Skip to main content

The spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East: dangerous scenarios and nonproliferation policies


The research project aims at providing a thorough and theoretically informed analysis on the question of proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, by looking at three major sub-themes/research questions: a) Proliferation drivers/barriers in the Middle East which lead countries to develop or conversely to renounce nuclear weapons programs. The project will take up a comparative study of the successful case of Libya, which has abandoned its nuclear programme, and the unsuccessful case of proliferation in Iran at present; b) Nuclear terrorism which has emerged as one of the most troubling security issues and renders proliferation in the Middle East much more problematic. The project will assess the motivations of Middle East-based/inspired terrorist organisations and their capacity to acquire nuclear weapons; c) The role of the European Union in nonproliferation, exploring the strengths and weaknesses of the specific European approach in the fight against the spread of weapons of mass destruction in the region. The project will contribute to the ongoing academic debate as to the revision of the classical theory of nuclear proliferation, updating its conceptual categories and analytical tools - starting with the one of ‘deterrence’ - to the new nuclear scenarios post Cold War and post-9/11. The research will adopt an holistic and multicausal methodology which comprises a combination of three theoretical frameworks or models of proliferation: a) the security model, b) the domestic politics model, c) the norms model. The project will use a variety of empirical research tools: quantitative research data, in-depth interviews, participant observation in the field, and comparative case-studies. In the two-year long outgoing phase, the researcher will be hosted by the world’s leading research and training institution in the field of nonproliferation: the Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, California, US

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call


Via Calepina 14
38122 Trento
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 226 627,22
Administrative Contact
Carlo Buzzi (Prof.)