Public Diplomacy in the Middle East: A Comparative Analysis of the U.S. and Iran

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Afsaneh Ahadi


In today’s world, a country’s portrayal and prestige in public opinion is more important than before, essentially contributing to the failure or success of its policies. From this perspective, many states have considered efforts at influencing and shaping public opinion in recent years. The United States is among those which pay utmost attention to this issue, pursuing its activities within the framework of public diplomacy. In recent years, a change in mindsets in the Middle East is viewed as one of Washington's public diplomacy goals. Iran also has a few plans for introducing the Islamic Revolution’s model to the world and influencing global public opinion. Given religious, cultural and geographical commonalties, Iran pays special attention to the peoples of the Middle East. This paper seeks to compare public diplomacy employed by Iran and the United States in the region, raising the question of which has been more successful. This comparison particularly refers to certain key aspects of the public diplomacy of the two nations, including their goals, audience, sources of soft power, instruments and degree of success.

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*Afsaneh Ahadi is the Research Fellow at the Center for Strategic Research ( and Expert on Strategic & US Affairs

Keywords: Public Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, Middle East, Iran, United States, Ahadi

Source: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs - IRFA

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