During the second week of April the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States) and Germany met with leaders of Iran in Kazakhstan to attempt to persuade them to curtail it’s nuclear weapons ambitions (Herszenhorn, Negotiators Find in Kazakhstan the Perfect Place to Disagree 2013) Two days later, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on national television, “Iran has already become a nuclear country and no one is capable of stealing this title.” Iran maintains that its nuclear pursuits are for energy and medical purposes while members of the Security Council accuse it of seeking nuclear weapons. (Herszenhorn, After Talks End, Iran Announces an Expansion of Nuclear Fuel Production 2013)
In 1947 Iran became an independent nation. Due to its petroleum resources and its location on the USSR’s southern border, “the United States was determined to maintain ‘friendly’ regimes in Iran.” (Ozcan and Ozdamar 2009) Islamic revolution swept the nation in 1979, ousting the Shah that America had helped gain power. Less than a year later Iraq attacked Iran with American support. Eight year of war destroyed both countries. (Chubin and Tripp 1988)
In response to the hostage situation at the American Embassy in Iran economic sanctions against Iran began in 1979 when then President Carter issued Executive Order 12170. (Clawson n.d.) The executive order froze over 10 billion in Iranian assets. Sanctions continued in 1984 when Regan approved sanctions that prohibited weapons sales to Iran. Reagan also issued Executive Order 12613 which prohibited the importation and exportation of any goods or services from Iran.
The current crisis between the U.S. and Iran began when Iran was accused of having constructed a uranium enrichment facility. Iran said its program was peaceful in nature and the IAEA found no evidence of a weapons program. The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatellah Ali Khameni said, “we have told you many times that we are not after nuclear weapons.” (Khamenei 2013) The enrichment program was closed down voluntarily in late 2003, but restarted in late 2005. (Tarock 2006)
The permanent members of the UN Security Council want Iran to cease refining uranium beyond 20 percent. “Iran continues to cap a stockpile of 20-percent-enriched uranium below the amount that could be sufficient, if enriched further, for one nuclear device.” (Heinonen and Henderson 2013) Iran maintains that it is used to produce medical isotopes. (Torbati and Dahl 2013) Iran also claims the program is for energy production, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, Iranian atomic energy chief, said "We have started the design of a 10-megawatt reactor and the process for determining the location is under way,"
Level of Analysis Realist Liberal Identity
Systemic Perceived threats from U.S. actions in the Middle east both past and present drive Iranian leadership to defy the Security Council and continue development of nuclear tech, whether for energy, medical, or weapons.
The perceived threat comes from real events where the U.S. interfered in internal affairs to control leadership within Iran.
The US fears Iran if develops nuclear weapons it will become a destabilizing factor in the Middle East and lead to an arms race there. This could destabilize the US’s influence in the region. Iran is accused of not complying with various UN Security Council decisions.
Due to US and UN constraints, Iran has few open allies Iran believes that the US and the Un allowing India, Israel, and Pakistan to pursue weapons without opposition but, not letting Iran pursue a peaceful nuclear program.is hypocritical and a sign of the west trying to suppress the Iranian people.
Domestic Pursuing nuclear tech, whether for medical, energy, or weapons is in the interest of many actors within Iran. For the politicians, it helps increase their standing by showing they are willing to stand up for the