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Understanding Iran‘s Resumption of its Nuclear Program: The Role of Govermental Politics (NUCBURPOLITICS)
Start date: Jan 1, 2013, End date: Dec 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Iran’s nuclear program continues to concern scholars and policy-makers alike. In particular, the relative changes over time in the behavior of the Iranian regime over its nuclear program are further puzzling. Whereas during some periods Iran seems cooperative toward the international community, at other times Iran displays a defiant status. This change and continuity deserves specific attention from an international relations perspective. Theoretical perspectives on foreign policy argue that one must either look at either strategic/security concerns or cultural/normative issues. However, these approaches come short of explaining the internal governmental changes in the regime that may explain the shifts in foreign policy. This is especially the case with respect to Iran; although strategic and cultural variables are fairly constant, the divergence in foreign policy must be accounted for by a perspective that looks at the internal dynamics of the regime. The hypothesis is that a governmental politics perspective can shed light on the changes in Iran’s nuclear and foreign policy by analyzing the shifts in the relative distributions of power within the regime. By analyzing the regime’s key cooperative periods such as the 2004 Paris agreement with the European Union, and Tehran’s defiant periods such as during 2006, the project seeks to identify the key internal causal mechanisms that shape the nuclear and foreign policy of Iran. Beyond the academic value of explaining Iranian nuclear policy, the project will shed light on an extremely important issue for the European Union—namely EU’s ability to produce desirable outcomes in its neighborhood. In other words, the project will analyze the extent to which European sanctions and incentives have an effect on a target country. By focusing on the governmental politics of Iran, one can understand how European incentives and sanctions are received and played out in a domestic political setting. Accordingly, the project offers European policy-makers a better understanding of the implications of their policies in their external relations."
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