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Debating nuclear proliferation and international security nexus: the case of İran

Öncel, Rıfat
The aim of this thesis is to evaluate the consequences of the proliferation of nuclear weapons in terms of international security and to propose a more comprehensive and coherent theoretical framework through a critical review of the current approaches through the Iranian nuclear crisis. Nuclear weapons have always been an important source of debate in the international security literature, due to enormous impact of their emergence and proliferation on international politics. In this thesis, optimistic and pessimistic approaches which are two main schools of thought on the proliferation of nuclear weapons are examined in detail and their approaches to the Iranian nuclear crisis have been put forth. From this point of view, the relation of nuclear weapons with the important concepts and variables such as the causes of wars, deterrence and defense, offense-defense balance, regime type and their role in civil-military relations were discussed. In this study, which critically discusses the current literature, it has been proposed that the possible consequences of the proliferation of nuclear weapons will be more coherently explained by the stabilityinstability paradox rather than the optimistic-pessimistic binary. The thesis, which takes the Iranian nuclear crisis as a case study, argues that despite cumulative approaches of the optimist and pessimist schools in the current literature, if Iran obtains nuclear weapons, the likely results will be more sophisticated. Based on the stability-instability paradox, the thesis argues that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, strategic stability will increase but sub-strategic stability will be eroded