Ups and Downs in the Iran-U.S. Relationship


Aug 27, 2017

The United States and Iran do not have direct diplomatic relations, and understandably so. The two countries have been at odds for decades, and it’s a situation that does not improve. Much of Iran’s history has been shaped by the U.S.’s supports for the Shah. Although there was a period of strong American-Iranian relations, most of the history has been met with contention, mistrust, and violence.

The Era of the Shah

Ever since the ousting of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953, there have been other instances where the U.S. has funded attempts to control Iran and its oil. The Nixon administration cemented a strong relationship with Iran. However, U.S. President Jimmy Carter denounced the authoritarian regime set forth by the Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, and urged the Shah to release some of political prisoners.

The Revolution

The overthrowing of the Shah, and his replacement with Khomeini, marked a massive shift in the relationship between Iran and the U.S., particularly with the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran that began a hostage crisis which lasted 444 days. And the subsequent conflict with Iraq presented an opportunity for the U.S. to increase it’s presence in the region again.

Iran-Iraq War

Iraq’s attempt to solidify itself as a prime Persian Gulf state was met by U.S. support of Iraq through the sale of weapons and poisonous chemicals. They also provided support to Iran as evidenced by the Iran-Contra affair. The affair took place from 1980 to 1988. Iraqi army pull back from left Iran’s territory and offer a peace plan. Khomeini first resisted agains any peace with Iraq, and just forced to accept the peace with Iraq when it became clear that his revolutionary guards didn’t have the manpower and will to continue the war. That led to a ceasefire between Iran and Iraq.

Bush Administration

George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” speech marred the support Iran was giving toward the U.S. after the 9/11 attacks. Both countries argued about their involvement in the insurgent conflict in Iraq during the 2003 U.S. invasion. The U.S. accused Iran of training Shi’ite militias while Iran blamed the actual invasion for the violence. The support for Iranian people has been always a missing part of any U.S administrations.

Present Day

Nowadays, diplomatic relations are still up in the air. The political turmoil still occurring in Iran has elevated the fight for basic human rights. Human rights organizations have condomned Iranian regime for executions and public hanging and mistreatment of minorities and women. The U.S. has not been able to solidify relations since the current Iranian regime has no will and the potential for reform

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