RELATIONS BETWEEN IRAN AND THE UNITED STATES
The history of Iran based on the association with other states in the world has been broad over the past years. This is portrayed by the presence of various empires followed by the Islamic Republic in recent days. Iranian radical ethos is characterized by the presence of anger and suspicion due to foreigner invasion; this clearly outlines the alien deals that led to native leaders’ to loss their mandate. The local leaders included bazaars and the clerics who ruled the Iranian territories before the arrival of the outsiders. The first outsiders were Russian and the Britain who invaded Iran in the 1800s to the first half of 1900s. However, American concern and duty started in the 20th century revolving around changes caused by the cold war. American interest in Iran had a significant hindrance from both the Russian and Britain due to the similarity of its strategies in Iran with those that British Imperial and Russia outlined. Antipathy increased towards America invasion in Iran leading to the 1979 revolution. This paper discusses and analyzes the relationship between the United States and Iran into an in-depth extent showing the origin of conflicts between the two countries. It further explains how the United States responded to anti-Americanism in Iran and the methods they used to counter the disputes between the two countries.
In the 1830s, the American proselytizers started arriving in Iran although this claimed for no political acknowledgment amid the two states. In the year 1856, the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation was agreed on enhancing diplomatic recognition between these two countries although the responsibility of America nation was small. After the Second World War Iran became a nice ground to the United States administration in intensifying the cold war against the Soviets. The Soviets defied the rule that mandated all foreigners to move out of Iran territories after the end of Second World War resulting in hostilities that were facilitated the cold war. The Soviets endured in Iran promoting the extension of the grounds under their rule while providing aids to the native Kurdish and the Azeri separatists. The Shah supported the US by increasing arguments that provided a base for cold war crisis enabling the success of the US political stress and Iranian negotiations for the withdraw demand of the Soviets from Iran. In 1947 Iran was under US protection policy under the Truman Treaty when it was included as a member of the agreement. The Truman treaty was brought up by President Truman and it outlined for the containment of any Soviet invasion all over the globe, by use of US governmental, monetary and military authority. Encouragement and aid offered by the US to Iran government in prohibiting the extension of the Soviets enhanced the growth of Iran Monarchy.
During the end of the nineteenth century, the United States enjoyed good relations with Iran. This is characterized by the fact of American missionaries being in Iran for longer than that period. However, it is only from the Second World War that actual engagements were visible. Generally, the relations between the two countries can be considered to be good cordial, but it was disrupted first when the CIA involved itself in the 1953 coup that dethroned Mohammed Mossadegh who was a celebrated prime minister. Also in 1979, the Islamic Revolution also led to increased bad relations between the two countries, and this breach was experienced for a very long time. Actually from these incidences henceforth, the two countries that used to see each other as allies became enemies. The United States termed Iran the “Great Satan while Iran, on the other hand, saw the United States as an “Axis of Evil.
The CIA’s role in the 1953 coup in Iran
The United States main contributions in the 1953 Iran’s takeover was acknowledged by the CIA documents that were released by the agency. The documents were published during the 60th anniversary of the coup. The reports originated from the CIA’s secret history of Iran starting from the 1970s. The research showed that the coup was carried out under the command of the CIA. Moreover, the United States role in the coup was also stated by the then Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright in 2000. Also in 2009, Barack Obama also openly noted the United States role in the Iran coup during his speech in Cairo.
The CIA documents demonstrated how the urgency organized for the coup by introducing anti-Mossadegh propaganda in both the United States and Iran. The 1953 coup reinforced the leadership of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi who had sought asylum in another country after power wrangles with Mossadeg. Pahlavi returned after the coup, and he became a close friend of the United States.
The Ouster of Mossadegh as the Iran Prime Minister
Mossadegh was elected as the Iran Prime Minister in 1951. After his election, his quick action of renationalizing the production of oil that had been under the control of British was the basis of all the dispute. The United States together with the United Kingdom regarding the Iranian oil as the center key towards its post-war economic reconstruction. Before the end of 1952, it was apparent that Mossadegh was incapable of coming into an oil agreement with the Western countries. According to the West, his government wanted to have sovereign power and was controlled by reckless policies that were centered on Mossadegh emotions.
In Iran the oil industry was vital to the country’s economy; it was the essential product that bought foreign exchange revenue. Most of the employment opportunities came from the oil industry. The industry, however, was under British control. Iran government had no control whatsoever, and that means that the management was entirely under the British government and included the price of the oil products. For several years the British government have been the greatest beneficiaries of Iran oil, the Iran government have had less income from their oil than what the British have had over the years. In 1940 the Iran government through a minister by the name Mossadegh who later became the prime minister started a campaign to nationalize the oil industry, and by 1951 they had managed to so. This act brought a tag of war between the two states for about two years.
During the Truman reign, the United States was supporting Iran in its quest to nationalizing the oil industry. This according to the United States was to eliminate the barriers that hindered the spread of communism. Mossadegh administration was always pleading with the British government to listen to their demand and let them have control over their oil industry. Contrary, the British government was not willing to show any sympathy to the Iran government and was not going to let them have control over their oil industry. As the presser increased, the British decide to seek support from the United States government so that they could overthrow Mossadegh from power. Truman who was then the head of the United States was not willing to buy the British ideal and could not support them, but when Eisenhower got into power, he decided to join hands with the British and overthrow Mossadegh. The coup to overthrow Mossadegh as the prime minister of Iran remains into the minds of the citizens, and this has led to a weak relationship between the United States and Iran.
The same repercussion came along with the overthrowing of Mossadegh by the United States. The Shah returned to Iran after almost losing his power and this time he was determined to hold on to his powers. From 1953 there started to exist independent press, independent parliament and also independent political parties. When Shah rose back to power, at that time, Iran was dependent on the United States government. The United States offered them with all kind of support that is moral support, diplomatic support, and also financial support.
In the eyes of Iran political groups, the United States was seen to have two different sides. Iran believed that the same United State that assisted them in gaining control of their oil industry against the British would come back to their senses and support them again even after joining hands with the British to overthrow Mossadegh from his throne. As time went by, the Shah Administration started shedding off from the United States government and became more independent. During this time the United States had other things to handle such as the Hiroshima attack; hence they could not rearize that their control over Iran was declining. It came a time when the price of oil skyrocketed, and Iran got a lot of income from the prices. This strengthened the economy of Iran such that they paid all their debt that they owned America and now developed to become the lender.
The United States became so pleased with the growth of Iran and how stable Iran was becoming. The United States also had a large market of its products in Iran. It was also pleased with the shah administration stability and that they even withdrew their CIA from Iran and now they would depend on the source of information given to them by Shah instead of conducting their research on the ground.
During the period when the price of oil was high, the Shah administration received a lot of revenue such that it got to a point where he used the resources with less care. This action led to a substantial economic disorder that even after the United States came to realize about it and tried to pump some money and make the economy stable again, it was too late. During the revolutionary period, the relationship between the United States and Iran was broken and have not been resolved since then.
The rise and fall of the United States and Iran Relationships
Signing Of a Nuclear Agreement between the United States and Iran In 1957
Iran achieved its knowledge about nuclear from the united states back in 1957; this is after the then American president decided to spread awareness to other nations. The United States did this as part of the cold war that then known as atoms for peace. This term was derived from a speech that was given by Eisenhower at the united nation annual meeting back in 1953. He suggested that other nations should be encouraged to use nuclear to generate power. He argued that this would discourage them from using nuclear to create weapons or another weapon that can be used for war. His speech came the same few years after the United States had invented the atomic bomb. The United States was anxious to keep to them self and avoid it spreading to other parts of the world. According to the U.S providing nuclear technology would be a means of gaining their political support and also winning the same kind of control over them. For this reason, the United States had to select countries that it could benefit from once they achieve their power over them; some of the countries chosen were Israel, Pakistan, India, and Iran.
By this time the United States had become a close ally to Shah, and they were to take control of Iran. Their relationship had grown so strong that even when the army overthrew Shah, the CIA in 1953 planned a coup and brought back Shah into his position. The United States even set camps for their army in Iran so that they could monitor the activities of the Soviets. In these camps, the United States was also involved with nuclear weapons. When Shah was overthrown from power, the U.S lost control of Iran and had to withdraw its trope from Iran. While removing its troops from Iran U.S left all the nuclear technology back. Iran took over the technology and disobeyed the Atoms rule to use the nuclear for commercial purpose and started to use nuclear in the manufacturing of nuclear weapons.
The 1979 Revolutions and the Hostage Crisis
Over time it has been stated that it was the United States role in overthrowing Mossadegh that contributed to the start of the 1979 revolution. The revolution was said to be such anti-Americanism, and its impacts were much directed towards the Americans. The revolution was full of a lot of mayhems for example when some Iranian students decided to take up the United States embassy that was located in Tehran. The action led to the holding of hostages who comprised of 52 American citizens as well as diplomats for several days. Earlier in the same year, there were reported a series of protests and strikes that eventually led in forced exile of pro-American Shah. Shah was exiled in Egypt. After that incident, the monarchical rule that was prevalent in Iran was consequently replaced by an Islamic republic led by a political and a supreme religious leader. The issue of taking the hostage by students was done a few weeks after Shah who had been exiled was allowed to travel into the United States for cancer treatment.
Although the United President at that period, Jimmy Carter had rejected that idea but eventually he accepted after being pressured by other American officials. The decision of providing asylum to Shah by the United States to access medication led to mixed reactions, especially from the Iranian revolutionaries. They saw the action as a method that the United States was using to perform another coup aimed at overthrowing the post-revolution administration. This can be described as to what contributed to the United States embassy takeover. The 1979 hostage crisis developed to become one of the catastrophic for the relationship between the United States and Iranian relations.
Up to 1980, the hostage crisis showed no signs of ending soon, and this caused a lot of tension between the two states. This made the United States take action. As a result, Carter detached all the diplomatic relations with Iran, and up to now some of them are still detached. According to the United States, the hostage issue was inhuman, and the occupation of the embassy tended to discourage the principles controlling international relations as well as diplomacy, and therefore this issue was indefensible.
The Relationship between Shah and the United States
Shah ruled Iran from 1954 to 1979, during his regime the U.S had gone through eight presidents. Shah wanted Iran to have military supremacy over its neighbors; for this reason; he was seeking to have a relation with the United States to gain military advancement. The relationship grew such that the U.S set policies that involved Iran military. This led to the Iran military becoming stronger and stronger, and at one point, it became the fifth most advanced military in the world. In 1969 when Nixon got into power Iran had become the biggest procurer of the U.S military arms. By 1972 Nixon deployed the U.S army in Iran; this was done because of two main reasons one because the British had withdrawn their army from the Gulf. Secondly, the Vietnam situation forced the United States to look for a strategic area that could enable them to deal with the condition, and Iran seemed to be the only solution for the United States to consider.
In the 1970s the Shah was purchasing arms from the U.S in billions hence boosting their relationship compared to the relationships that the U.S had with other nations such as Israel. The United States decision of having to choose Iran as its partner was provocative as Iran, unlike their neighbors had a small number of Arabs. Secondly, the population of Iran was more of the Shias Muslim rather than the Sunnis who are the dominants in their neighboring nations. Thirdly during the Shah tenure, Iran was considered to be less stable and that a coup was likely to happen at any time. This means that the Shah administration had not gained respect even from the neighboring nations. Hence the United States was not expected to select Iran over its neighbors.
It came a time when Nixon resigned due to the presser of being impeached following the Watergate scandal. Ford took over the administration and was responsible for the Iran military policies which were under the threat of the Congress. Congress was still fighting for military supremacy against Iran; he also could not understand why the United States was arming Iran at an alarming rate because previously Nixon had it as a secret.
The first secretary of defense that Ford elected started questioning the capability of Iran to use the advanced U.S army that they were buying in large volume. He argued that Iran had no skilled personnel even to drive hence to handle the arms that they were purchasing would also be a challenge and that a significant number of the U.S army had to be sent to Iran to take over the control of the arms. He explained that the rate at which Shah was buying the U.S arms was detrimental to Iran economy and that it would cause harm to the society. Ford sacked him and replaced him with Donald who was to ensure that the military policy in Iran was not questioned as per his operation.
The concerns raised by Schlesingerere considered to be genuine and the relationship between the two nations was not going the allowed to suffer a second blow any time soon. In ensuring that it was possible Ford signed to approve the military policies that had earlier been set by the Nixon administration. It was through this action that the relationship between the United States and Shah was sealed again.
When Jimmy Carter got elected as the United States President he demanded more control over the U.S foreign policy and also introduced the need to have human rights. This happened regardless of the Shah authoritarian nature over Iran. In 1977 cater administration sold more arms to Iran than even the previous presidents. Carter continued to sell weapons to Iran in a large volume to maintain the relationship between the two nations. When Shah finally was overthrown from power, the United States lost the direct control that they had over Iran. This regime had been cruel to the citizens of Iran such that after Shah was removed from power, the citizen rioted shouting that the American and the Israelites get killed.
Reactions of the United States towards Iran and Vice Versa
The United States Position in the Iraq-Iran War
During the war that broke up between Iran and Iraq in 1980, the United States stayed neutral according to its statements. However, the fact is that it was using some heinous methods to arm both Iran and Iraq. For example, after Reagan took office, he covertly worked with Israel to ship a vast number of American armaments to Iran. This act was against the United States embargo act of such trading activities, but it was done secretly. On the other hand, when the CIA established that Iraq was on the process of being defeated by Iran in 1982, the Reagan administration decided to equip Iran with high-end weapons as well as extremely classified intelligence. Through the data provided, Iraq was able to track the movements of the Iranian troops. Therefore by looking at both sides of the conflict, it is evident that the United States was equipping both sides with a motive of preventing any of the parties to dominate the critical oil district. However, in the following year, the United States started to take sides in the conflict, and this is seen when it began to favor Iraq. The United States took no action when they realized that their arms dealers were selling high-end and dangerous Soviet weapons to Saddam Hussein of Iraq.
Moreover, the dreadful action was when Reagan administration engaged in selling of biological weapon agents for example anthrax and other dangerous chemical weapons whereas they were aware that Saddam Hussein was using the weapons frequently against Iran and also against his countrymen who opposed his rule. The biological and chemical weapons were hazardous for Iranian people, and when the Iranian government found out the heinous act by the United States, the relationship between the two countries developed to become worse. It also increased tension between the two countries as each country expected the worse to happen. The United States was planning some revenge from Iran, and therefore it prepared itself for anything.
Sanctions and Economic Repercussions in Iran
As previously discussed in this paper, the United States was Iran’s major trading partner together with West Germany. However, all the critical trading deals connections stopped after the hostage crisis. This crisis is considered to have adversely affected the economy of Iran in diverse ways. The reaction of the United States towards Iran started in late 1979 when the then government suspended all the oil imports from Iran and also freezing the Iranian assets of billions of dollars. It was after the hostage resolution crisis in 1981 that some of the frozen assets were released. Therefore trade between the two countries seemed to have resumed, but it was not as it used to be in the past. Due to the resumption of trading activities between the two countries, the relationship also continued, and they started seeing each other as trading partners. However, things had not gone back to the normal, and this is characterized by the reactions of President Ronald Reagan from 1983. He imposed several economic restrictions to Iran by claiming that Iran was aiding terrorism among other things.
On the contrary, the United States continued with its process of buying the Iranian oil worth billions of dollars and this after the end of the war between Iran and Iraq in 1988. When Bill Clinton took over power as the president of the United States, he introduced broad restrictions and sanctions against Iran. However, the sanctions reduced in 2000 when a reformist government under President Mohammad Khatami was formed in Iran. However, the decision by Iran on the establishment of nuclear energy later led to the introduction of new sanctions. The sanctions by the United States targeted all the individuals as well as other entities who the United States assumed that they were involved in nuclear energy development.
The Shooting Down Of Iranian Airbus by the United States
The war between Iran and Iraq lasted for around eight years. During the war, both countries used air technology like aircraft to attack the foreign armies that were transporting the oil exports through tankers over the Persian Gulf. As a result, the United States together with other countries that were involved in oil trade deployed warships to safeguard their oil that was being transported mainly in international waters. In 1988, the worst tragedy happened when a United States warship brought down a passenger’s airplane that was flying from Tehran towards Dubai. The commercial airline was on the official route, unlike the other battleships. The aircraft had 274 passengers on board, and all of them were killed. Afterward, the United States government produced a statement saying that the tragedy was an accident and that the personnel in their warship mistakenly identified the passenger’s airline with an attacking warship.
After the tragedy, the Iranian government and its citizen believed that the act was deliberate. This was established when the United States government decided to misinform the world concerning the tragedy. The United States government further made some false accusations that the Iranian airline was on a wrong route and it was directing its attacks towards the American warship. Some months before this tragedy, air traffic monitors and other crews who were involved in other warships had persistently warned that the United States had poorly trained teams precisely the Vincennes crew and the captain of a gung-ho warship. They claimed that these crews were regularly misidentifying the civilian aircraft that were crossing above the Persian Gulf and they were making the overall process difficult and therefore the tragedy was predictable.
Ironically, two years after the massacre, the warship’s crew and its captain that caused the tragedy were conferred combat medals. Moreover, the Vincennes town that was named after the ship also went ahead to launch a fundraising event for a monument. The main aim of the monument was to honor the crew and their ship rather than remembering the Iranians who were killed in the attack. This shows that the United States was not remorseful for the tragedy, but it seemed to be celebrating it.
The Iranian government presented the case into the inner court of Justice. In response to the lawsuit by the Iranian government, the United States agreed for compensation. The victim’s families were granted some amount of money as compensation. However, the United States never apologized or accepted their mistake of attacking the passenger’s aircraft. The memories of the attacks are still being commemorated in Iran as a day is marked yearly to remember the victims. According to most of the Iranians, the tragedy was one of the most serious and heartening to have ever been conducted by the United States and hence leading to increased hate between the two nations.
Iran Involvement in Marine Bombing In 1983
Another significant event that has influenced the relations between the United States was the bombing of the United States Marine barracks in 1983. The attack happened in Lebanon, and it claimed 241 lives of United States marine soldiers and other personnel. Although the explosion was from a truck that was parked at the compound, the bombing was later traced to have been conducted by Hezbollah, an Iranian associated militia group, and therefore the United States accused Iran of planning the attack. The Iranian government refuted the claim of being involved, but the United States was convinced that Iran was behind the attack. The United highest court in 2016 ruled out that the Iranian bank assets that were previously frozen could be used to pay the survivors as well as the family members of the soldiers that were killed.
Clash of Civilians
The beginning of the term of President Regan resulted in the release of the American hostages by Iran on January 20th, 1981. However, the affiliation between the governments of America based in Washington with that of the Islamic Republican of Tehran remained bitter. During the reign of President Regan in the Oval Office, Khomeini’s Iran was in a bloody conflict with Saddam Hussein’s earthly Ba’athist administration in Iraq that would consequence to death of two third Iranians tallying to half a million lives lost. To impasse, the interest of the Iran administration in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf of Persia, Regan rule supported the Iraq government. It was also aimed at revenge for the past disagreements with the American control thus investigation aid in the battlefield plus monetary assistance to agriculture was offered to Iraq by Regan administration.
The result of support to Iraq had severe outcomes by the Iranians leading to the death of 241 U.S Marines, due to a bomb attack in Breuil Airport in 1983. Seven Americans were also taken hostage during this Iranian operation. The success of Iranian bomb attack was much promoted by the strategy used by Iran which involved the conversion of support to Islamic radicals who included Lebanon’s Hezbollah enhancing its operations. Impact of Iran Contra Affair disclosure by Hezbollah led to the humiliation of President Regan as it revealed the half-baked contract between the White House and the Khomeini’s regarding the “arms for hostages.”
Iran-Iraq conflict ended in a draw in 1988; calm was facilitated by Regan’s retirement in January following Khomeini’s passing four months advanced. The end of the Iran-Iraq war was expected to impact new links amid the two states. However, in 1990 Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait forcing President George Bush to respond to defeating Iraq in 1991 without aid from Iran. Additionally, Iran continued in spreading Islamic fundamentalism across the whole Middle East resulting in exile in Washington while Bush lost his bid for the second period due to discontents with the U.S decision in the Persian Gulf.
Change from Repression to Synchronicity
President Clinton reign was characterized by the policy of “Dual Containment,” which put more emphasis on rectifying the ruined domestic assets more than being involved in American diplomacy. Dual Containment prohibited Iran and Iraq from causing instability using economic authorizations and military intimidations. Samuel Huntington, a political scientist, had a great illustration of this model indicating that the post-cold war was identified by the “clash of civilization,” amid the Islam and the West.
Iranian inflexibility precisely the Arab-Israel peace course promoted active US sanctions on the Iraq and Iran rules under the Clinton administration using the “Dual Containment” policy. In the mid-1990s, the use of regulation and presidential commands were effectively utilized enhancing the reduction of government incomes. Furthermore, Washington engaged in growing the international devotion to its ban using political pressure illustrated by Iran-Libya Sanctions of 1996. It was aimed in intimidating Iran’s Energy sectors depositors via the introduction of secondary Sanctions by the US administration.
Indefinable cooperation amid Europe and Iran reduced the impact of the US sanction on Iran’s revenue and its overall economic development. The fungible nature of oil enhanced it as the main export commodity in Iran. Therefore, the Islamic Republic was committed in the financial and diplomatic relations with Europe, Japan, and the Arab States of the Persian Gulf rather than dealing with its problematic policies. However, increased international bonds with Iran against the US autonomous Sanctions to this country resulted in a change of perspective on the mode of the approach used by the Washington administration on the Islamic Republic. It led at the end of “Dual Containment” doctrine and its bombast although the United States maintained its non-relationship with Iran using a mixture of political signs, agreements, and threat running frustrating some key Iran strengthening.
The Foundation of the Stand-Off
Washington was interested in three significant areas concerning Iran administration; they included the creation of weapons that enabled mass obliteration, sustenance of terrorism, and opposition of Middle East peace course. Moreover, the secondary US rule interest areas on Iran administration were concerns on the human rights precisely Iran’s Religious minorities. America repeatedly requested to address these differences including any other raised by the Iranian government in dominant discourse. Also, the Iran administration was well outlined continuously rejecting straight diplomatic acquaintances with Washington while the authorizations and fundamental financial rights remain unresolved. Tehran more so energetically fights the US military in the Gulf together with the host of American policies in the region.
Clinton unbending policies in the Gulf led to unexpected substantial development in Tehran where Mohammed Khatami, an Islamic Moderator was elected as the president in May 1997. The election occurred after two decades of radical and religious chaos in Tehran. Khatami called for the dialogue of civilization by encouraging restoration of diplomatic links ruined during the early hostility disorders with the US administration. In return, the American government insisted on the end of aid provided by Iran to the Radical Islamic in Lebanon, and also Iran to stop its nuclear research projects. Positive gestures were portrayed after the al-Qaeda attack in World Trade Centre in September 2001, where Khatami sent pities to George Bush while his people held candle lights vigil in the streets of Tehran.
Although Khatami repeatedly tried to improve the associations with the US government, President George Bush termed Iran and Iraq, and North Korea regime of terrorism