Iran’s national security policy is arguably the product of overlapping and sometimes competing priorities such as the ideology of Iran’s Islamic revolution, perception of threats to the regime and to the country, and long-standing national interests. Iran’s leadership has:
- Sought to deter or thwart any effort to invade or intimidate Iran or to bring about a change of regime.
- Taken advantage of regional conflicts to advance a broader goal of overturning a power structure in the Middle East that it asserts favors the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Sunni Muslim Arab regimes.
- Sought to restore a sense of “greatness” reminiscent of ancient Persian empires.
- Provided material support to regional allied governments and armed factions, including increasingly precise missile systems that enable Iran to project power.
- Supported acts of international terrorism, as the “leading” or “most active” state sponsor of terrorism, according to annual State Department reports on international terrorism.
- Backed actions against international shipping in the Persian Gulf and in Iraq that represent, in part, an attempt to pressure the United States to relax sanctions on Iran. These actions have continued despite Iran’s struggles with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak there.