Dominguez, Roberto. (2007) Iran: A New Challenge to EU Foreign Policy. EUMA Paper Series. Vol. 4, No. 20 August 2007. [Working Paper]
[From the Introduction]. The recent debate on nuclear proliferation indicates that the international arrangements of the Cold War are currently insufficient to address the transformations in the use of nuclear energy. This issue requires a more comprehensive response from the nuclear club to effectively face the present and future energy demands as well as the insecurity concerns. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute names 13 nations that could “go nuclear” in the next decade, including: Algeria, Indonesia, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.(1) In this context, Iran has certainly challenged the status quo of the nuclear powers. Nonetheless, the Iranian nuclear ambition is just a part of the narrative in the complete story of nuclear proliferation. Iran is significant for the European Union from various perspectives. First, it is a litmus test for the EU foreign policy credibility vis–à–vis the United States, particularly after the European debacle in Iraq in 2003. Second, if the EU succeeds in persuading Iran to fully comply with the IAEA requirements, the European approach of persuasion and constructive engagement will undermine the voices, particularly in the United States, that prefer military forces to deal with Iran. Third, it substantiates the aim of the European Union as a civilian power and promoter of democracy and human rights in the region. The analysis of the relationship between the European Union and Iran involves various levels of analysis. The first is how public opinion perceives Iran as a threat; the second is based on the policies of the main member states of the EU; the third refers to the role of the European Union as an international actor; the fourth and most general is about the participation of the United States and United Nations in inducing Iran to abide by international commitments on nuclear energy. Against this background, the argument of this paper is that the EU has played the role of international consensus maker in dealing with the Iranian nuclear program.
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