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Changing the Perception of the US towards Iran

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The current controversial Iranian nuclear deal was deemed a start of a new norm in the US foreign policy towards Iran. This led to the establishment of persistent close bilateral relations of these two renowned states. The pursuit of the nuclear weapon by Iran has become a great concern not just for the US, but for the world at large. Norms can be good or bad, depending on the vantage point of the parties that promote the norm. The influence of a norm may be analyzed in three stages, namely norm emergence, norm cascade and norm internalization. The Iranian nuclear deal is in the first two stages, which are usually separated by a tipping point at which a critical mass of significant state actors can often adopt the norm. The pattern of the norm influence is assumed to be independent from work in the US theory of legal affairs, which has been very critical for researchers because varied social processes and logics of action may be involved at different stages in the life cycle of a given norm. This paper uses the theory of constructivism to explore the recent development of US-Iran relations. Also, the paper analyses the key press statements made by Obama, Clinton and Kerry pertaining to the controversial issue of the Iran nuclear deal.

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Part 1

Norm refers to a standard and fitting behavior that is exhibited between actors of any given distinctiveness. Norms are anchored on situations where political actors are obliged to develop international political relationships on their own ideas that may not necessarily be based on any conventional practices (Smith, Hadfield, & Dunne, 2012). This is referred to as Social constructivism. The current relationship between the United States and Iranian State are the way the two countries believe them to be, but not the way the entire international community would have perhaps deem them to be.

Iran may have had very plausible reasons why it had to research and invest heavily in the manufacture of this deadly weapon. Although no apparent reason for the producing nuclear weapon has ever been disclosed from the Iranian government, most certainly they must have had some motive. Supporters of Iranian mission have expressed their sentiments that the mission is to give Iran renowned status in superiority, perhaps second to the US, which ostensibly is the only state in the world with legitimacy to possess weapons of such magnitude. On the other hand, the US has expressed a number of reservations pertaining to the mission that Iran has industriously been undertaking, speculating that the ulterior motive behind the venture may obviously be grievous, and that is why the international community must intercept it by all means (Finnemore & Sikkink, 1998).

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According to the theory of social constructivism, all these notions and sentiments exchanged between the opposing parties are merely their own ideas, which have apparently mattered much more than the material considerations in conducting international relations (Smith, Hadfield, & Dunne, 2012). Thought the argument from either party may in some way coincide with the conventional perceptibility about certain issues, especially security issues, the underlying notions of the two parties may be difficult to unearth This is a stage of norm regarded as norm emergence, that is when the countries begin relating on basis of certain issues that they both deem to be of great importance to them and to the entire world. Persistent deliberations over the matter of nuclear weapon may later result in mutual agreements, which would be marked by signing some binding treaties.

This stage would be regarded as norm cascade, which sometimes is also referred to as norm acceptance. In case the US government succeeds in its interception approach over this matter, Iran will have to abide by the conditions that would be highlighted in the treaty, which may entail destruction of centrifuges that the latter has been using to enrich uranium. Iran may also be limited to a single facility of uranium enrichment and barred from increasing uranium, having the amount which is adequate for civilian needs and insufficient to provide fuel for nuclear weapons.

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The final stage of norm is norm internalization, which literally means total adherence to the outcomes of constructivism and living with that reality (Finnemore & Sikkink, 1998). When this stage is reached, either of the two countries has given up the fight against the other, meaning that the efforts and the goal-mission have been discarded. In this case, if Iran assents to the conditions that the US and other powerful nations have proposed regarding the nuclear weapon, then it will have to bury the ambition once and for all and vow that it will never again be a bone of contention.

Part 2

Analysis of Three Statements of Obama, Clinton and Kerry about the Nuclear Deal

The Type of Arguments Used

The argument of Hillary Clinton is a deductive one because both premises preceding the conclusion (The concern by the international community about Iranian pursuit of a nuclear weapon is a great step made; first premise. Getting the rest of the way to a final deal by June will not be easy, but it is absolutely crucial; second premise) are true and therefore the conclusion cannot be false. It is also very true that efforts to get the rest of the way to a final deal by June would not be easy, but it is absolutely crucial (Hillary Clinton Speeches, 2015). Therefore, it cannot be expected that the conclusion (Checking Iran’s regional ambitions will defend the world and reinforce American leadership in the Middle East) would be false. A plausible conclusion has been made, drawing support from the two preceding premises.

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On the other hand, Kerry’s statement is an inductive argument because both the first and the second premises (For at least the next 15 years, Iran would be limited to a single uranium enrichment facility and prevented from enriching uranium beyond a level that is adequate; first premise. These restrictions will be enforced through a regime of regular and comprehensive international inspections that will detect any attempt to divert nuclear materials to a clandestine location or plant; second premise) are true, and therefore it is improbable that the conclusion may be false. The conclusion (The result would be to increase Iran’s breakout time to speed up its enrichment and produce enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon to at least a year) gets support from the first and second premises.

Similarly, Obama’s statement is deductive since the first and the second premises (I am convinced that if this framework leads to a final, comprehensive deal, it will make our country, our allies, and our world safer; first premise. Sanctions alone could not stop Iran’s nuclear program, but they did help bring Iran to the negotiating table; second premise) are plausible, making the conclusion (We have achieved the framework for that deal, and it is a good deal that meets our core objectives) also follow suit.

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Values Mentioned by the Agents

Hillary Clinton has been quite categorical about the value of solidarity in finding a solution. She also places great emphasis on the value of peace reiterates that the diplomatic avenue towards the deal, but not a forcible means for the latter would result in massive losses, including lives of innocent people. Sincerity portrayed in the parties involved in the deal has been emphasized as another value in the statement. According to John Kerry (2015), the persistent spirit with which the US is pleading with Iran on the issue of nuclear pursuit is what he considers to be the value of great concern. He also mentions the value of dialogue and sincerity that is lacking on the part of Iran, which behaves in a sly manner about the deal (Kerry, 2015).

The Agent’s Goal to Be Achieved

The agent Hillary Clinton is certain about convincing Iran to stop pursuing its nuclear ambition and to destroy thousands of its centrifuges that are used in the deadly mission. She states that this goal should be achieved by means of round table negotiations with the Iranian agents so that a lasting and sincere solution could be reached as a measure to assure the world’s safety (Hillary Clinton Speeches, 2015). Kerry’s goal, however, is to see Iran halting its nuclear pursuits, to allow the uranium enrichment facility at Fordow to be converted completely into a nuclear, physics and technology center. Finally, President Obama’s goal is to see a safe world, which is free from possible security threats, especially from weapons with massive potential of destruction such as nuclear weapons.


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Circumstances that the US is Perceived to Be in

Presently, the US is in a precarious position of trying all means to restrict Iran from its pursuit of nuclear weapon. It is even feared that the US could adopt extraordinary measures including violence to combat the situation, which should be a convincing proof for Iran to be adamant to accept the deal. Meanwhile, according to President Obama, the US and the world at large will be in a vulnerable position if Iran continues to make nuclear weapon against the international laws. This is because the motive of Iran over this weapon is not yet established, and it is most certain that it is ill. It can therefore cause a lot of anxiety if not intercepted in good time. Kerry says that the US is committed to negotiations because it values diplomatic means rather than violence in reaching a lasting resolution. However, he reiterates that in case Iran becomes adamant, the US will have to reconsider its approach to the matter.

The Concerns that Rose

Kerry is much concerned about the security of the US and the world. He envisages grave consequences that will follow Iran’s pursuit of the nuclear mission. Similarly, Clinton has raised grave concerns about the security threat that the Islamic State of Iran has been posing to the US, Israel and the entire region by pursuing it nuclear ambition. She is also concerned about the bipartisan pressure that Iran has put on the diplomatic relations by secretly venturing into its ambition. Finally, Obama is concerned about the conduct of Iran, which was supposed to stop making the weapon, but it kept circumventing the conditions set in prior deals (Obama, 2015).

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The Rationality of Claim for Action

Owing to the potential harm that is associated with nuclear weapons, Clinton says the international community has every right to intercept Iran’s mission because it is probable that its motive is ill. Similarly, Kerry believes that the envisaged actions shall prove the world that Iran is committed to the deal, which is hoped to be completely reached by June this year. Finally, according to Obama (2015), when Iran stops pursuing its nuclear mission, the US and the world at large would stay free and assure their safety from the possibility of mass destruction by dangerous weapons such as nuclear bombs. In the world where insecurity has been a global threat, especially by emerging terror groups, it can be a deadly affair for any country to make and keep such weapons.


Relentless efforts made by the United States to instigate a norm to prevent Iran from acquiring the nuclear weapon should be soberly assessed from various perspectives. Though this step has elicited mixed reactions from the complex global society, optimism expressed by the US and its affiliates in finding a lasting solution is quite evident. The positive and impressive response of Iran to the occasionally scheduled diplomatic deliberations with the US has marked the beginning of a new norm, which initially looked adamant, though.


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