of Iran, Muzzaffar al-Din, received only £20,000, an equal amount in shares of D’Arcy’s company, and 16 percent of future profits.[xxx]

D’Arcy’s investment did not pay off initially and crippling finances forced him to sell most of his rights to Burmah Oil Company. In May 1908, after sinking half a million Euros in the project and finding no oil, Burmah ordered Bernard Reynolds, a geologist D’Arcy hired earlier to prospect, to shut down operations. Reynolds stalled, and with a stroke of luck, discovered oil within a few weeks.[xxxi] However, because the terms of D’Arcy’s original deal with Muzzaffar al-Din provided Iran with such small equity in the venture, Iran saw relatively very little of the profit from this discovery. This would lead to feelings of victimization in Iranians in that it was an economic injury inflicted by the European companies onto Iran and generated a dependency in Iran on these companies because of what little equity Iran did have in the venture. Already, even before the Coup, Iran felt a loss caused by someone else and a dependency on the victimizer. The sense of victimization burgeoned.

Following the discovery, Burmah founded the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) in 1909—which the British government largely took over in 1913—that became the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) in 1935.[xxxii] After occupying Iran during World War II to protect a supply route to the Soviet Union and save the oil from falling into the hands of the Nazis, Britain retained control of Iran’s oil through the AIOC. Moreover, in 1949, following the end of WWII, Iran became a major target of pro-Western and pro-Soviet forces for its oil fields.[xxxiii] All this led to growing antagonism between Iran and what the nation perceived as its victimizers, and contributed to a rise in Iranian nationalism. An extreme manifestation of the growing nationalism was presented in Ali Razmara’s assassination in 1951. When Razmara became prime minister in 1950, he tried to resist growing nationalist pressure to revise AIOC’s terms in Iran’s favor. During his short tenure, he managed to convince the majority in parliament nationalization would be unwise while he served. But the public became irritated with Razmara’s lack of progress in nationalizing Iranian oil and took to the streets with calls for nationalization and chants of “Death to the British!”[xxxiv] Finally, less than a year into his office, on March 7, 1951, Razmara was assassinated by the Fada’iyan-e Islam.

Following Razmara’s assassination, Iranian support for nationalization of the AIOC was ubiquitous. Almost immediately after Razmara’s death in March 1951, the Majlis (Iran’s Parliament), voted to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and elected Mohammed Mossadeq, a champion of nationalization, as Prime Minister.[xxxv] Britain opposed this and responded with sanctions and threats, since it would mean a significant drop in power and profit, and the United States also opposed it, fearing a spread of socialism.[xxxvi] Following the Abadan Crisis, a series of failed negotiations, a resignation and reappointment of Prime Minister Mossadeq, and other complications, Britain decided to get rid of Mossadeq.[xxxvii] Hence in 1952, the United Kingdom came up with the idea for the coup and began pressing the United States to join an operation to depose Mossadeq.[xxxviii]

Though Britain’s incentive was its vast oil interests, it needed a more virtuous public reason to act and persuade the United States to join forces. By making exaggerated appeals to the threat of communism spreading to Iran, Britain convinced the United States to join in ousting Mossadeq. So, when the United States did become involved, the ostensible motivator was that Mossadeq had communist leanings and would move Iran to the “Soviet orbit” if he held on to power.[xxxix] By 1953, the U.S. and U.K. both had more interventionist administrations, economic motivations to act, and anti-communist excuses to top it off.[xl] The ground was set for a historical Coup D’état, the details of which are the subject of the next section.

Procession of the Coup

As political tensions came to a boil in 1953, Mossadeq’s popularity and power waned. And as he lost support, he became increasingly autocratic.[xli] Illustratively, following an assassination attempt, Mossadeq ordered the jailing of dozens of his political opponents, which generated widespread anger and accusations that he was becoming a dictator.[xlii] Through his handlings, Mossadeq developed a vicious cycle in which he continued to lose public support. Yet, the Shah steadfastly opposed the coup plans when informed of them until two events led him to finally agree. The first was Mossadeq holding a rigged referendum in which he granted himself and his cabinet “total power,” stripping the Shah, the parliament, and practically all other government institutions of authority.[xliii] The second was the CIA informing the Shah that if he did not join, he would also be deposed.[xliv] Now, the Shah was ready to join. Known under the names Project TPAJAX in the CIA and Operation Boot in the MI6, the coup was ready to move forward.[xlv]

After Mossadeq’s decree to dissolve parliament, the coup plotters drew up Firmans (royal decrees) dismissing Mossadeq and appointing General Fazlollah Zahedi as the new Prime Minister.[xlvi] The Shah signed the decrees on August 13, 1953, then had them delivered.[xlvii] When Colonel Nassiri brought the dismissal to Mossadeq two days later, Mossadeq disregarded the order and had Nassiri arrested.[xlviii] Following constitutional arguments and debates, a great number of Mossadeq’s supporters took to the streets to violently protest the Shah’s actions, and the coup wavered (though many believe this upset was only possible because Mossadeq received prior warnings).[xlix] On August 16th, Shah Pahlahvi fled to Baghdad with his wife (and Italy later) and on August 17th, General Zahedi announced that he was the prime minister as he scurried between safe houses. Both CIA agents who disseminated pictures of the royal decrees Shah Pahlavi signed, and the Shah himself, supported Zahedi’s claim. But on August 18th, the CIA felt that the coup failed, and sent a message to Tehran ordering the operations against Mossadeq to halt. However, on August 19th, a couple of Tehran newspapers published the Shah’s decrees, leading to Shah supporters gathering in the streets, beginning another coup. Then, General Zahedi came out of hiding to lead, and by the end of the day had control of the government, with members of Mossadeq’s government incarcerated or in hiding.[l] Upon finding out about the success of the Coup, the Shah flew back to Tehran, accompanied by the director of the CIA, Allen Dulles. Mossadeq was arrested and originally sentenced to death, but the Shah personally ordered to alter the sentence to three years in solitary confinement, followed by house arrest for life.[li] The coup was over.

Scholars argue the overthrow of Mossadeq was the single greatest 20th century event to fuel Iranian suspicion of the United States.[lii] It clearly fulfilled Hareven’s definition of a loss caused by someone else (the loss inflicted being the loss of Mossadeq, and perhaps further, the ideals he represented, such as nationalism). The dyadic relationship involving dependency can be seen by grouping the United States with the United Kingdom into one victimizer and letting Iran itself be the victim—the dependency being the Shah’s need for support from the western nations in consolidating power. For these reasons, the overthrow of Mossadeq produced an ardent sense of victimization in Iran.

Following the coup, the Shah’s new rule was about to reshape Iran. The next section examines the implications and legacy of Shah Pahlavi’s reinstatement, with attention to how these events strengthened Iran’s victimization narrative.

After the Coup

The Shah’s rule from 1953 until the Revolution significantly augmented the feeling of victimization the coup itself generated in Iran. This will be used to further support the claim that a sense of victimization was a major legacy of the coup.

After the Shah actualized his power, he became a brutal dictator. SAVAK, Shah Pahlavi’s secret police, tortured and murdered thousands.[liii] With as many as 60,000 agents serving at its peak, SAVAK had virtually limitless powers. It operated its own detention centers, collaborated with the CIA in sharing and discussing interrogation tactics, and assassinated and tortured enemies of the Shah.[liv] At the time of the Shah’s overthrow in 1979, Time magazine described SAVAK as having “long been Iran’s most hated and feared institution.”[lv] For these reasons, SAVAK greatly amplified Iranian’s sense of victimization following the coup. The Shah used SAVAK to cause a loss of security and freedom for his enemies, and this generated a dyadic relationship with dependency in Iranians’ need to support him so as not to be tortured and/or killed. That the Shah’s newfound potency was a result of foreign intervention in the coup only deepened this perceived victimization effect.

Further, as the Iranian economy suffered, Pahlavi spent billions of dollars on American weapons and increased economic ties with the West in numerous other ways.[lvi] For instance, soon after returning to power, the Shah “signed over 40 percent of Iran’s oil fields to U.S. companies.”[lvii] This infuriated Iranians, who felt that they were already economically victimized even before the coup, as they only received 16-20% of the AIOC’s revenues, which were acquired on their lands.[lviii] The Shah’s economic choices inflicted losses on Iranians financially and caused a further dependency (economic) on the western victimizer, America. Against the backdrop of a coup and extorting oil practices by the west, the Shah’s post-1953 economic ties swelled Iran’s sense of victimization.

But economics was only the start of the Shah’s ties to the west: Richard Cottam writes, “The shah’s defense program, his industrial and economic transactions, and his oil policy were all considered by most Iranians to be faithful executions of American instructions.”[lix] The Shah’s actions became twice infuriating: first, Pahlavi victimized Iranian people himself (through SAVAK, economic policy, etc.), and second, he overwhelmingly increased ties with Iran’s greatest state victimizer, the United States. This twofold victimization, taken with an illegitimate reign, made the Shah and his “puppet-masters” extremely unpopular in Iran.[lx] The coup itself was maddening, and the actions by the Shah in its wake salted the wound, helped build the Iranian sense of victimization, and provided moral and popular support for the 1979-1981 Iranian hostage crisis.

The Hostage Crisis: A Case Study for Victimization Influencing Iranian Behavior

The hostage crisis, though an unorthodox and ironically counterintuitive display of liberty, was Iran’s reclamation of control. In this section, I will attempt to demonstrate how the 1979-1981 hostage crisis can be understood as resistance: Iran’s counter to what it perceived as decades of victimization after its autonomy was compromised in 1953 and subsequent pre-Revolution years. This would illustrate victimization playing a major role in Iranian strategy. Structurally, this section will be a background of how the crisis panned out and the events that catalyzed the conflict, then a reflection on how victimization played its role. I will also address possible counterarguments to the notion that victimization was a key motivator of the hostage crisis and counterarguments to the other, more general claims of this essay.

Background

The hostage crisis began on November 4, 1979, when hundreds of Iranian students stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran. The students held over fifty Americans hostage for 444 days, and set the last free on January 21, 1981, a few hours after President Reagan delivered his inaugural address.[lxi] The hostage crisis was extremely publicized in the United States, as demonstrated in the emergence of “Nightline,” a television news program that provided nightly updates, beginning each report with an announcement that it was now “Day 53” or “Day 318” of the crisis.[lxii] The crisis became the focus of President Carter’s administration, but poor diplomacy and management, as epitomized by the failed Operation Eagle Claw, kept it dragging through the very end of his presidency.[lxiii]

Though the reasons for the hostage crisis were certainly more nuanced than just one provocation, the most direct trigger of the hostage crisis was President Carter granting amnesty to the unpopular Shah to receive treatment for his newly diagnosed lymphoma.[lxiv] This happened after the new ruler, Ayatollah Khomeini—who came into power in the Islamic Revolution in early 1979—declared the American government an “Enemy of Islam,” and the “Great Satan.”[lxv] Naturally, Carter’s acceptance of Shah Pahlavi exasperated Iranians. Though he did so for humanitarian, not political reasons, President Carter’s accepting the Shah was evidently a blunder. Carter’s mistake was either neglecting or not truly understanding Iran’s victimization narrative, and many historians since believe the hostage crisis cost him a second term as president.[lxvi] What I hope to show in this section is that the hostage crisis was not unpreventable—understanding Iran and the victim-mindset it had towards the United States could have averted or at least contained the explosion.

Victimization

It seems the choice to target the American embassy was heavily fueled by Iran’s sense of victimization by the United States. This can be illustrated by arguments from scholars in the field and analyzing Khomeini’s and a perpetrators’ statements during the crisis.

One scholar, William Polk, describes the way in which Iranian students viewed the American embassy as a “den of spies.”[lxvii] He writes,

Throughout modern (that is to say nineteenth- and twentieth-century) Iranian history, foreign embassies…have been the command posts for foreign intervention. To Iranians, they also were the symbols of imperialism—foreign flags planted right in the midst of Tehran. In recent years, attention had shifted somewhat, but not entirely, from Russia and Britain to America. Right on one of Tehran’s main streets, the huge American embassy was particularly obvious.[lxviii]

A foreign flag planted right in the midst of the Iranian capital, the American embassy represented something exceedingly unwelcomed. Therefore, the target was clear, and as Vali Nasr, an Iranian-born professor at Tufts University argues “The humiliation of 1953 [would be] exorcised by the taking of American hostages in 1979.” In the language of Hareven and Dr. Zur, the American embassy—especially with its geographical placement in Iran’s capital—represented the loss of Iranian sovereignty in 1953, and the American victimizer Iran became dependent on economically, militarily, and politically under the Shah’s 1953-1979 reign. As a symbolic and physical focus of Iran’s sense of victimization, the embassy was a perfect target.

With a zealous hatred for the United States and a fitting target, the Iranian students had an inimitable opportunity to act against their perceived great victimizer. Further, Ayatollah Khomeini provided the students a clear mandate when he publicly stated it was “up to the dear pupils, students and theological students to expand their attacks against the United… so that they may force the U.S. to return the deposed and criminal Shah.”[lxix] He explicitly praised the taking of the Embassy, stating, “This has united our people. Our opponents do not dare act against us,” and, “I regard the occupation of the American Embassy as a spontaneous and justified retaliation of our people.”[lxx] His use of the word ‘retaliation’ was no coincidence: Iran truly saw this strategic choice as an act of retribution for years of victimization, starting with the 1953 Coup D’état, proceeding with the Shah’s subsequent reign. And the Supreme Leader’s dismissal of Iran’s opponents demonstrated that taking the Embassy represented a break from the dyadic relationship of victim and victimizer with the United States; now Iran was free from adversaries acting against it.

Not only did Khomeini’s statements provide a mandate for the students’ actions in the hostage crisis, they also amplified the crisis from mere protest to state-sponsored grand strategy, a term Peter Feaver defines as “the collection of plans and policies that comprise the state’s deliberate effort to harness political, military, diplomatic, and economic tools together to advance that state’s national interest.”[lxxi] With the Supreme Leader—who in Iran’s Vilayat-e Faqih system has top political and religious authority—sponsoring the students’ behavior, the hostage crisis became a tool the state employed to advance the Iranian national interest.[lxxii] And from Polk’s reflection and the tone of Khomeini’s statements, it follows victimization played a critical role in Iran’s grand strategy.

But in addition to the historical reflections and public statements by Khomeini, there is one case that truly epitomizes this essay’s argument (that victimization was a present and driving theme in the students’ choice of targeting the American embassy). Stephen Kinzer, of Smithsonian Magazine, divulges the following anecdote:

Bruce Laingen, a career diplomat who was chief of the U.S. embassy staff, was the highest-ranking hostage. One day, after Laingen had spent more than a year as a hostage, one of his captors visited him in his solitary cell. Laingen exploded in rage, shouting at his jailer that this hostage-taking was immoral, illegal and “totally wrong.” The jailer waited for him to finish, then replied without sympathy.

“You have nothing to complain about,” he told Laingen. “The United States took our whole country hostage in 1953.”[lxxiii]

Kinzer’s story offers two points for this paper. First, it provides evidence for victimization affecting Iranian strategy, since the perpetrator plainly cites past victimization to Laingen as justification for the strategy. Second, it connects the hostage crisis with the Coup elegantly and clearly. The jailer practically makes the case of this paper at that moment. Like the Supreme Leaders’ quotes above, the jailer’s quote cites past victimization, particularly the coup, as justification for Iran’s retaliation in the form of the hostage crisis. Once again, the sense of victimization generated by the coup impacted strategy (which Ayatollah Khomeini amplified to grand strategy) in the hostage crisis.

In summary, by looking at scholarly reflections, statements by the Supreme Leader, and an anecdote surrounding an actual perpetrator, we can see victimization playing a major role in stirring the hostage crisis.

Counterarguments

This section will provide and respond to possible counterarguments to the claim of this essay: Iran’s history of victimization (as demonstrated by the coup) impacts its strategy (as demonstrated by the hostage crisis) in a substantial way. There are at least three lines of attack one can take towards this claim. First: the events chosen for this paper provide an inadequate sample for extrapolating conclusions. Second: Iran has significantly changed since the events described, and one should not prescribe based on outdated information. Third: something else, a more powerful theme than victimization, feasibly connects Iran’s history with its strategy. I will try to respond to these arguments in the order provided.

In response to what may be called “the inadequate sample criticism,” I claim these cases are highly representative. Many other events could have been selected and it was difficult to narrow down to the two chosen. And if one were to claim along the same lines as the “inadequate sample criticism” that the students’ behavior in the hostage crisis was not exemplary of strategy on a national level, I respond that the international attention, mandate from the Supreme Leader, and weight of the crisis made it a fair case study of victimization in national grand strategy. In the conclusion section of this essay, one of the suggestions for future research will be to increase the sample size as to further verify these findings. I am fairly confident another reading of Iranian history, focused on other events, would generate similar conclusions.

To the counterargument that Iran has significantly changed since the events described in this paper, I respond in two ways. First, Iran functions on a different time spectrum than we do. Since our nation is only two and a half centuries old, Americentrism may disconnect us from intuitively thinking about history as extremely long and capable of deeply shaping our psychology and behavior. But such is the case for Iran. In thousands of years of history, patterns of victimization trace as far back as the 4th century BC with the Greeks under Alexander.[lxxiv] Iran does not see victimization as a short-term problem that appears and disappears spontaneously, but as a plague that appears endemically in its history. This leads to the second response to the criticism: Iran may have changed in the decades since the events described in this essay, but some themes have certainly remained. The idea behind using the Coup and the hostage crisis as examples for historical victimization and victimization influencing strategy respectively was to demonstrate continuity through the 1979 Revolution. If the theme of victimization can continue through one of the most radical and transformative events in Iranian history, surely it can sustain a couple more years. And this is not a speculative claim: a feeling of victimization, especially victimization at the hand of the United States, has been extremely prevalent since the Revolution. For example, retired Lieutenant General Frank Kisner argues,

By the very nature of how [Iranians] define themselves, they continue to embrace victimization. The most apparent example of this inability is represented in the title given the most employed and most fervent of their armed forces, known formally as the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, but more commonly referred to as Iran’s Revolutionary Guards or Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)…They are "guards of the Revolution," which was an occurrence from the last century, with the overthrow of the Shah in 1979…But even though 37 years have passed since that revolution and the overthrow of the Shah, Iran continues to define itself as victims of the Great Satan (USA), and they continue to employ armed forces (both in uniform and out of uniform) under the title of Revolutionary Guard. By doing so, these forces serve as a constant reminder of the revolution, which logically means that they derive their legitimacy from the revolution. Which also means they derive their legitimacy from opposition to the “Great Satan.” And if you follow this train of logic, the IRGC, and even the government from which they draw their legitimacy, would be illegitimate if relations were ever normalized with the United States. Because with normalized relations, both Iran and the IRGC would no longer be “victims.”[lxxv]

By looking at the example of the name of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and what it means, Kisner makes a compelling case as to how Iran continues to deploy victimization in legitimizing its institutions. Yet another key example of Iran weaponizing victimization since the hostage crisis lies in Iran’s recent nuclear negotiations and the surrounding narratives in Iranian discursive practices, as discussed in our literature review.[lxxvi] In short, the victimization narrative and its weaponization are still very relevant.

Finally, there is the counterargument that there might exist a more powerful theme which connects Iranian history and strategy. The only response is to admit alternative theories absolutely may exist. To claim that victimization is the only theme or necessarily best theme is to overstep the reasoning of this essay. The conclusions of this work are based on abduction, a form of inference that assigns the best explanation to observed events.[lxxvii] Since it is inherently difficult to confirm a negative such as no theme better connects Iranian history and strategy than the theme of victimization, I embrace the reality that a superior theory may come to exist. Yet, granted the limitations of this essay’s analysis, it seems that the appearance of victimization as a central theme during the hostage crisis cannot be coincidental against the backdrop of a coup conducted largely by the United States, especially since the perpetrators of the latter explicitly referenced the former as justification.

Conclusion

Patterns arise in how victimization appears in Iranian history and influences Iranian strategy. If we consider the Islamic Republic’s discourse with attention to the theme of victimization, we can better understand its choices. And if we accept the idea that history influences strategy, agree that the Coup was a major origin of the Iranian victimization narrative, and see the hostage crisis as a fair demonstration of the impact of Iranian victimization on strategy, it follows the narrative of victimization has substantial impact on Iranian grand strategy.

Of course, this was no exhaustive study. A thematic look at Iranian history and discourse with a focus on victimization is a subject that may be expanded upon enormously. For one, victimization is likely one of many themes that arise in Iranian history that help explain the nation’s grand strategy. Moreover, there are myriad case studies and historical events that can be used to reinforce the argument that victimization exists prominently and continuously in Iranian history and strongly impacts Iranian strategic choices. Additional topics worth studying include (but are not limited to) the Islamic Revolution, the Iran-Iraq War, and the Battle of Karbala. These all contain elements of victimization and can be used to further reveal the connection between victimization in Iranian history and victimization in Iranian strategy.

Implications for United States policy include that Iran does not just view the U.S. as a past-victimizer. For example, by claiming Islam forbids nuclear weapons, since their primary purpose is to kill innocent people, Iranian officials including Ayatollah Khamenei have strategically portrayed the United States as hindering innocent technological advancement, ergo victimizing Iran.[lxxviii] Understanding and dealing with Iran requires an acknowledgement of the nation’s sense of victimization. To have effective policy towards Iran we should not overstep and antagonize, as that will only trigger a painful history. If America respects Iran’s boundaries and sovereignty, we may open doors to a much-improved relationship with the Islamic Republic.

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End Notes

[i] Mashal, Thomas. 2017. "At Least 12 Killed In Pair Of Terrorist Attacks In Iran". Nytimes.Com. Accessed November 14 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/07/world/middleeast/iran-parliament-attack-khomeini-mausoleum.html.

[ii] Kurth, James. "America's Grand Strategy: A Pattern of History." The National Interest, no. 43 (1996).

[iii] Kurth, James. "America's Grand Strategy: A Pattern of History." The National Interest, no. 43 (1996): 3.

[iv] Kurth, James. "America's Grand Strategy: A Pattern of History." The National Interest, no. 43 (1996): 6.

[v] Kurth, James. "America's Grand Strategy: A Pattern of History." The National Interest, no. 43 (1996): 3.

[vi] Hooker Jr, R. D. "The Grand Strategy of the United States." http://ndupress.ndu.edu/portals/68/documents/books/grand-strategy-us.pdf

[vii] Carrington, C. E. International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-) 38, no. 3 (1962): 381-82. doi:10.2307/2609465.

[viii] Ronald Edward Robinson and John Gallagher, Africa and the Victorians: The Official Mind of Imperialism (London: Macmillan, 1963), 21-22.

[ix] Sayle, Timothy. "Defining and Teaching Grand Strategy - Foreign Policy Research Institute". Foreign Policy Research Institute. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Mar. 2017. http://www.fpri.org/article/2011/01/defining-and-teaching-grand-strategy/

[x] Ronald Edward Robinson and John Gallagher, Africa and the Victorians: The Official Mind of Imperialism (London: Macmillan, 1963), 21-22.

[xi] Sayle, Timothy. "Defining and Teaching Grand Strategy - Foreign Policy Research Institute". Foreign Policy Research Institute. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Mar. 2017. http://www.fpri.org/article/2011/01/defining-and-teaching-grand-strategy/

[xii] ibid.

[xiii] Hareven, Alouph. "Victimization: Some Comments by an Israeli." Political Psychology 4, no. 1 (1983): 146. doi:10.2307/3791179.

[xiv] "Victimization." Merriam-Webster. Accessed August 05, 2017. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/victimization.

[xv] Hareven, Alouph. "Victimization: Some Comments by an Israeli." Political Psychology 4, no. 1 (1983): 146. doi:10.2307/3791179.

[xvi] "Rethinking 'Don't Blame the Victim': The Psychology of Victimhood." Psychology of Victimhood, Don't Blame the Victim, Article by Ofer Zur, Ph.D. Accessed June 21, 2017. http://www.zurinstitute.com/victimhood.html.

[xvii] ibid.

[xviii] Zāhid, Saʻīd. Iranian national identity in the context of globalization: dialogue or resistance? - WRAP: Warwick Research Archive Portal. May 01, 2005. Accessed March 03, 2017. http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/1957/.

[xix] Castells, Manuel. The Power of Identity. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1997.

[xx] Zāhid, Saʻīd. Iranian national identity in the context of globalization: dialogue or resistance? - WRAP: Warwick Research Archive Portal. May 01, 2005. Accessed March 03, 2017. http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/1957/.

[xxi] Stein, Shimon, and Emily B. Landau. "Iran’s Nuclear Fairy Tale." Inss.org.il. March 10, 2015. Accessed March 26, 2017. http://www.inss.org.il/index.aspx?id=4538&articleid=8947.

[xxii] "Tehran’s “Victimization Fairy Tale”". 2017. Iran News Update. Accessed March 26, 2017. http://irannewsupdate.com/news/nuclear/2002-tehran-s-victimization-fairy-tale.html.

[xxiii] Tellis, Ashley J., Michael Wills, and Nick Bisley. Domestic political change and grand strategy. Seattle, WA: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2007.

[xxiv] Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Press, 2011. xxix-xxx.

[xxv] Green, Jerrold D., Frederic Wehrey and Charles Wolf. Understanding Iran. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2009. http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG771.html. Also available in print form.

[xxvi] Crooke, Alastair. Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution. London; New York: Pluto Press, 2009. 225-226.

[xxvii] "Evaluation Of Embassy Baghdad’s Implementation Of Line Of Effort 6 In The President’s Strategy To Counter ISIL: Exposing ISIL’S True Nature". Office of the Inspector General. N.p., 2017. Web. 23 May 2017.

[xxviii] Ferran, Lee. 2017. "One Third of Iraqis Think US Supports Terrorism, ISIS". ABC News. Accessed May 23 2017. http://abcnews.go.com/International/iraqis-us-supports-terrorism-isis/story?id=38220207.

[xxix] Kinzer, Stephen. All the Shah's men: an American coup and the roots of Middle East terror. New York: Wiley, 2004. 48-49.

[xxx] ibid.

[xxxi] ibid.

[xxxii] Matthew Johnson & Teresa da Silva Lopes). "Association of Business Historians: The BP Archive." Association of Business Historians: The BP Archive. Accessed April 09, 2017. https://web.archive.org/web/20070210043340/http://www.busman.qmul.ac.uk/abh/archive5.htm.

[xxxiii] "Timeline Of Iranian Coup". 2017. Partners.Nytimes.Com. Accessed March 3 2017. https://partners.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/041600iran-coup-timeline.html.

[xxxiv] Kinzer, Stephen. All the Shah's men: an American coup and the roots of Middle East terror. New York: Wiley, 2004. 78-80

[xxxv] Abrahamian, Ervand. Iran between two revolutions. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1982.

[xxxvi] "History Of Iran: A Short Account Of 1953 Coup". 2017. Iranchamber.Com. Accessed March 3 2017. http://www.iranchamber.com/history/coup53/coup53p1.php.

[xxxvii] "Timeline Of Iranian Coup". 2017. Partners.Nytimes.Com. Accessed March 3 2017. https://partners.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/041600iran-coup-timeline.html.

[xxxviii] "New York Times Special Report: The C.I.A. In Iran". 2017. Nytimes.Com. Accessed March 3 2017. http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/041600iran-cia-index.html.

[xxxix] Iran, CIA-assisted. 2017. "CIA-Assisted Coup Overthrows Government Of Iran - Aug 19, 1953 - HISTORY.Com". HISTORY.Com. Accessed March 3 2017. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/cia-assisted-coup-overthrows-government-of-iran.

[xl] Kinzer, Stephen. All the Shah's men: an American coup and the roots of Middle East terror. New York: Wiley, 2004. 195-6.

[xli] Sciolino, Elaine. "Mossadegh: Eccentric Nationalist Begets Strange History ." Accessed April 20, 2017. http://newsmine.org/content.php?ol=coldwar-imperialism%2Firan53%2Fmossadegh-eccentric-nationalist-begets-strange-history.txt.

[xlii] Kressin, Wolfgang K. "Prime Minister Mossadegh and Ayatullah Kashani from Unity to Enmity: As Viewed from the American Embassy in Tehran, June 1950-August 1953." OAI. Accessed April 20, 2017. http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA239339.

[xliii] Ibid.

[xliv] Milani, Abbas. The Shah. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

[xlv] Dehghan, Saeed, and Richard Norton-Taylor. 2013. "CIA Admits Role In 1953 Iranian Coup". The Guardian. Accessed March 28 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/19/cia-admits-role-1953-iranian-coup.

[xlvi] Ibid.

[xlvii] "Timeline Of Iranian Coup". 2017. Partners.Nytimes.Com. Accessed March 3 2017. https://partners.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/041600iran-coup-timeline.html.

[xlviii] Gasiorowski, Mark J. U.S. foreign policy and the Shah: building a client state in Iran. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991.

[xlix] Kressin, Wolfgang K. "Prime Minister Mossadegh and Ayatullah Kashani from Unity to Enmity: As Viewed from the American Embassy in Tehran, June 1950-August 1953." OAI. Accessed April 20, 2017. http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA239339.

[l] "Timeline Of Iranian Coup". 2017. Partners.Nytimes.Com. Accessed March 3 2017. https://partners.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/041600iran-coup-timeline.html.

[li] "Historic Personalities of Iran: Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq." Accessed April 21, 2017. http://www.iranchamber.com/history/mmosaddeq/mohammad_mosaddeq.php.

[lii] "History Of Iran: A Short Account Of 1953 Coup". 2017. Iranchamber.Com. Accessed March 3 2017. http://www.iranchamber.com/history/coup53/coup53p1.php.

[liii] "Iran Hostage Crisis - Facts & Summary - HISTORY.Com". 2017. HISTORY.Com. Accessed March 3 2017. http://www.history.com/topics/iran-hostage-crisis.

[liv] Fisk, Robert. The Great War for Civilisation: the Conquest of the Middle East. Lebanon: Sharikat al Matbouat, 2008. 112.

[lv] "World: SAVAK: Like The CIA." TIME.com. N.p., 1979. Web. 7 Aug. 2017.

[lvi] Ibid.

[lvii] Iran, CIA-assisted. 2017. "CIA-Assisted Coup Overthrows Government Of Iran - Aug 19, 1953 - HISTORY.Com". HISTORY.Com. Accessed March 3 2017. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/cia-assisted-coup-overthrows-government-of-iran.

[lviii] "History Of Iran: Oil In Iran Between The Two World Wars". 2017. Iranchamber.Com. Accessed August 7 2017. http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/oil_iran_between_world_wars.php.

[lix] Cottam, Richard. "Goodbye to America’s Shah." Foreign Policy. March 16, 1979. Accessed April 19, 2017. http://foreignpolicy.com/1979/03/16/goodbye-to-americas-shah/.

[lx] Cottam, Richard. "Goodbye to America’s Shah." Foreign Policy. March 16, 1979. Accessed April 19, 2017. http://foreignpolicy.com/1979/03/16/goodbye-to-americas-shah/.

[lxi] "Iran Hostage Crisis - Facts & Summary - HISTORY.Com". 2017. HISTORY.Com. Accessed March 3 2017. http://www.history.com/topics/iran-hostage-crisis.

[lxii] Kinzer, Stephen. "Inside Iran’s Fury." Smithsonian.com. October 01, 2008. Accessed April 20, 2017. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/inside-irans-fury-11823881/.

[lxiii] Ibid.

[lxiv] "United States History." Iran Hostage Crisis. Accessed April 19, 2017. http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h2021.html.

[lxv] ibid.

[lxvi] "Iran Hostage Crisis - Facts & Summary - HISTORY.Com". 2017. HISTORY.Com. Accessed March 3 2017. http://www.history.com/topics/iran-hostage-crisis.

[lxvii] William Polk, Understanding Iran, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). 137-139

[lxviii] ibid.

[lxix] Dinniss, Heather Harrison. Cyber warfare and the laws of war. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2014. 52.

[lxx] Spencer, Robert. The Complete Infidel's Guide to Iran. Regnery Publishing, 2016. Print.

[lxxi] "What Is Grand Strategy And Why Do We Need It?". 2017. Foreign Policy. Accessed August 8 2017. http://foreignpolicy.com/2009/04/08/what-is-grand-strategy-and-why-do-we-need-it/.

[lxxii] ibid.

[lxxiii] Kinzer, Stephen. "Inside Iran’s Fury." Smithsonian.com. October 01, 2008. Accessed March 6, 2017. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/inside-irans-fury-11823881/.

[lxxiv] Rivera, William Anthony. "Discursive Practices of Honor: Rethinking Iran’s Nuclear Program." Foreign Policy Analysis, 2016. doi:10.1093/fpa/orw005.

[lxxv] Kisner, Frank. "Iran And Victimization | Small Wars Journal." Smallwarsjournal.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 8 Aug. 2017.

[lxxvi] Stein, Shimon, and Emily B. Landau. "Iran’s Nuclear Fairy Tale." Inss.org.il. March 10, 2015. Accessed March 26, 2017. http://www.inss.org.il/index.aspx?id=4538&articleid=8947.

[lxxvii] Douven, Igor. 2011. "Abduction". Plato.Stanford.Edu. Accessed April 9 2017. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/abduction/.

[lxxviii] Thaler, David E., Alireza Nader, Shahram Chubin, Jerrold D. Green, Charlotte Lynch and Frederic Wehrey. Mullahs, Guards, and Bonyads: An Exploration of Iranian Leadership Dynamics. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2010. http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG878.html.

 

About the Author(s)

Amir Perk is a second-year student at Duke University studying public policy and economics.