Iran's Shia Diplomacy: Religious Identity and Foreign Policy in the Islamic Republic

Author: Edward Wastnidge

September 18, 2020

In this policy brief, Edward Wastnidge argues that organizations such as the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization and the religious outreach arms of the Iranian state play an important role in helping cement transnational religious links between Iran and the wider Muslim world. Such links not only take the shape of traditional religious activities affiliated with the seminaries but also involve educational and diplomatic missions undertaken abroad by the Iranian government. The outreach and development of such parastatal organizations operating across the world highlights a complex and multi-layered articulation of Iran’s combined spiritual and political mission in global politics.

This policy brief was written as part of the Geopolitics of Religious Soft Power project, a partnership between Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and the Brookings Institution supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.

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