The IUP Journal of International Relations
Imagining Iran: Insights from Image Theory

Article Details
Pub. Date : Oct, 2020
Product Name : The IUP Journal of International Relations
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJIR11020
Author Name : Rohan Davis
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 18



Informed by Image theory, this paper aims to understand how Iran has been imagined by prominent parts of the Australian media during the course of the Iran Nuclear Deal. It is revealed that Iran is most commonly imagined as a barbarian nation, meaning it holds goals that are incompatible with Australia's strategic interests, is perceived as relatively superior in terms of military strength and ability to influence the international political environment, but is perceived as culturally inferior. These imageries, which are often provided in the context of discussions about the Syrian War and Israel's ongoing security, have significant implications for how Australians think about and engage with the world in general and Iran and Iranians in particular.


In December 2018, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed his audience at the Sydney Institute about his and his Government's worries about Iran and the Iran Nuclear Deal: "Our concerns about Iran relate not to what is in the agreement, but what's not in the agreement," Morrison declared, "The agreement does not address Iran's destabilizing activities in the Middle East and beyond. It does not address Iran's proliferation of ballistic missiles and technology, and activities undermining Israel's security, and support for terrorist groups. These activities are ones the global community must act on".1 Morrison's comments were in part a response to the US' earlier decision to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal and its subsequent reimposing of economic sanction on Iran. President Donald Trump justified the US' withdrawal on the grounds the agreement's sunset would fail to prevent Iran from eventually acquiring the necessary material to develop nuclear weapons. Trump was also angry the agreement allowed Iran to continue to access significant sums of money, which he claimed it used to produce nuclear-capable missiles, finance militant proxies and promote violence throughout the Middle East especially in Syria.2


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