U.S. and Russian strategic perspectives of Iran different views of nuclear proliferation
O'Connor, Edward A.
Clunan, Anne L.
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Do Russia and the United States share the same views of nuclear proliferation? This thesis seeks to answer this question by considering the case of Iran. Both nations are concerned about the spread of nuclear weapons, yet have taken opposing stances on Iran's nuclear program. The United States contends that Iran is using its civilian nuclear program to build an atomic weapon. Russia, on the other hand, does not publicly acknowledge such a view. The conclusions of this thesis are that threat perceptions have shaped U.S. and Russian views of nuclear proliferation. Both countries have supported Iran's nuclear program, but their timing coincided with major shifts in Iran's diplomatic orientation. When the Cold War ended, they were left with contrasting threat perceptions of IranRussia viewed Iran as a geo-strategic trading partner, while the United States viewed it as a sponsor of international terrorism. More importantly, this thesis highlights how vital it is for members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to remain united in their effort to curb the spread of nuclear weapons. If IAEA members cannot agree on the risks of proliferation, then the very foundation upon which the nonproliferation regime rests is in danger of obsolescence.
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