The Iranian Nuclear Threat: Nightmare or Reality
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The relationship US and Iran has been a difficult one ever since the Islamic Revolution took place in 1979 and the Shah, a friend to the US in the region, was forced to flee. Although this was a typically confrontational relationship, the US never considered Iran as an existential threat until the 1990’s when Israel started objecting to Iran’s ongoing nuclear efforts. This thesis examines the US’ characterization of Iran as a nuclear threat, which will be placed within social constructivist framework of International Relations theory, with a particular emphasis on the way this characterization came about. It critically analyzes the claims put forth by the United States to argue this threat and what these have been based on. In addition, it examines the way in which a ‘paradigm of enmity’ between these two countries has contributed to a legacy of animosity and distrust which in turn has fostered the idea of an Iranian threat. Finally, takes a closer look at the role Israel and the Israel lobby have played in characterizing Iran as a threat.