Iran: History, Politics, and Foreign Policy


This course introduces participants to the history, politics, and foreign relations of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It offers a tour d’horizon of Iranian history, with a focus on the 20th century. You will learn about the rise and fall of the Pahlavi Dynasty (1925-1979), the legacy of the 1953 coup, and the Iranian revolution. Furthermore, the course explains the political system of the Islamic Republic, the distribution of the political authority, and the structure of the armed forces and security services. This course zooms in on Iran’s foreign policy and analyzes US-Iran relations, as well as Iran’s bilateral relations with its key neighbours and its involvement in regional conflicts. It discusses Iran’s nuclear strategy and lays out the core principles driving Iran’s foreign and defence policies. Finally, it analyzes bilateral relations between Canada and Iran, including the historical background to the relationship, as well as key developments in recent years. The course concludes with a debate on options moving forward for Canada’s policy towards the Islamic Republic.


Learning Outcomes

  • Understand in broad terms how history over the past 100 years shape Iran’s political trajectory today
  • Identify the key power centers in the Islamic Republic
  • Assess the main drivers of Iran’s foreign and defence policies
  • Understand why Canada-Iran bilateral relations are basically at a stalemate



  • Anyone interested in policy and intelligence.



12 hours



  • $995 (plus tax)


Featured Instructor

Thomas Juneau is associate professor at the University of Ottawa's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. His research focuses on the Middle East, the role of intelligence in national security and foreign policy making, and Canadian foreign and defence policy. He is the author of Squandered Opportunity: Neoclassical realism and Iranian foreign policy (2015) and co-editor of Middle Power in the Middle East: Canada’s Foreign and Defence Policies in a Changing Region (2022) and of Iranian Foreign Policy Since 2001: Alone in the World (2013), among other books. From 2003 until 2014, he worked with Canada’s Department of National Defence.



Event CodeTitleBegin DateEnd DateTermDelivery MethodRegister to Event
S00872212AIran: History, Politics, and Foreign Policy12/5/202212/8/2022AutumnOnlineRegister to Event