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FACTDROP: A Brief on the Past US-Iran relations
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2/19/2012

A Brief on the Past US-Iran relations

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Empress Farah in official uniform, 1977.




A short Lesson on US-Iran Relations



  • Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations
  • The 18th largest country in the world in terms of area at 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), Iran has a population of around 78 million. 
  • In 1951, after the assassination of prime minister Ali Razmara, Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh was elected prime minister by a parliamentary vote which was then ratified by the Shah. As prime minister, Mosaddegh became enormously popular in Iran after he nationalized Iran's petroleum industry and oil reserves. In response, the British government, headed by Winston Churchill, embargoed Iranian oil and successfully enlisted the United States to join in a plot to depose the democratically elected government of Mosaddegh. In 1953 US President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized Operation Ajax. The operation was successful, and Mosaddegh was arrested on 19 August 1953. The coup was the first time the US had openly overthrown an elected, civilian government. 
  • The Iranian Revolution, also known as the Islamic Revolution,began in January 1978 with the first major demonstrations against the Shah. After strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country and its economy, the Shah fled the country in January 1979 and Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile to Tehran. 
  • Iran – United States relations deteriorated rapidly during the revolution. On 4 November 1979, a group of Iranian students seized US embassy personnel, labeling the embassy a "den of spies".[123]They accused its personnel of being CIA agents plotting to overthrow the revolutionary government, as the CIA had done to Mosaddegh in 1953. While the student ringleaders had not asked for permission from Khomeini to seize the embassy, Khomeini nonetheless supported the embassy takeover after hearing of its success. 
  • While most of the female and African American hostages were released within the first months, the remaining 52 hostages were held for 444 days. Subsequent attempts by the Jimmy Carter administration to negotiate or rescue were unsuccessful. In January 1981 the hostages were set free according to the Algiers Accords
  • Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein decided to take advantage of what he perceived to be disorder in the wake of the Iranian Revolution and its unpopularity with Western governments. 
  • On 22 September 1980 the Iraqi army invaded Iran at Khuzestan, precipitating the Iran–Iraq War. The total Iranian casualties of the war were estimated to be anywhere between 500,000 and 1,000,000; with more than 100,000 Iranians being victims of Iraq's chemical weapons.
  • The Iran–Contra affair, also referred to as Irangate, Contragate or Iran-Contra-Gate, was a political scandal in the United States that came to light in November 1986. During the Reagan administration, senior Reagan administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, the subject of an arms embargo.[1] Some U.S. officials also hoped that the arms sales would secure the release of hostages and allow U.S. intelligence agencies to fund the Nicaraguan Contras. Under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress. 
  • While President Ronald Reagan was a supporter of the Contra cause, no conclusive evidence has been found showing that he authorized the diversion of the money raised by the Iranian arms sales to the Contras. To this day, it is unclear exactly what Reagan knew and when, and whether the arms sales were motivated by his desire to save the U.S. hostages. After the weapon sales were revealed in November 1986, Reagan appeared on national television and stated that the weapons transfers had indeed occurred, but that the United States did not trade arms for hostages. The investigation was impeded when large volumes of documents relating to the scandal were destroyed or withheld from investigators by Reagan administration officials. 
  • Col. North's handwritten notebooks and memoranda show that North and other U.S. officials were repeatedly informed about the Contras' ties to trafficking of drugs from Latin America into the United States and that airplanes from the U.S. used to supply arms to the Contras were being flown back with Contras personnel aboard carrying cocaine into the United States. The matter was further examined in the 1997 report of the US Department of Justice Inspector General, where the main question under investigation was whether CIA was instrumental in creating the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles, and where evidence was presented of patronizing by CIA of drug trafficking to Los Angeles, California. The report however stated that the allegations were "exaggerated". 
Source: Wikipedia




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