Elite Competition and Foreign Policymaking in Iran

December 7, 2021 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

This book presentation is realised within the framework of the Regional Security Initiative at the Middle East Directions Programme.

Divided between elected and non-elected institutions, the bifurcated power structure in Iran has caused continual competition among the elites, fundamentally impacting the country’s foreign policymaking. At the heart of the internal rivalries lies the complex relation between former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In his recent seminar book entitled ‘The Battle of Ayatollahs in Iran’ Alex Vatanka has gone deeply into this relationship.

The online round table will look at the key findings in Vatanka’s new book. The event will also provide an opportunity to discuss the institutional implications of the rivalries for the Iranian political system, the impact they have had on the evolution of the country’s foreign policy establishment and how they impede Iran’s ability to effectively tackle key foreign policy issues.


Luigi Narbone, Director, MEDirections Programme at the RSCAS/EUI
Abdolrasool Divsallar, Adjunct Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, Universita’ Cattolica’ Del Sacro Cuore and co-lead of the Regional Security Initiative at MEDirections.


Alex Vatanka, Director of the Iran Program, Middle East Institute (MEI).
Gulriz Sen, Professor of International Relations, TOBB ETU.