The United States and Nuclear Iran: An Analysis of the Effects of United States Foreign Policy on Nuclear Non-Proliferation
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The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is an agreement reached in 2015 between Iran, the United States (US), the United Kingdom, Russia, China, and Germany in cooperation with the European Union. The JCPOA marked a significant change in the tense relation between Iran and the US. With the JCPOA, the US allowed Iran to have a limited nuclear program, which it had previously strongly opposed by imposing an intensive sanctions regime. The US nuclear policies from 2003 to 2021 have mainly focused on limiting Iran’s nuclear capacities with coercive diplomatic means. The US’s influence is visible in its ability to mobilize support for an international sanctions regime on Iran. From 2009, US policies concentrated on negotiating with Iran, and the impact of the US can be seen in the resolution of the impasse in negotiations with Iran and the signing of the JCPOA in 2015. However, since 2017, and particularly after the withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA in 2018, a downward trend is visible in the US influence on the nuclear non-proliferation regime, as the other JCPOA signatories actively criticized the US decision and supported the deal’s provisions. The findings of this research argue that US nuclear policies only recognize the stabilizing potential of nuclear weapons in the hands of the US and its allies and the proliferation of nuclear weapons to nations such as Iran remains unthinkable. The US nuclear policies from 2003 to 2021 reflect this inherently contradictory and hypocritical line of thought.