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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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2001–8: George W. Bush and the Failure of Confrontation

2001–8: George W. Bush and the Failure of Confrontation

(p.133) 4 2001–8: George W. Bush and the Failure of Confrontation
The United States and the Iranian Nuclear Programme

Steven Hurst

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter Four looks at US policy during the administration of George W. Bush. The revelations that focused international attention on the Iranian nuclear programme in 2002 exposed divisions within the Iranian elite over the nuclear programme, with the pragmatists and reformists who controlled policy-making until 2005 making repeated efforts to pursue a negotiated solution. Hard line conservatives in the Bush administration, however, had no interest in compromise with Iran. They were committed to regime change (at best) or compelling Tehran to abandon its pursuit of the fuel cycle (at worst). Once again, however, the policy was incoherent and ineffective. It contained no meaningful incentives for Tehran while the coercive measures employed were ineffectual, with Washington's continued unilateralism undermining its efforts to bring effective pressure to bear. Bush's rejection of the outreach of the Khatami government, moreover, contributed to the discrediting of the latter and to the reassertion of Iranian hard liners. The subsequent election of Ahmadinejad to the Iranian presidency in 2005 guaranteed continued stalemate.

Keywords:   George W. Bush, Khatami, Ahmadinejad, IAEA, Enrichment, Fuel Cycle, Nuclear energy, Nuclear weapons

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