The USA and Iran always seem to have different narratives when it comes to politics or discussing nuclear weapons. History is filled with vigorous disputes and fights between both of these countries that have led to great dismay and the loss of countless precious lives. The following article will be discussing the US Iran relationships over the years.
Mossadegh announces Nationalization
Their turmoil dates way back to 1951. It all started when Iranian oil fields were used by the British and they felt how their country’s resources were being used by someone else in power. So their democratically elected Prime Minister Mossadegh decided to nationalize the oil fields. Mossadegh was a nationalist and felt that Iran should not let other nations use their resources. The British and USA saw this as a revolt against them and thought Iran might be getting closer to the Soviet Union. The first dent to the US-Iran relationship struck when the CIA planned a coup which resulted in the sanction of Prime Minister Mossadegh. The operation was carried out by Kermit Roosevelt who was the grandson of Theodore Roosevelt. The replacement to Mossadegh was Mohammad Reza Pahlavi who was a former exiled monarch. Mossadegh later went to exile and died under house arrest.
For the next 20 years, Iran and the USA were on a good path as Reza Pahlavi, who was commonly known as Shah, regularly visited the USA, and till 1970 Iran was the strongest ally of the USA in the Gulf countries. However, Shah’s days were numbered as due to months of protests across the country, Shah left Iran in 1979. Two weeks later one of the most pinnacle moments happened that changed the course of the US Iran relationship. Ayatollah Khomeini arrived in Tehran and Shah never returned. Shah was diagnosed with cancer and wandered across countries for help and protection. Sooner, it was the USA president Carter that provided him asylum in the United States.
The Iranian Revolution
Carter did not realize that this movement may not go so well for the Iranians. What followed is known to date as the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Days, after Shah was given asylum in the U.S. Iranian revolutionary students, attacked the US embassy in Iran. After three hours of fighting and struggling, they managed to break in and got control of the embassy. They blindfolded the workers, handcuffed them, and threw them outside the assembly. Not only this but for the next 442 days, fifty-two Americans were held hostage by Iranian students. The people of Iran wanted the US to send Shah over to them and in return, they would send these 52 people back to America.
Jimmy Carter later had a press conference and said that they would not be purchasing oil from Iran any further. This was a big blow to the US Iran relationship and also to Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign. As the USA saw this as a humiliation to itself, how a third world country was keeping them, hostage, Carter was to lose in the next presidential elections.
Less than a year later, Iraq invaded Iran, hoping to capitalize on the messed-up situation Iran had gone into and ignited the Iran-Iraq war. When Iran appeared to be winning the war America tilted towards Iraq. It wasn’t just a tilt, but it opened the floodgates. During the 8 year war, the USA provided Saddam Hussain and his Iraqi army, intelligence reports, billions of dollars, and even chemical weapons to fight off the Iranians. After eight years of vigorous bombings and fighting the war ended with both countries having the same territory. Not to forget that during the war Iran backed a Lebanese militant group called Hezbollah which carried out a deadly attack against US Marines in Peru. This led to the death of 241 Americans and further deterioration of US Iran relationships.
A weird twist occurred in November of 1986 when the world learned about a series of arms selling to Iran which was being done secretly. That action involved profits of up to 30 million dollars as those arms were secretly funneled to Contra rebels fighting in Nicaragua. People also took this thing strange how America on one hand was supporting Saddam Hussain and on the other hand kept selling ammunition to Iran.
The USA shooting down Iran’s passenger jet line
In 1988 US forces operating in the gulf shot down an Iranian jetliner. 290 passengers and crew were violently killed by this inhumane attack. The United States never apologized for this attack and even to this date, Iranians feel that was the final nail in the coffin of the US Iran relationship.
The fight for Nuclear Weapons
What came next was the ever-going dispute over nuclear arms ownership. Iran, which had been working in purifying Uranium from the 1950s and even seeking help from the USA, came to step up its efforts to develop nuclear power in the mid-2000s. The president behind this idea was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This Iran government denied Israel’s existence, denied the holocaust, and looked forward to creating a nuclear weapon. Then in 2010, the US-Israeli-designed computer worm called the Stuxnet was secretly released on the Iranian Nuclear Facility. It recorded the reactor working properly and it destroyed their plant. Three years later Iran came back to the negotiation table and decided to pull off its nuclear campaign in exchange for sanctions relief. In 2015, President Barack Obama announced a preliminary agreement in Iran’s nuclear deal. President Obama called it a historic agreement between the two countries.
The attacks of Donald Trump
The deal, however, stayed for three years, as US President Donald Trump abolished the deal in May 2018 and reinstated sanctions against them, and threatened to do the same to those who continue buying oil from them. Another major blow was struck to Iran in 2020 when their top military commander, General Qasem Soleimani was assassinated by a US drone that struck in Iraq. This led to massive outrage and protests in the country and strong opposition by Iran’s government as well who vowed to take strong revenge for their general. They also pulled back from the nuclear accord that was signed in 2015.