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Discursive Practices of Honor: Rethinking Iran’s Nuclear Program


Discursive Practices of Honor: Rethinking Iran’s Nuclear Program

Abstract: 

This paper examines the role of honor in the factional competition that shapes Iran’s nuclear program foreign policy preference formation. The literature on Iranian foreign policy recognizes the nature of that process as highly factionalized. I contend that honor plays a significant role in Iran’s factional competition and foreign policy preferences because standing within the Iranian system and Iran’s standing in the international system are intertwined phenomena. Since Iran’s standing in the international system, as a nation-state, reflects back on the political elite as a whole, honor is both an important element in how the Iranian political elite compete for power and how Iran views its relationship with the United States. The role of honor in the factional competition is intensified by Iran’s nuclear program that is wrapped in nationalistic, anti-imperialistic, and revolutionary honor terms. Therefore, any member of Iran’s political elite that can be cast as surrendering Iran’s “right” to enrichment, for example, is called a traitor and is publicly shamed. I bring this to light by examining the discursive practices of honoring and shaming intrinsic to the factional competition for control of Iran’s nuclear foreign policy decision-making.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Rivera, William Anthony. 2016. "Discursive Practices of Honor: Rethinking Iran’s Nuclear Program." Foreign Policy Analysis 12 (July): 395-412. https://academic.oup.com/fpa/article/12/3/395/1750531

START Author(s): 
Tony Rivera
Publication URL: 
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