Dr. Akbar is a professor at the Department of Asia Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia
During the past two decades, Iran has gained a prominent position in the Middle East. Its influence in Iraq has gradually increased following the US invasion in 2003, and in Syria after the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011. Many scholars and political analysts frame Iran's actions in the region as driven by the country's desire for expansionism. This article, however, demonstrates that Tehran's foreign policy rationale for exercising regional influence, especially in Iraq and Syria, has mainly been oriented around guaranteeing Iran's national security.
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