France and Iran's Rivalry in the Middle East: Strategies, Interactions, and Consequences


İran Çalışmaları Dergisi, vol.7, no.1, pp.53-81, 2023 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 7 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.33201/iranian.1290314
  • Journal Name: İran Çalışmaları Dergisi
  • Journal Indexes: Arab World Research Source, Central & Eastern European Academic Source (CEEAS), Index Islamicus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.53-81
  • Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University Affiliated: Yes


This study argues that France has recently sought to reassert itself as a power in the Middle East, North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean (MENA), especially in its former colonies. In this context, France's quest for "Pax Mediterranea" under the leadership of Emmanuel Macron, which has intensified its political-military initiatives in the MENA region, is analyzed through the rivalry between Paris and Tehran in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria, which are considered as Iran's spheres of influence in the Middle East. In this context, it is possible to explain the ups and downs of France-Iran relations from a realist perspective based on geopolitical competition, concrete threat perceptions and military-economic factors. Within the framework of neo-realist theory, which emphasizes the need to prevent the rise of regional hegemonic powers, this study argues that France's concern about Iran's growing influence in the region, the conflict of interests they face at the regional level and Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons are the most important reasons for the unfriendly relations between the two countries.