The complexity of Iranian history, politics, and culture is often over-simplified, when it comes to the Western world. Iran is home to many contradictions. As one of the richest countries in oil and gas, a fierce nationalistic state, with a strong national identity, and a geopolitical crossroad for the regional balance, Iran aspires to play an important role in the geostrategic context of the Middle East and Central Asia. Yet these ambitions face a paradox, namely Iran’s "strategic and cultural loneliness", due to its religious, linguistic and ethnic peculiarity. Furthermore the religious nature of the Iranian state, as result of the 1979 revolution, fuels in the neighbouring countries a feeling of suspicion and distrust. The discovering of the "Other", the "strategic loneliness" and the cultural peculiarities are the axis that this special issue of «Storia Urbana » will cover.
Keywords: Ethnic and national identity Iran Mythomoteur Geopolitical ambitions