Iran counts as one of the non-Arab states in the region which nonetheless has an impact on the Arab countries; the corollary is that it also is impacted by the Arab states. This paper seeks to examine the official positions the Islamic Republic of Iran, including those positions held both by "conservative" and "reformist" camps, and their attitude towards the Arab popular uprisings of 2011 in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain and Syria. Further to this, we will also discuss the effect which these positions have on the internal situation in Iran, and how this will impact Iran's influence in countries in the region.
There is, by and large, a consensus throughout the Iranian political spectrum in support of the popular revolutions in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Bahrain. Yet there are differences between the two broad camps - reformist on the one hand as well as the conservative and the regime - with regard to how to interpret the root causes of these revolutions. Likewise, while the Iranian government has supported the Syrian regime in its resistance to popular protests, reformers regard this stance as hypocritical and double-standard. The research in this paper points to the conclusion that while Iran as a whole may have gained from the victory of the revolutionary forces in Egypt, it has lost from its stances in relation to Bahrain and Syria.
With the fall of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and the accelerated pace of the Egyptian Revolution against Hosni Mubarak, an Iranian attitude towards the Arab Spring began to coalesce, an attitude which broadly took in both the reformists and the conservatives, and was supportive of the two revolutions mentioned above. The Iranians were also supportive of both the Libyan and Yemeni revolutions; again, both political blocs within Iran supported these two revolts. Although the governmental camp in Iran was opposed to Western involvement and the NATO military intervention in Libya, it remained committed to the popular uprising in that country. Yet, while there is widespread popular support for the Arab uprisings in Iran, there is no agreement on the bases and reasons for this support; in other words, there is no common Iranian prism through which these events are being viewed.
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