Reassurance versus Deterrence: Expanding Iranian Participation in Confidence-Building Measures

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Arnett, Eric (1998) Reassurance versus Deterrence: Expanding Iranian Participation in Confidence-Building Measures , Security Dialogue 29(4): 435–447.

Iran figures prominently in the threat perceptions of several states. However, Iranian diplomats have sought to involve the country in an array of arms control and confidence-building measures (CBMs). Iran'. record of confidence building is impressive, despite the fact that in the absence of an appropriate regional forum, it has had to develop its CBMs in the context of global agreements or unilaterally. Iran is caught between an approach based on deterrence, which is not viable against most of its potential enemies, and an approach based on reassurance, which it finds difficult to operationalize for reasons rooted in domestic and regional politics. By exaggerating the potential threat posed by Iran, US security policymakers make a deterrence strategy more attractive. While no one expects the two states to form a warm friendship, the USA could at least acknowledge what Iran is doing right, particularly with respect to nuclear transparency.

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