Iran`s Policy in the Syrian Civil War: From Liberal Pacifism to Liberal Interventionism

Document Type : Original Article


Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Shahid Behehsti University, Tehran, Iran


The Syrian civil war which broke out in March 2011 further destabilized the Middle East in general and the Levant in particular. From among many implications of this conflict such as the deaths of more than 400,000 civilians and the refugee crisis, it caused the heavy involvement of regional (such as Islamic Republic of Iran, the GCC states, Jordan, and Turkey) and trans-regional (the United States, Russia, and many European countries) actors. Iran has been one of the main players in the Syrian conflict theater. This article seeks to explain Iran`s policy towards the violent events in Syria and analyze its evolution during 2011-2018. By underestimating the role of geopolitics in contrast to the dominant literature, our main argument is that Iran`s policy in the Syrian civil war has evolved from support for the self-determination right of the Syrian people through diplomatic means (liberal pacifism) to support for the Russian military intervention (liberal interventionism). We further try to analyze why this shift in Iran`s policy towards the Syrian crisis occurred


Volume 2, Issue 1
Winter and Spring 2021
Pages 211-230
  • Receive Date: 10 October 2020
  • Revise Date: 20 November 2020
  • Accept Date: 23 December 2020