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Iran Summary

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 341
Imad Mansour

Iran is vying for strategic control in the region It is continuously undermining US influence in the region due to its policies since both states are at loggerheads with one another for control in the area Iran uses 4 tools to further its influence in the region 1 By developing nuclear technology for civilian technology type of use but the rhetoric has been ambiguous2 Its alliance with a regionally isolated Syria 3 Its support of Hezbollah in Lebanon 4 Its leverage in Iraq over Shiite groups It can also use its relationship with certain groups in Afghanistan to gain more leverage there along with supporting HAMAS more profusely in the occupied territories Through these methods Iran has largely countered US efforts in the regionTo analyze regional instability as well as Irans behavior one has to analyze the sources of preferences rather than the distribution of its capabilities2 factors come into play when attempting to understand the behavior of Iran one is the internal politics of Iran and the other is the US foreign policy in the Middle EastAnalysis of tools used1 Nuclear projects have been going in since the 1970s Under the Shah of IranFully functional nuclear power plants were hindered by factors internal Khomeinis governance to consolidate his regime and external war with Iraq Iran had signed the proliferation treaty set by the IAEA in 2003 and agreed to most of its protocols including surprise visits The visits are to make sure the country doesnt take the nuclear technology to a military level The treaty has given Irans program legitimacy in the international scope of things Its program had largely been nonconfrontational until Ahmedinijad came to power recently to fire up rhetoric in support of the program and sent it full speed into productionThe highest public office held in Iran is by the vali efaqih or Supreme Leader who can override all presidential decisions Discrepancies between the president and him can cause a stir in Iranian politics 2 groups exist in Iranian society and have different views about the issue of a nuclear program One is lead by the populist conservatives lead by Mahmoud Ahmedinijad who believe in a hardline stance and the other is the mix between conservatives and reformists lead by the former presidents Rafsanjani and Khatami who believe in more diplomacy towards the international communityRegionally a nuclear Iran poses a threat to Saudi Arabia and Israel Saudi Arabia enjoys the protection of the USA at this point but if it ever loses faith there it can purchase its own nuclear weapons from fixed nuclear states or the black market Israel is capable of developing weapons but doing so would create hostility in the region violating its treaties with Jordan and Egypt moving them to a more defensive stance creating more tension which may not be worth it Striking against Iranian nuclear facilities also seems too unconventional since their locations are secret
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