Iran, Revolution, Supreme Leader, President, Foreign Policy, Realist, Idealist, United States, Nuclear Development


This study investigated the role of different leadership styles within Iran and how such leadership changes influenced Iranian foreign policy. The study utilized event-data analysis of Iranian history and current events and discussed the role of realist and idealist to the development of Iran into the regional power it is today as well as how Western relations played a role in developing Iranian foreign policy, particularly with regard to its nuclear development. The main body of the study drew from the dynamics within Iran, its relations with the West, relations with Israel, and relations with other foreign powers. The event-data analysis also took into account the political and socioeconomic stability and conditions within Iran as it would readily influence the foreign policy-making within the nation. The first part of the study analyzed Iranian society under the Shah and the under the revolutionary guidance of the Ayatollah Khomeini; the second part analyzed the post-Khomeini period in Iran. In addition to reviewing the role of different revolutionary leadership styles within Iran, this study considers the role that Iranian-Western relations have played in Iranian policy-making. Further, this study considers the tumultuous role that nuclear development has had in Iran's foreign relations. Findings showed that there is a relationship between Western presence in the Middle East and growing aggression by Iranian leadership. Moreover, the study demonstrates that the role of revolutionary leadership styles is critical in accessing the manner in which foreign policy decisions are made. The study found that the role of Islam in Iranian politics has brought much contention but found that in the post-Khomeini years, it has not been the central reason for policy decisions. Recommendations were made for the continued study of the role of nuclear development in Iranian-Western relations as this study was able to find some evidence of it having some level of relevance. Additionally, recommendations were made that additional research be conducted with regard to the role of Islam in shaping Iranian foreign policy in the Post-Khomeini era.


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Graduation Date



Sadri, Houman A.


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Sciences


Political Science

Degree Program

Political Science








Release Date

September 2009

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)