Dr. Keynoush is the editor of Iran's Interregional Dynamics in the Near East (Peter Lang, 2021). Her first book, Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), has been translated into Arabic and Persian.
Africa is a pivotal continent for Iran, as the Islamic Republic aims to expand its influence in wider global vistas. Iran experiences frequent setbacks in developing its Africa policy, but the continent continues to offer ample opportunities to support Tehran. This is partly because revolutionary Iran's Africa policy evolves through a wide array of piecemeal political, security, maritime, economic, and cultural activities. A host of Iranian organizations implement Iran's Africa policy, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Quds Force, the naval forces, inter-parliamentary groups, friendship associations, and local chambers of commerce, as well as charities, religious seminaries, and universities. This article explores Iran's policies and their impact across the African continent. It also shows how Iran's activities evolve as the country seizes opportunities to expand bilateral and regional ties with African countries while retracting its involvement when it is unable to ensure strong bonds. The ebb and flow in Iranian Africa policy challenges but continually offers Tehran a chance to explore its foreign relations across the continent; as a result, Africa will play a vital role in sustaining Iran's international contacts, ability to circumvent sanctions, and capacity to withstand pressures from rival powers. The undeniable spread of Islam across Africa means that Iran will make efforts to win followers and propagate its brand of religion and revolutionary worldview as part of measures to build strategic depth across the continent.
Middle East Policy is fully accessible through the Wiley Online Library
Click below to subscribe to the online or print edition of Middle East Policy and gain access to all journal content.