U.S. Iran Relations

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    U.S. Iran Relations

  • Iran and World War II

     Iran and World War II
    Reza Shah's sympathy with Germany in World War II leads to the Anglo-Russian occupation of Iran and deposition of the Iranian monarch in favor of his son, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. Pressured by U.S. officials, who cite clauses in the 1942 Atlantic Charter forbidding colonial expansion on the back of wartime efforts, British and Soviet troops leave Iran in 1946.
  • U.S.-backed coup ousts Mossadeq; reinstates shah

    U.S.-backed coup ousts Mossadeq; reinstates shah
    At the height of the Cold War, the Eisenhower administration approves a joint British-American operation to overthrow Mossadeq, worried that his nationalist aspirations will lead to an eventual communist takeover. After widespread rioting -- and with help from the CIA and British intelligence services -- Mossadeq is defeated and the shah returns to power, ensuring support for Western oil interests and snuffing the threat of communist expansion.
  • Nixon, Shah Negotiate Arms

     Nixon, Shah Negotiate Arms
    President Nixon travels to Tehran to negotiate arms agreements with Iran, including the sale of high performance jet fighters. Some U.S. policymakers worry Iran’s arms buildup might destabilize the Middle East.
  • Shah enters U.S.; Embassy in Tehran seized

    Shah enters U.S.; Embassy in Tehran seized
    In October, over the objections of Iran's revolutionary government, the U.S. allows the shah to enter the country in order to obtain treatment for cancer. On November 4, militant students seize the compound of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, demanding that the U.S. send the shah back to Iran so that he can stand trial. Thus begins the crisis in which 52 Americans are held hostage for 444 days.
  • Failed Rescue

    Failed Rescue
    The United States stages a doomed attempt to rescue the American hostages in Iran. Eight U.S. servicemen die.
  • Freedom

    The American hostages are released moments after Ronald Reagan succeeds Jimmy Carter as President of the United States.
  • Iran-Contra

    The public learns of an American effort to sell arms to Iran as a way of raising funds for anti-Communist fighters (known as Contras) in Nicaragua.
  • Khamenei calls negotiations with the U.S. useless

    Khamenei calls negotiations with the U.S. useless
    Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, denounces the U.S. and dismisses the idea of negotiations between the two countries, saying, "Negotiations will not solve any problem. Negotiations with America are beneficial to the American government." A report in Financial Times, however, indicates that reformist leaders continue to press for an opening up of relations, and that an internal debate persists over whether and how to engage the U.S.
  • Ahmadinejad's Letter

    Ahmadinejad's Letter
    There is talk of direct negotiations between Tehran and Washington on the issue of Iraq, at the behest of then-U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad. In May, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sends President Bush a rambling eighteen-page letter accusing him of committing untold atrocities in Iraq and invoking his Christian heritage to change course there.
  • Disputed Elections, Nuclear Secrets

    Disputed Elections, Nuclear Secrets
    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wins another term as Iran's president after disputed elections in June. The Obama administration opts for a low-key response to alleged election fraud, and signals willingness to remain open to talks over Iran's controversial nuclear program.