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United States Foreign Policy Towards Iran in the 21st Century

RIX, DERYA (2013) United States Foreign Policy Towards Iran in the 21st Century. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Since the revolution of 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has become a major foreign policy issue for American administrations. When George W. Bush was inaugurated as the 43rd president of the United States, Iran was still one of the unsolved issues on his table. This thesis examines the foreign policy towards Iran during the presidency of Bush as a contemporary history study informed by foreign policy analysis. The first and the most important variable is the executive branch, which conducts foreign policy with the input of various departments, the most visible of these are the Defense and State departments. During the first term, the Bush administration constructed a foreign policy that revolved around Iran’s inclusion in the “Axis of Evil” and failed to capitalize on cooperation opportunities. The second term witnessed a softening in America’s attitude, but this time the Iranian government was not receptive. Secondly, the posture and the influence of the US Congress are examined through exploring the hearings of both the House and the Senate. The Congress affected the foreign policy through the imposition of sanctions, keeping the executive branch accountable, being publicly accessible and through the accounts of individual members. Regarding Iran, the Congress consistently implemented sanctions and was not open to engagement. Thirdly, the position and impact of prominent think tanks and the Israel lobby are analyzed as beyond the federal government influences. These organizations contribute to the policy-making atmosphere by supplying expert and insider opinions, giving testimonies before Congress and providing personnel for the government agencies.
The main argument of this thesis is that the Bush administration failed to produce a consistent foreign policy -an unchanging logic and a coherent strategy- towards Iran that was able to persuade the Iranian government to cooperate with the US or Europe concerning its nuclear programme and its ties to terrorism. All three variables contributed to this inconsistency either by supporting conflicting policies or by misinterpreting Iranian domestic policies.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Iran, Bush, nuclear weapons, foreign policy, executive branch, congress, think tanks
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:21 Oct 2013 12:14

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