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Irans nuclear challenge

Irans nuclear challenge - The Academy of Political Science...

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P OLITICAL S CIENCE Q UARTERLY Volume 122 · Number 2 · Summer 2007 No part of this article may be copied, downloaded, stored, further transmitted, transferred, distributed, altered, or otherwise used, in any form or by any means, except: one stored electronic and one paper copy of any article solely for your personal, non- commercial use, or with prior written permission of The Academy of Political Science. Political Science Quarterly is published by The Academy of Political Science. Contact the Academy for further permission regarding the use of this work. Political Science Quarterly Copyright © 2007 by The Academy of Political Science. All rights reserved. The Academy of Political Science 475 Riverside Drive · Suite 1274 · New York, New York 10115-1274 (212) 870-2500 · FAX: (212) 870-2202 · [email protected] · http://www.psqonline.org
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Iran’s Nuclear Challenge COLIN DUECK RAY TAKEYH Four years after the United States went to war to disarm Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, it faces a far more dangerous and real proliferation crisis in Iran. Should the Islamic Republic cross the nuclear threshold in defiance of the international community and its long-standing treaty commitments, it would effectively undermine the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that has been the mainstay of global counterproliferation efforts for nearly four de- cades. Indeed, a nuclear Iran, with its expressed antagonism toward the United States, would be in a far better position to assert its regional influence, altering both the strategic and the political alignments of the Middle East. Why does Iran want the bomb? What impact has the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had on Iran’s nuclear deliberations? Is there anything the United States and the international community can do to press Iran toward restraining its ambitions? The answer to these questions requires a better understanding of the interlocking calculations that have propelled Iran toward the nuclear option in the first place. R EVELATIONS AND C ONTINUITIES Iran’s nuclear ambitions did not begin with the onset of the Islamic revolution in 1979. The nuclear program actually started in the early 1970s under the Shah, who, with the assistance of West Germany, France, and South Africa, sought to construct an infrastructure of nuclear power plants. Approximately $40 billion was earmarked for this ambitious project, whose purpose was the construction of at least twenty reactors. Suspicion lingered that behind the Shah’s declared desire for nuclear energy lay a determination to construct COLIN DUECK is assistant professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University, and the author of Reluctant Crusaders: Power, Culture and Change in American Grand Strategy . RAY TAKEYH is a senior fellow in Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of Hidden Iran: Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic .
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