Iranian state identity
in Representation, recognition and respect in world politics
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This chapter illustrates how the components feeding into Iranian state identity have been continually negotiated and (re)constructed over time. Iranian state identity under the Pahlavi shahs, from 1925 until the overthrow of the last shah in 1979, is often understood as completely distinct from the post-Iranian Revolution identity framework introduced under the Islamic Republic from 1979 onwards. While Iranian state identity was, and continues to be, constituted in unique ways that manifest as two different sets of representations of what Iran is and how Iran should behave, there is nevertheless a strong convergence as to what constitutes Iranian identity: evoking a unique and powerful state that deserves respect. Iranian state identity is explored through the broad categories of history, cultural traditions and national mission. The boundaries between each ideational category often overlap or complement one another within and across these diachronically separate time periods. Yet one element is shared between the Pahlavi dynasty and Islamic Republic eras: the desire for Iran to be recognised as a unique, powerful and deserving of respect.

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