Date of Graduation

Spring 2015


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Ilan Berman


This thesis will examine Iran's increasing strategic footprint in Latin America, Africa, and East Asia to further its mission and circumvent Western sanctions and international isolation. Iran's use of various lines of effort: diplomatic; military; cultural and religious; nuclear; strategic resources; and economic have been used to carry out its overall strategic plan. The Islamic Republic of Iran has long been an adversary of the United States and a major focus of US foreign policy abroad. Much attention in recent years has been on Iran's nuclearization and P5+1 negotiations to convince Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions in exchange for an ease on economic sanctions. However, the narrow scope of focus on Iran's nuclear program leaves the other aspects of its increasing strategic footprint overlooked. Increasingly, Iran has been focusing its efforts in regions outside of the Middle East to include Latin America, Africa, and East Asia. While preliminary relationships between Iran and each region may have been predicated on fundamental similarities, the overarching strategy remains strikingly similar: increase diplomatic and economic alliances to circumvent Western sanctions; gain access to strategic resources; and export the revolution through intelligence bases and surreptitious networks abroad. This thesis will examine Iran's motivations, beliefs, intentions, and capabilities in Latin America, Africa, and East Asia and resulting US policy implications.


Iran, Latin America, Africa, Central Asia, irgc, Hezbollah, exporting revolution, terrorism, economy, proxy group, United States

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


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