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The United States and the Iranian Nuclear ProgrammeA Critical History$
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Steven Hurst

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780748682638

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748682638.001.0001

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The 1970s: The Nuclear Relationship under the Shah

The 1970s: The Nuclear Relationship under the Shah

(p.23) 1 The 1970s: The Nuclear Relationship under the Shah
The United States and the Iranian Nuclear Programme

Steven Hurst

Edinburgh University Press

The main focus of the chapter is on the period between 1974 and 1978, when the Shah sought to accelerate Iran's nuclear programme, creating tensions with the USA. This short period witnessed the emergence of a number of key features of the US-Iranian nuclear relationship: The divergence of perspectives on proliferation and the fuel cycle quickly became clear. Even in a context in which the two were Cold War allies, Iranian nationalism and ambition and American fear of proliferation produced deadlock in their nuclear negotiations. The American refusal to provide Iran with fuel cycle technology was, moreover, strongly influenced by pressure from Congress, which was able to exploit the need for its ratification of any nuclear agreement to great effect. Finally, the chapter reveals a tension between unilateralism and multilateralism that would recur in US policy, as it tried to persuade the other nuclear powers to join it in not transferring sensitive nuclear technology whilst also pursuing its own national interests and accommodating domestic pressures.

Keywords:   Shah, Nixon, Proliferation, NPT, Nuclear energy, Nuclear weapons

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