The Evolving Relationship Between Iran and the U.S.


Aug 29, 2017

In the 20th and 21st centuries, few countries have had a relationship as complex, turbulent, and globally significant as the one between Iran and the United States. Here are some major events that have shaped the course of both countries’ histories and their reputations on the world’s stage.

Hostage Crisis

Iran had always been a strategically and geographically important country. Some of the most significant interactions between the U.S. and Iran occurred as the U.S. attempted to leverage the relationship to thwart Russian ambitions. When tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union reached extreme levels during the Cold War, Iran served as a buffer between the Soviet block and allies of the U.S. in the Middle East, including Israel, and the valuable oil in the Persian Gulf. As a result, the U.S. began to support efforts to keep Iran stable and independent, providing funds to the shah (leader of Iran).

The shah, however, abused his power and the population rose up. At that time, the Iranian people began to support Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who promised to rid the country of Western influence and reinstate a religious government. In 1979, militants invaded the American Embassy in Iran and captured 52 diplomats. This situation caused the U.S. to sever its diplomatic ties to the country.

Current Relationship

After the hostage crisis, diplomatic relations were suspended until Barack Obama began to negotiate with Iran’s leadership to establish a nuclear agreement. In 2016, Iran completed steps to convince the U.S. that their nuclear program would remain peaceful, and diplomatic ties between the two countries were reestablished. However, after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, many concerned parties have wondered if the U.S. would back out of the agreement. We at the Organization of Iranian American Communities have argued that diplomatic relationships between the two countries would lead to continued peace and an improved standard of living for the people of Iran.

For now, Iran and United States relations are not well defined. Although Trump has warned that he will pull out of the agreement, other members, including the U.K., China, and Russia agree that the agreement is the best way to prevent problems with Iran down the road.

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