Us/iran Relations Through the Scope of Waltz
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The United States has been the one and only country to use nuclear weapons since the end of the Second World War. Since the end of World War II nuclear weapons have been looked at as a symbol for international power. The cold war was a direct byproduct of this new nuclear weapons technology leading to a split between the Communist and the Western world. The cold war also influenced the United States to be more involved in countries such as Korea, Vietnam, Iran, and Afghanistan. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold War in the early 1990s an interest in gaining nuclear power, therefore international power, has been on the rise. Since the end of the Cold War the United States has been contesting the amount of nuclear weapons in the world in efforts to prevent other countries from gaining access to them. Iran on the other hand is seeking to become a nuclear power in order to become a world power. Through Waltzs three images, the complex nuclear relations between the two countries can be assessed further.
To better understand the relations between the United States and Iran, one must first understand the relationship between the individual leaders, as Waltz would argue. Through the scope of Waltzs first image of the individual, it is easier to understand the growing tension between the United States, and Iran. During the Cold War, America became deeply involved in Iranian affairs. Directly following the war was an era of very close alliance between the United States and Iran, at the time headed under Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlavi. This era of good relations with Iran came to an end after the Iranian revolution of 1979 (Tiecher). The Iranian revolution directly speaks to Waltzs first image, as it was a social movement within the nation to overthrow Shah. It was at this precise moment in history that new tensions were created between the United States and Iran. The effects of the revolution are still felt today as communication between Irans Ahmadinejad and the United States President Obama are still greatly on edge. As best described by Waltz “the struggle for power arise because men are born power seekers” (Waltz, 35). Through the scope of the first image, Ahmadinejads acts and behaviors in attempts to advance Irans nuclear capabilities has been looked negatively upon by the United States and other international powers. These tensions have continued to be tested as Ahmadinejad continues to seek making Iran a nuclear power.
In order to understand Waltzs first image of the impact of individuals such as Ahmadinejad on Iran and Obama on the United States; it is important to break down the roles and positions each state identifies with through the second image. Following the 1979 revolution, Iraq invaded Iran resulting in the Persian Gulf War. During this war, the United States allied itself with Iraq rather than their previous alliance with Iran only a few years prior (King). The United States decision to support Iraq influenced Irans desire to become a nuclear power in attempts to stand up to the U.S.s authority. Additionally, Irans lack of support by the Soviet Union also increased their demands for such weapons as Iran felt as if it were left behind by other world powers. Iran felt it was lacking fellow allies during the time of the Cold War, a very uneasy period of history, and so the nation turned to nuclear weapons as a sense of security, as a means of self-defense and protection. Due to their proximity to Iraq, Iran further pushed its goal of nuclear aspirations in an effort to protect its self from other prominent threats in the region including Israel, and Pakistan (Friedman).
Irans sense of security is threatened due to its natural resource of oil that is in high demand by the rest of the international community. Irans claims