Détente and dialogue: Iran and the OIC during the Khatami era (1997–2005)

Wastnidge, Edward (2011). Détente and dialogue: Iran and the OIC during the Khatami era (1997–2005). Politics, Religion & Ideology, 12(4) pp. 413–431.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/21567689.2011.624411


Following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran's relations with the OIC were largely characterised by mutual mistrust and a continuing battle for hegemony within the organisation. This piece explores how Iran sought to utilise one of the world's pre-eminent religious-based international organisations as an arena to further its position in the Muslim world not, as in previous years, through reprimand and alleged subversion, but rather through a policy based on détente and dialogue. It charts how the Khatami administration chose the OIC as a forum in which to showcase the key instruments of a new, conciliatory foreign policy based on the twin principles of détente and Dialogue among Civilisations. Using a range of Iranian and English-language sources, the article explores the application of these ideas as foreign policy tools and demonstrates how inter-religious dialogue and the use of a culture-based foreign policy was cultivated by Iran as a means of furthering its standing in the grouping and in wider international affairs. It examines how Iran's own ummah-wide aspirations were maintained in a way that sought to emphasise cooperation rather than confrontation, highlighting how Khatami's nuanced approach of blending religious and political discourse represents one of the more constructive diplomatic endeavours of the Islamic Republic to date.

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