Oct 30, 2017
It’s safe to say that America and Iran have had a difficult relationship over the past few decades. Their politics have regularly intertwined and both countries have always had strong opinions about one another. Progressive Iranians in particular dream of a free Iran and a progressive United States having close relations, and it seems like Iran has a long way to go in dealing with their human rights issues before this can even become close to a reality. Improving Iranian-American relations will be the first step in that battle. We must first, however, look at the complex history behind the current situation.
Understanding the Source of Conflict
The US has played a fairly engaging role in Iranian politics ever since they “covertly supported a coup which removed Mohammad Mossadeq, the architect of Iran’s energy nationalization drive, from power in 1951.” America and their western allies gave huge support to the Shah, which led to great anger and resentment amongst clerics who, decades later, would be involved in the Islamic revolution that overthrew the monarchy.
The Shah, who was being backed by the US, had become a peripheral figure in Iran and eventually exiled to Egypt. This led to Khomeini seizing power from the Shah. On November 4th, 1979, Iranian students took 63 hostages at the American embassy in Tehran and demanded the return of the Shah to face trial. “The reaction of this incident from Washington was to impose severe sanctions upon Iran and cut off all diplomatic ties.”
The Evolution of Iran-US Relations
In later years, Iran-US relations would come to be defined by bickering, more specifically over Iran’s nuclear program. Iran had accused America of spying on their nuclear activities whereas the America claimed that Iran had carried out their nuclear activities in secret. “Relations remained troublesome throughout this period with President George W. Bush even calling Iran the world’s leader in sponsoring terrorism in 2008.” The Obama Administration also missed the opportunity to side with the Iranian people, by ignoring the Iranians call for change in 2009 uprising.
In 2015, Iran, on the verge of economic collapse, reached nuclear deal called JCPOA. America agreed to lift crippling economic sanctions and Iran agreed to greatly limit their nuclear program. It was an opportunity for the Iranian regime to gain billions in cash, that was mainly invested in Syria civil war by Iranian regime.
With Trump’s presidency, Iran-US policy is under review. As addressed by former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich at OIAC sponsored symposium on October 20, 2017, “I hope that this administration will now as part of this process of beginning to unravel both the IRGC and then ultimately the dictatorship, will reach out in a much more collaborative way to coordinate information and to coordinate advice and find ways to work together. Because I do believe that in fact the National Council of Resistance of Iran has a tremendous potential, and I also want to say that I believe that Mrs. Rajavi has done an amazing job of leading an organization through a very long, very difficult period. “