Iran Resurgent

The Rise and Rise of the Shia State

May 2019 9781849049559 272pp


Iran has emerged from decades of isolation and struggle to become a leading, if not the pre-eminent, regional power. Iran projects its influence throughout the Middle East and parts of Central Asia. Moreover, Iranian diplomacy is active on the world stage, with long-term projects in Africa and South America.

The landmark nuclear deal of July 2015 was a major triumph and saw the Islamic Republic successfully negotiate with several world powers to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Crucially, whilst the nuclear deal restricts Iran’s nuclear programme for at least a decade, it doesn’t irreversibly dismantle any part of it.

With internal Iranian politics stabilising around a centrist administration led by President Rouhani, the country is set to continue on a path of regional strategic growth. But with clear signs that the Trump administration is determined to contain Iran’s regional influence, what is the risk of a military confrontation?

This book argues that Iran has developed sufficient diplomatic strength and credible military capability to deter a full-scale US military assault. But absent a dramatic lowering of tensions, there remains a risk of limited clashes, with far-reaching consequences for regional security.


‘Abedin packs an extraordinary amount into this compact and lucid survey of regime dynamics and grand strategy in Iran.’ — Foreign Affairs

‘This study offers productive new insights into the future possibilities and limitations of Iran’s regional and even wider aspirations.’ — The Muslim World Book Review

‘Few studies are as holistic in their consideration of Iranian politics, both foreign and domestic, as [Iran Resurgent]… a great resource for students and scholars of Iranian politics.’ — International Affairs

‘By far the most important analysis of Iran’s foreign policy, Abedin’s study vividly brings to light the debates over its strategies and their domestic and international constraints. The book offers productive new insights into the future possibilities and limitations of Iran’s regional and global ambitions.’ — Faisal Devji, University Reader in Modern South Asian History, St Antony’s College, Oxford

‘A valuable book capturing the rise of Iran as a regional superpower, written with analytical acumen. This is a distinctly convincing and readable analysis of Iran’s role in the region and beyond.’ — Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, Professor in Global Thought and Comparative Philosophies, SOAS, University of London

Iran Resurgent is essential reading for anybody seeking to understand the enduring relevance of the Islamic Revolution. Abedin offers a uniquely thoughtful analysis vis-à-vis Iran’s foreign policy and the challenges it faces as a contender for power in a multipolar world.’ — Sarah Marusek, Research Fellow, University of Leeds


Mahan Abedin is an Iranian-born British journalist and analyst of Iranian and Middle Eastern politics. His strong thinktank background includes stints at the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation and the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi. Abedin regularly appears on international broadcasting media, including the BBC and Al-Jazeera English, to comment on the latest developments in Iranian politics.   

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