B. Bates Hoyt

Date of Graduation

Spring 2012


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Robert Joseph


proliferation, Iran, nuclear weapons, international security, mythmaking

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


The ‘Iran Nuclear Problem' has come to absorb much media, policymaking, and academic energy. In the academic realm, most studies offer mono-causal policy-oriented explanations for Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability. With some contrast, this paper offers a multi-causal explanation for Iran's pursuit, suggesting that drivers of Iran's nuclear ambitions exist at the international, national, and individual levels of influence on state behavior. It illustrates this with a three-lensed theoretical analysis of Iranian security policy from the perspectives of the neo-realist, strategic culture, and nuclear "mythmaking” models of analysis. In so doing, it finds that that the structured application of multiple academic theories can generate real-world insights into state behavior, and that the indicators generated by the mythmaking model, in particular, are quite practical for U.S. policy toward Iran.


© B. Bates Hoyt

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