Iran stands at a critical juncture in its history. In the era of Presidents Hassan Rouhani and Barack Obama, the Islamic Republic has a unique opportunity to regain its traditional greatness as a cradle of rich civilisation and culture, with a capacity to be a very influential and stabilising regional actor. In this incisive analysis, Amin Saikal, a leading expert on Iranian politics, traces Iran's transition from pro-Western monarchy to Islamic Republic and explores the choices open to Rouhani's moderate reformist government. The Islamic Republic has endured a difficult journey throughout its existence. But since Khomeini assumed power in 1979 it has been characterised by a degree of exceptionalism, which has seen Iran lock horns with the United States and prove itself an effective and shrewdly calculating player on the international stage. Looking to the future, Saikal does not shy away from confronting the difficult choices facing Iran today.
Failure to achieve reconciliation with the United States in the coming years, he argues, will not only have serious implications for Iran's internal stability and for the future security of the Middle East, but also for America's position within this volatile and unpredictable region.