Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Political Science

Major Professor

Darrell Slider, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Eunjung Choi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Steven Roach, Ph.D.


arms control, weapons of mass destruction, nuclear non-proliferation treaty, history of nuclear arms control, theories of nuclear non-proliferation


This study is designed to assess the effectiveness of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime and analyze theories for effectively analyzing countries that are a risk for proliferating nuclear armaments. The initial phase of my research is designed to assess the existing literature and primary theoretical approaches for analyzing nuclear non-proliferation initiatives and potential nuclear proliferators. My main means of analysis will be to examine the national and international actors involved in each case. With this method, I plan to analyze a government at the level of each of its ruling institutions. Each of these institutions will be analyzed in the context of Joseph Cirincione's five drivers and barriers: security, prestige, domestic politics, technology, and economics. This study will then review multiple historical cases of countries and treaties related to the nuclear non-proliferation issue in the context of my method of analysis. In particular, each historical study will discuss major actors and institutions with respect to the five major proliferation concepts, as a means of demonstrating the validity of my method. The primary section of my thesis will be the application of my method to one of the preeminent nuclear proliferation threats today: Iran. After a discussion of the physical status of Iran's nuclear program, I will begin my analysis in terms of my concepts, and will examine the principal actors involved in the Iranian nuclear dispute. These will be the Iran's moderate and conservative factions, as well as the U.S., Israel, the EU-3, and IAEA, and they will be examined in the context of the five drivers and barriers. The final section will be my overall risk analysis for Iran. My preliminary analysis is that regime survival is the most critical issue when it comes to the principal motivations of a state to develop nuclear arms. If this is correct, policy options designed to take advantage of the actors' positions in Iran can be formulated based on the specific conditions that prevail in Iran.