U.S.-Iranian Relations: Prospects for Rapprochement
Davis, Christopher M.
Trinkunas, Harold A.
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For the last two decades, the United States and Iran have fostered a relationship of enmity and distrust. The United States imposes sanctions against the Islamic Republic, in an effort to isolate the regime and limit its ability to finance terrorist acti~ity or to develop nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. Since 1996, however, Iran has undertaken a diplomatic "charm offensive" aimed at opening up to regional rivals and to the international community. It has sent some signals that it seeks to distance itself from terrorism and from antagonistic relations with its neighbors. Its burgeoning relations with Europe has left America alone in its implementation of sanctions, and has put Washington at odds with its European partners. This thesis looks more closely at the nature of U.S. policy against Iran, examining key issues with regard to its conventional and unconventional security posture, the regional security environment that defines that posture, and the linkage between Iran's proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and its sponsorship of extremist organizations such as Hizballah. It argues that Iran has legitimate security concerns that drive its current foreign policy. In this context, there may be room for rapprochement with Tehran.
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