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Perspectives on the Iranian Nuclear Programme: Analysing Chinese, Russian, and Turkish Foreign Policies

Pieper, Moritz Alexander (2015) Perspectives on the Iranian Nuclear Programme: Analysing Chinese, Russian, and Turkish Foreign Policies. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent, Brussels School of International Studies.

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The Iranian nuclear crisis is a proxy arena for competing visions about the functioning of international relations. Yet, no comprehensive analyses have been conducted so far that use the Iranian nuclear case as an illustration to conceptualise the interaction between ‘hegemonic structures’ and those actors resisting them. This doctoral dissertation is a first step to fill this gap in the literature. It analyses the foreign policies of China, Russia and Turkey towards the Iranian nuclear programme and thereby answers the research question to what extent their policies are indicative of a security culture that resists hegemony. Based on 55 semi-structured elite interviews with experts and decision-makers closely involved with the Iranian nuclear file, this research draws on neo-Gramscian scholarship to analyse resistance to hegemony across its ideational, material and institutional framework conditions.

The case studies examined show how ‘compliance’ on the part of China, Russia and Turkey with approaches to the Iranian nuclear conflict has been selective, and how US policy preferences in the Iran dossier have been resisted on other occasions. To understand such variation in ‘norm compliance’, this dissertation introduces a two-level model to understand foreign policy discrepancies between a discursive and a behavioural level. Chinese, Russian, and Turkish reluctance to use sanctions as tools in international diplomacy on a discursive level did not prevent the eventual adoption of international sanctions against Iran and Chinese, Russian, and Turkish compliance therewith on a behavioural level. While multilateral Iran sanctions are seen as complying with the rules of the UN system, additional unilateral sanctions are contested on normative grounds and perceived as illegitimate and as an extraterritorialisation of domestic legislation.

Besides an ideational resistance to unilateral sanctions, the economic impact of these ‘secondary sanctions’ on third country entities constitutes an additional material reason for Chinese, Russian, and Turkish criticism. Their eventual compliance with sanctions lists, however, indicates a level of receptiveness to the economic leverage of US-dominated international financial mechanisms. In this context, the Iran nuclear case serves as an illustration to shed light on the contemporaneous interaction of the forces of consent and coercion in international politics. This research thus makes a critical contribution to key questions of International Relations at the interstice of security governance, proliferation policies, and debates surrounding the co-existence between hegemonic structures and ‘norm-shapers in the making’.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Casier, Tom
Thesis advisor: Basaran, Tugba
Uncontrolled keywords: Iranian Nuclear Programme, Russia, China, Turkey, Hegemony
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2015 13:00 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2019 03:07 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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