• Class Number 4308
  • Term Code 3430
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr Alam Saleh
    • Dr Alam Saleh
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 19/02/2024
  • Class End Date 24/05/2024
  • Census Date 05/04/2024
  • Last Date to Enrol 26/02/2024
SELT Survey Results

This course presents an interdisciplinary overview of politics and security in contemporary Iran. It discusses the geopolitical, geostrategic and geographical importance of Iran for the region. Key domestic security challenges to the state are outlined and studied. Taking a knowledge-based and experiential approach, the course explores six core interconnected divisions most relevant to Iran and the region. These divisions are social (class division), societal (identity-based division), national (people-state division), political (division within the political system), regional (regional rivalry) and international divisions (great power politics and the region). The course provides an intellectual and analytical framework for engagement with the issues facing the region and Iran's linkages to them.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the key issues and debates regarding political and security issues in contemporary Iran; 
  2. illustrate an ability to relate Iran’s political, and ideological discourses within the context of the wider Middle East regional security complex; 
  3. demonstrate the capacity to develop evidence-based argument and evaluation encompassing the full range of internal and external security aspects of the country in past and present; 
  4. integrate interdisciplinary perspective on Iran and the region with larger theoretical evaluations such as international relations theory and critical security studies; and
  5. develop knowledge about Iran’s internal, regional and international issues through research and analysis.

Research-Led Teaching

The lecturer has published extensively on Iran internal and regional politics and security. The lecturer is also involved in several ongoing research plans on Iran, and expects several publications in the next few years. The findings of his research projects informs his teachings in this course.

Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment


Required Resources



Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Critical Iran Studies: Theories and Approaches The introductory session begins with outlining and defining some of the key terms, concepts, and theories relevant to the course. It first starts by problematising some of the general understandings of the country and the region, and offers critical views to help us revisit Iran’s politics and security policies, its interaction with the Middle East, and international powers.
2 The Formation of Modern Iran: The Question of Nation-State Building  This session presents an overview of the modern history of Iran since the advent of the 20th century. It thus examines the emergence of modern Iran, especially since 1925, and the process of nation-state building by studying state and society, changes and the challenges facing the state up to the present day.
3 Identities and Ideologies: Nationalism and Islamism in Iran This session delves further into the complexity of nation-state building since the emergence of modern Iran. The session particularly focuses on the role of nationalism, and Islamism as Iran’s two key components of national identity making during the Pahlavi era and the Islamic Republic since 1979.
4 Understanding the Political Structure of Iran and its Foreign Policy Discourses  This session examines Iran’s political and power structure. It also studies state’s foreign and domestic policies. Different institutions and offices such as the role of the supreme leader, political fragmentation and power struggles within the political system, the role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and political parties/factions will be investigated.
5 Internal Security Challenges: Social and Societal Divisions in Iran   The session then moves on to study socio-political shifts and changes during the different political phases since the emergence of modern Iran. The module particularly explores social and societal particularities of Iranian society by focusing on ethnic, religious, and sectarian minorities, as well as youth and women, and the de-Islamisation of Iranian society and their impact on the state’s internal security and legitimacy. The session thus focuses on social divisions and ethno-religious minorities in Iran.
6 Economic and Environmental Security: Human Security Dimensions    This session by adopting more critical approaches towards security, seeks to explore human security issues such as the economy, development, environmental issues, water scarcity, demographic transition, unemployment, migration and drug trafficking. The session also delves into the state's economic corruption, and the impact of sanctions on its the socio-political position. 
7 Iran’s Security Doctrine: Internal-External Security Nexus   In this session we will discuss Tehran’s security doctrine from ideological and military points of view. Iran’s regional ambitions and ideological discourses on state and identity security will be studied. As such, Iran’s nuclear programme and rational behind it will be investigated. The session will also look at Tehran’s military might, and its strategy towards external threats in the region and beyond. 
8 Iran and the New Middle East Security Architecture In this session we argue that Middle East regional security complex has changed since 2003 Iraq war. Changes in the balance of power have led into Iran’s rising power and influence in the region. As such, the session focuses on the question of Iran’s interaction with the region, and aims to explore how Tehran attempted to change the region’s security architecture in its favour.   
9  Iran and Shi’a Militia Politics in the Region In this session we will be examining Iran’s influence and interference in the region, and how Tehran has cultivated, mobilised and instrumentalised Shi’a armed groups to change the established regional security status quo. The session, therefore, examines Iran’s Shi’a militia politics and proxy wars in the region with particular focus on Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Hashd Al-Shaabi in Iraq, and the Houthis in Yemen. 
10 Iran and the United States: Geopolitical Confrontation  This session began with a brief historical overview of Iran and the United States relations since the 1940s. Then, by looking at some of the key historical events, the session analyses how the relationship between the two countries has been shaped and reshaped in the past four decades. The session also explores the geopolitical implications of the deep enmity between the two countries since 1979. 
11  Iran and Global Powers: Russia, China, and the European Union The session studies the role of Iran in today's international relations with particular focus on the three other global powers, China, Russia, and the EU. The session then moves on to assess the implication of such relations on the balance of power in the Middle East, and the Indo-pacific regions. 
12 Iran, International Organisations and Third World Politics  The final session studies the relationship between Iran and some of the key international organisation such as the UN, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Iran’s Third Worldist approach towards international relations, especially with countries in South America and Africa, will also be discussed. 

Tutorial Registration

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Tutorial Assessment: In-Class Participation 10 % 1,2,3,4,5
Project Work: Reaction Papers 40 % 1,2,3,4,5
Essay 50 % 1,2,3,4,5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines , which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Integrity Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.



Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Tutorial Assessment: In-Class Participation

Students will be assessed based on their ability to express perspectives and to draw conclusions from lectures and reading material. Participation is important for the cross-fertilisation of ideas and also to encourage both independence of thought and clarity of expression. ( The participation will be orally presented in weekly tutorials.)

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Project Work: Reaction Papers

Students are asked to submit two 1000-word Reaction Papers (20% each) , in week 6 and week 10 on a topic of their choice. This task is planned in order to enhance students writing reports and also keep them engaged with topics taught throughout of the course. 

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5


This 3000-words essay for undergrads task to be submitted in week 12, provides students with opportunity to delve deeper in reflecting on what they have learnt and how to express their learning experience in research on a topic of their choice about Iran. 

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Alam Saleh

Research Interests

Iranian Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Security Studies, International Relations

Dr Alam Saleh

By Appointment
Dr Alam Saleh

Research Interests

Dr Alam Saleh

By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions