Accommodation or confrontation? Explaining differences in policies towards Iran

W.M. Wagner, M. Onderco

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Even though democracies by and large share the perception of Iran as a threat to peace and security, they disagree over the appropriate policy response. This paper examines why some democracies prefer accommodation while others plead for confrontation. Using a new data set on democracies' policies toward Iran in the 2000s, we assess the impact of power positions, commercial interests, and domestic political cultures while controlling for government ideology. While we find little support for any impact of power positions, "cultures of dealing with deviance," that is, the discourses and practices of dealing with violations of norms domestically as institutionalized in a society's criminal law and justice system, have a substantial and statistically significant effect on state policies. Finally, we find qualified support for commercial liberalism: Whereas high levels of total trade do not have the expected effect of making states more accommodationist, high levels of trade in strategic goods such as oil do.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-728
JournalInternational Studies Quarterly
Early online date12 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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