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Why Iran Proliferates

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Master's thesis

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Iran and the United States have faced each other across a deep divide ever since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the events of the American Embassy Hostage crisis. The absence of diplomatic relations between the two nations has led to a lack of communication that has resulted in difficulties crafting successful policies to build bridges between the two governments. The specter of Irans quest for nuclear weapons casts a further pall on the troubled relations. Case studies of historical examples of nuclear proliferation using multi-causality can shed light on what factors are motivating Iran to seek nuclear weapons. Once these factors are understood, the United States can craft rational policies to pursue its goals in the Middle East while accommodating the probable rise of nuclear industry in Iran. This thesis will be split into three basic sections. In the first section a collection of countries will be examined to determine whether or not multi-causality adequately accounts for their decisions with regard to nuclear proliferation. To examine a full range of causal factors a wide range of states over a broad period of time will be examined. Using the results from the examination of the case studies, Irans decision making process will be studied. Using a more in-depth case study, the lessons of more than 50 years of nuclear proliferation will be applied to describe the policy choices Iran has made in the course of its nuclear program. Using the results of the detailed case study of Iran, recommendations will then be made for American policy. These recommendations will therefore be based on a thorough review of previous counterproliferation efforts both successful and unsuccessful. The policy options also will take into account the multiple issues that overlay the American-Iranian relationship.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Nuclear Warfare

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