The time is ripe for scholars to offer ideas that can help stabilize the region. The nations of the Middle East and especially the Persian Gulf have suffered greatly from military conflict over the past four decades, including the ongoing conflict in Iraq, the 1991 war in Kuwait, and the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. The existing Persian Gulf security system, without participation of all states, only offers the chance to stabilize the region for the short to medium term and is not compatible for a long time. For the time being, the formation of a Persian Gulf wide cooperative security forum would increase regional security and give recognition to all legitimate security concerns and could play an increasingly important role as the forum matures (Kupchan, 2007)
There are more subtle developments that permit a new and better security system to be built after Saddam’s removal from power in 2003. One is the growing acceptance by elites in Saudi Arabia and the smaller Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states of the need for domestic reform. The other development, obscured by rhetoric on both sides, is the growing possibility that America believes any arrangements without the presence of all states in the Persian Gulf region cannot be stable as has been shown and Iran can be certain that the U.S has its interests in the Persian Gulf.
It is submitted that increase in Iran’s importance and its enhanced regional role; emergence of a new Iraq with a different nature; changes in the nature of security challenges, have necessitated the formation of a new regional security system in the Persian Gulf based on political, cultural and security realities of the region. The Persian Gulf’s traditional security system has been designed chiefly around the traditional threats and particularly based on the situations of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Policies such as “Nixon’s Doctrine”, “balance of power”, and “dual containment”, for imposing imported security systems based only on the demands and interests of trans-regional players, have been the main components of such a security system. Today, according to new developments in international relations, such an arrangement that multiplies the causes of tension and mistrust between states in the region and external powers, is based on mutual misperception about roles, positions and objectives of other countries in the region is not in compliance with regional realities, and just as was demonstrated during the crises of recent years – the first and second Persian Gulf wars – it did not have the required efficacy. For the same reason, the current conditions and realities of the region without doubt demand a new regional security arrangement. The hypothesis of the present thesis is that the Islamic Republic of Iran has always sought to create conditions in which the security of the Persian Gulf region is assured through indigenous means, free from interference by outsiders.
۱.۳ Problem statement
The Persian Gulf region with the discovery of oil in Iran in 1908; grew significantly in importance to Britain and then other powers of Europe and US. This region has been the world’s critical energy repository for the past several decades. The eight Persian Gulf states are currently estimated to contain approximately 63.3 percent of the world’s reserves of crude oil and 33.3 percent of its natural gas and the world is projected to grow more dependent on oil from the region (Bagat, 1999). After the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 the US security strategy for the region (Twin Pillar Policy) was collapsed and the Iranian Revolution created anti-American sentiment among the Iranian.
After the Islamic revolution different US administrations repeated their efforts to find an effective Persian Gulf security system to maintain their interests in this region. But most of these policies depended on unilateral interference and readiness of the United States to maintain a military presence in the region that was not compatible with the interest of Iran and few other Arab states of the region (Pollack, 2003). So, the cycle of instability and conflict that has plagued the region is the most important problem of the region. However, many security policies has been carried out for the Persian Gulf region from the Americans since 1979, but analyzing the main challenges and current conditions of the Persian Gulf it appears that the region still suffers a lot of crises and lacks peace and stability and the region has lurched from crisis to crisis.
Therefore, the problem identified in this research is related to in-depth understanding of why the security policies of the US after Islamic revolution in Iran toward Iran in the Persian Gulf could not maintain peace and security in the region. In other words, why region suffer unstable security and lack of peace at least after the Islamic revolution in iran and also how do conflicting aspirations and perceptions of the Islamic Republic of Iran and U.S. could impact on the security arrangement of the Persian Gulf region.
۱.۴ Research aims and Objectives
In accordance with the principles of regional security and the background research material of this research pertaining to the Persian Gulf area, the research aims are as follows:
۱) The study aims to discuss the security policies of the United States in the Persian Gulf from 1979 until 2008.
۲) It aims to evaluate the influence of the U.S. security policies on the regional peace and stability regarding Iran in the Persian Gulf.
۳) It aims to examine Iranian’s policies toward the United State in the Persian Gulf region.
۱.۵ Research questions
This study used the descriptive qualitative approach and based on the statement of the problem, thereby seeks to address the following main research questions:
۱) What were the evolutions of the U.S. regional security policies regarding Iran in the Persian Gulf from 1979 to 2008?
۲) What were the effects of the U.S. regional security policies on the regional peace and stability regarding Iran in the Persian Gulf?
۳) What were the Iranian policies toward the U.S. security policies in the Persian Gulf?
۱.۶ Significance of the study
This study could contribute to scientific knowledge and provide information about the policies of the U.S. toward Iran related to the Persian Gulf. Increased knowledge of the interaction between Iran and the United States in the Persian Gulf region and Regional Security Complex Theory and external interference of big powers in the region, could add to existing knowledge and provide a rationale for future research. This study’s findings could help the leaders of the United States and Iran to have a better understanding of themselves and their role in the peace and stability of the region.
The findings of this study are expected to contribute to U.S. – Iran literature and the body of knowledge on the U.S. security policies in the Persian Gulf and also regional security arrangements in the Persian Gulf area. Furthermore, the findings of this research may also be used as existing scientific evidence for academic researchers to assess, monitor and evaluate how successful have been the U.S. security policies toward Iran in the Persian Gulf region. The outcome of this investigation will also assist researchers in the field of International relations and foreign policy.
This research is important because it determines the theory of Regional Security Complex toward the Persian Gulf region as well as examines the relationship between regional rivalries and external interference in the sub-regions such as the Persian Gulf. The outcome of this study can be used as a guideline for policy makers dealing with foreign affairs and regional security in U.S. and Iran. The outcome of this study is also valuable to those seeking ways of improving the U.S. – Iran relationship.
The findings of this study could help U.S. and Iran’s leaders to improve their policies and activities in order to enhance their internet by arrangement of stable peace and security in the region. Moreover, the expected result could also help the GCC states to recognize the realities of the region and improve their policies toward Iran and Iraq. Furthermore, the study’s finding should help in providing knowledge regarding the U.S. policies toward Iran related to the Persian Gulf and undertaken approaches about security in the region.
This research also provides researchers and practitioners of Middle East studies with information regarding the theory and practice of U.S. policies toward Iran. This study also makes several important contributions to the literature pertaining to regional security and U.S. security policies toward the Persian Gulf.
Similarly, this study will show the importance and position of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the stability of the region.