Nuclear Weapons Proliferation Theory and the Case of Iran
AbstractInternational relations scholars have attempted to develop a theory of nuclear weapons proliferation using three primary frameworks: systemic, domestic, and normative. Analyses under these frameworks depict Iranâ€™s elites as having pursued a nuclear capability chiefly to promote regime development and also in an attempt to propel itself to great power status and international prestige. To a large extent, this counters the systemic argument that states mainly proliferate when faced with a viable, external threat. An examination of the particular case of Iran demonstrates that domestic politics and established norms can be as predictive of nuclear proliferation tendencies as the security argument, which is the most frequently applied model to proliferation cases. Each is context-dependent and one theory of nuclear proliferation will not apply automatically to every case, thus policy-makers must not simply expect states to only proliferate when faced with outside challenges.
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