The Iranian-American Relationship from 1923 until Today

bkyser on Apr 15th 2012

This New York Times article traces the evolution of the relationship between Iran and the United States from 1923 until today. This article emphasizes the nuclear program in Iran and the United States’ involvement with this program. Here is a summary of the article, beginning in 1923.

In 1923, a man named Arthur Millspaugh went to Iran from the United States. He was an economic advisor who was sent to help Iran, a country that was seen as “hampered by administrative inefficiency.” He left Iran in 1928. Flash forward 30 years to 1953 and the United States becomes involved with the coup d’etat of Mohammad Mossadegh. This leads to the first real intervention of the United States in Iranian affairs and is often cited as the root to many of the areas of contention between the two nations today. This coup got ride of Prime Minister Mossadegh and placed the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, into power. In 1957, Iran and the United States join in on a deal, titled, Iran-United States Agreement for Cooperation Concerning Civil Uses of Atomic Energy as part of President Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program. Under this plan the United States gave Iran uranium. Later, in 1968, Iran signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Throughout the Shah’s rule, he receives praise from different American presidents, from Kennedy to Carter, who view him in a positive light for upholding Iran in an unstable neighborhood.

After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran undergoes many changes, and naturally, so to does its nuclear program and its relationship with the United States. In February 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini returns from exile and immediately calls for an end to all foreign invasion in Iran. This leads to the removal of 1,350 Americans from Iran. In November of that same year, militants also known as “students” occupy the American Embassy in Tehran and hold the hostages captive for 444 days. The students held these Americans captive in demanding for the Shah to return from the United States to Iran to face trial. On July 27, 1980, the Shah passes away in Egypt.

September 21, 1980 is the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War, which begins with Iraq’s invading of Iran. A major area of Iran that experiences a large amount of conflict is the Shatt al-Arab waterway. This war occupies much of the mindset of Iran for the next eight years. The war ends on July 18, 1988 after both Iran and Iraq agree to a cease-fire (United Nations Security Council Resolution 598). An estimated 1 million people are dead as a result of the war.

In 1987, Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, is reported to have shared his research with Iran and other countries such as North Korea and Libya. Iran and Russia go on to sign a nuclear contract in 1995 calling for the development of a nuclear power plant in Bushehr. As a result of Iran’s nuclear aspirations, President Clinton issues sanctions against all companies with investments in Iran in 1996 as part of his initiative to stop the spread of terrorism. In August 2002, the Muhajeddin (M.E.K.) release pictures of a uranium enrichment plant and a heavy water plant. After accusations from the United States, Iran agrees to an inspection from the Atomic Energy Authority.

In 2004, Iran agreed to halt its nuclear program. However, in 2006, the United Nations Security Council issued sanctions to curb the nuclear program. And in 2009, President Obama calls for international inspections in Iran. In 2010, the United States agreed to more sanctions issued against Iran’s nuclear program. The sanctions are intended to hinder military purchases and financial transactions carried out by the Revolutionary Guards Corp. The bombing on January 11, 2012, that killed Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a supervisor at the Natanz nuclear plant, leads to more friction between the United States and Iran as the United States and Israel are blamed for this attack.

JEFFERY DelVISCIO, DIANTHA PARKER, DAVID FURST, JEFF ROTH, JON HUANG and ARTIN AFKHAMI, “Iran, the United States and a Nuclear Seesaw,” The New York Times, April 13, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/04/07/world/middleeast/iran-timeline.html (accessed April 15, 2012).

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