In the belly of the bear? : Soviet-Iranian relations during the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
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The question mark of the project's title alludes to a critical reexamination of Soviet- Iranian relations during the period and aims to offer an original contribution to scholarship in the field by exploring an aspect of Pahlavi foreign relations that lacks any detailed treatment in the literature presently available. In pursuit of this goal, research has been concentrated on recently-released western archival documentation, the Iranian Studies collection held at the University of St Andrews, and similarly materials from the Russian Federal Archive for Foreign Relations, to which the author was granted access, including ambassadorial papers relating to the premiership of Mohammad Mosaddeq. As far as can be ascertained, the majority of the Russian archival evidence presented in the dissertation has not been previously been utilised by any Western-based scholar. At core, the thesis argues that the trajectory of Pahlavi foreign relations specifically (and to a certain degree Mohammad Reza's regency more broadly) owed principally to a deeply-rooted belief in, and perceived necessity to guard against, the Soviet Union's (and Russia's) historical 'objectives' vis-à-vis Iran. While the Shah proved himself to be a very effective advocate of this approach, it is suggested that the importance attached to the spectre of Soviet interference cannot solely be explained as a means of leverage in relation to Iran's western allies, although at times it was undoubtedly used in this manner. Rather, the anxieties of Iranian politicians were the genuine consequence of a painfully proximate history, significantly reinforced by the unfortunate disconnect between public Soviet diplomacy towards Iran and the activities of various 'deniable' Communist elements operating both within and outwith Iran‟s borders.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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