World Sociopolitical Studies

World Sociopolitical Studies

World Sociopolitical Studies, Winter 2020, Volume 4, Issue 1



Persian-Language Media overseas as the Western Tools of Public Diplomacy: Framing COVID-19 Pandemics in Iran by VOA and BBC

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The coronavirus pandemic has attracted the international media since the first infection was identified in Wuhan, China in late 2019. Despite the similar frames all around the world, the present study assumes that international media have not portrayed the countries with confirmed outburst of the disease in similar terms. It is believed that diseases in the world are both political and biological. The present study, therefore, employs media framing, as conducted by Entman and Van Gorp, to analyze the first fifty VOA and BBC Persian news that covered the spread of COVID-19 in Iran. These agencies are chosen for their significant position in the western public diplomacy and their probable influence within the country. The results indicate that the outbreak of COVID-19 in Iran is framed in seven major frame packages: Iran at crisis, Iran as the source of regional and international threatening virus, lack of determination and confidence in decision making in Iran, Iran’s incompetence and disqualification as an ill-equipped system, lying and hypocrisy in Iran, violation of human rights, and finally, Islamic political ideology as a source of corruption.

The Impossible Bargain: Iranian-American Relations in the Extended Framework of Putnam’s Two-Level Game Theory

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Both in the U.S. and in Iran, foreign policy making is the result of a complex negotiation process between the different bodies of the government. In both countries, anti-Iranian and anti-American sentiments became the hallmark of the conservative elites’ thinking, which has been effectively blocking a political détente between the parties. The argument of this analysis departs from the dogmatism of the elites and states that the failure of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement was not only the result of the tight constraint of domestic actors on each country’s win-sets, but also due to the fact that both countries denied the addition of Level 3 to Putnam’s Two-Level Game Theory, that is, negotiation with the alliance blocs of the respective parties. Both negotiators failed to recognize the importance of the regional players and their threat perceptions that had not been limited to Iran’s nuclear capability, but at the same time involved Iran’s military ambitions. The analysis argues that widening the scope of the nuclear negotiations to three levels would prove the unfeasibility of a nuclear agreement concluded in the current geopolitical context. Only the deconstruction of the Western double standard – that American military presence in the Persian Gulf is normal while Iranian military presence is unacceptable aggressiveness – could lead to the possibility of a strong and widely accepted deal on the Iranian nuclear activities. The author of the analysis thus suggests the necessity of limiting the military expansion of both the U.S. and Iran as a precondition for a successful three-level negotiation process.

Rethinking Minorities’ Integration into the Host Society: The Case of Indians in the Baharestan Neighbourhood of Tehran Neighbourhood of Tehran

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This study on Indians in the Baharestan neighbourhood of Tehran investigates the nature of their social integration, and the factors which affect it. By considering integration as a two-way process, this research aims to contribute to the literature on integration, through the discovery of the status of foreign immigrants in a developing country with particular cultural, social, and religious regulations and norms. Based on semi-structured interviews with Iranian and Indian residents in the Baharestan neighbourhood, the study shows that these two groups live in Baharestan without tension. Using the theory of integration proposed by Bakker et al. (2014) as a “two-way” process, we argue in this study that the approaches taken by the two groups of Iranian and Indian residents have largely led to their social integration. The Indian minorities have preserved their own culture and adopted part of the host culture in order to respect the host community; likewise, the host community has accepted immigrant groups with an understanding of cultural differences, and this mutual respect has led to neighbourhood harmony. However, despite the willingness of both groups to expand their social interaction, this is difficult due to restrictions imposed on minorities, and insufficient public space.

Diaspora Identity: A Profile of Iraqi Immigrants in the USA

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Since the late 19th century, Iraqi immigrants have formed a community in the United States, which is widely known as a part of the Arab-Muslim diaspora in the country, while the reality is rather different, since the majority of this community is non-Arab and non-Muslim. The focus of this paper is to investigate the US-based Iraqi diaspora identity regarding its formation and evolution by reviewing its history and exploring its diversity, which could inform readers about the major identification modalities taken by members of the community in the American context. The key question discussed in this paper is therefore the following: how does Iraqi diaspora identity diverge or converge within the American context, influenced by historical, ethnic and religious elements? Using analytical narratives as our corpus of study, we will discuss the way in which Iraqi-Americans present their identity by commenting on their ethno-religious diversity and the impact of the diversity on the community. Findings indicate that affected by US-Iraq relationships as well as different contexts in both homeland and the host country throughout the last three decades, a divergent dynamism has serious potentials to influence the future of this diaspora community in the United States.

The Islamic Republic of Iran in the Rhetoric of the Nation of Islam

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When the Nation of Islam was first established in 1930 by Wallace Fard Muhammad, it managed to attract a segment of African Americans and persuade them to convert to Islam as taught by the organization. Despite the fact that the Nation of Islam has walked through a path of modifications and controversies, to this date it continues to attract African Americans in the United States. In fact, a significant number of well-known African Americans converted to Islam through the Nation of Islam. Drawing from Jowett’s neutral definitions of propaganda, this paper employs Jowett and O’Donnell’s 10-step propaganda analysis to examine how the Islamic Republic of Iran is presented in the rhetoric of the Nation of Islam. A study of the rhetoric of the Nation of Islam produced on the Islamic Republic of Iran as presented in the organization’s most important outlet, the, shows that the NOI utilizes resonance, opinion leaders, and particular language in order to maximize the effect of its propaganda regarding Iran on its target audience and to reinforce ideological, emotional closeness with the Iranian nation.

U.S. Strategy toward Africa and Trump's Rivalry Competition: A Neo-Classical Approach

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This article illustrates the fact that the U.S. administration's behavior toward Africa has always been shaped by the conception of rivalries' presence, rather than the potentials of the continent. In recent years, with the emergence of America’s rivals, such as China and Russia in Africa in the continent, who have invested not only in the African economy, but also in its security and military sectors, the notion of rivalries' limitation has been exaggerated in U.S. decision making toward Africa. Using a neoclassical approach, by analyzing the dynamism of the U.S. foreign policies toward Africa and Trump's rivalry-based policies, this article concludes that Trumps' African policy has not been different from that of his predecessors, and that the U.S. has always adopted a neoclassical realism approach toward Africa, which has been invigorated by the presidency of Trump.