Site Loader
Rock Street, San Francisco

Other aspects of US foreign policy toward Iran also created outrage amongst Iranian public opinion. The US-Israeli contribution to the creation of the Pahlavi regime’s despised secret police,  the National Security and Intelligence Organization (SAVAK)— responsible for the arrest, torture, and execution of hundreds of Iranians— was perceived as a very real manifestation of US oppression of the Iranian people. Signals that Iran no longer had even a semblance of an independent foreign policy— like Nixon Admin’s attempt to make Iran its regional policeman under the Guam Doctrine. 
The United States adopted an offshore balancing strategy in order to deal with those current and potential issues in the Middle East. Using their only ally in the area to keep watch on troublesome countries in the region such as Iran and Iraq, as well as independent factions that were beginning to emerge against governments in an extremist fashion. Although this strategy allowed the United States to stay at home and not actually do much while keeping close watch in the region, it created much unprecedented conflict, only adding insult to injury in the declining relations between the US and the state once holistically-dependent on it, Iran. The United States was soon to be seen as the ‘evil force’ behind every negative occurrence that the country would fall into. For example, the Pahlavi regime’s troubling human rights record in combination with its diverging, inconsistent economic policies.
From this perspective of ‘US to blame’, which began to gain wide acceptance in the late 1960s, those who sought to strike down the Pahlavi regime believed they had to first strike down its master, the US. The mismatch between US political ideals like human rights and democracy and its Cold War foreign policy seriously damaged both the attractiveness of US economically and politically, as well as the once patron-client-like relationship the two countries experienced. Thus, the idea of anti-Americanism in Iran was prevalent and only getting worse with time. 
In 1962, nine years after the coup, Mohammed Reza Shah declared that he was beginning a series of reforms to comply with US President Kennedy’s orders of redistribution of land, moving farmers to cities, and putting an end to native agriculture in order to create a more Western culture and consumer society. This set of six bills was passed by referendum often referred to by his opponents as deceitful and shameful;’The White Revolution’.
Ayatollah Khomeini led a population of militant clergy and fundamentalists who rose to vocal and passionate opposition to these reforms. He would formally state his opposition to the Shah and to the imposition of Western culture on the traditional values of Iranians in a speech on June 3, 1963. In response to the Shah naming his bills the ‘White Revolution’, Khomeini stated that ‘The religious scholars and Islam are Black Reaction!’. He called upon the people of Iran to action against the Shah, using religion and history as his means. The state police of the Shah had soon contained Khomeini and he was imprisoned and within a year he had been released from prison and exiled to Turkey, and then Iraq. This was the ‘start’ of his long, slow journey toward Islamic Revolution in Iran. 
The Revolution was brought about with the return of Khomeini from fifteen years of exile.While the Islamic Revolution of 1979 began as a pluralistic movement against the Pahlavi regime, it ended with the triumph of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his Islamist followers. Although this event was largely to blame for the culmination of demonstrations and uprisings associated with Revolution, additional factors come into play and add fuel to what would become the fire. Throughout the mid-1970’s key events leading up to the 1979 revolution like the harsh economic downturn the country had undergone, the urban overcrowding problem, monetary inflation, extreme corruption and a large gap in the distribution of wealth acting as this ‘fuel’ and helped push demonstrators to act. In particular three groups, or, revolutionary factions emerged in opposition to the Shah, largely due to their discontentment. Of these were women, students and religious reformers who quite personally felt the wrath and burden of the chaos and turmoil that plagued the state. 
In response to the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the US took unwanted action and asserted their influence by means of the new leader. Once the Shah was forced out after months of demonstration and striking against his rule, Islamic religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini came to power. Anti-Americanism in Iran is often associated with the Khomeini regime and its followers, who seized the US embassy in Tehran in 1979. Perhaps this moment is so significant because it encapsulates years of growing resentment that eventually bursts at the seams— or, the Iranian citizens rightfully pointed the finger at the problem, the United States, and all of its unsolicited meddling disguised for years as ‘aid’. 
The Iranian Revolution led to an ideological shift in Iran. Ayatollah Khomeini and his Shiite clerics ruled directly, where Khomeini ruled on divine right and ran Iran by their interpretation of Muslim Law. According to the principles of clerical rule that were being installed, the main goal to be focused on was Iranian progress. Also as a result, Khomeini and other Iranian leaders identified the United States as a nation with ‘selfish motives’, “All of the problems of the East stem from those foreigners from the west, and from America at the moment. All of our problems come from America.” The remaining part of the year 1979 thus, marked a pivotal shift in American-Iranian relations, and the nations’ declining relationship can be summed up more or less, in the six major events aforementioned. Although it seemed that the two countries’ relations had already experienced their toughest times, the Iranian Hostage Crisis from 1979-1981 proved that it was only to get worse, and worse. 
The Iranian Hostage Crisis was inarguably an outright embarrassment, and act of retaliation against the United States of America. On November fourth, 1979, a group of Iranian students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran and took more than sixty American hostages. The hostages were held captive for 444 days, being freed in 1981 after a few failed attempts by the United States to get them back. Often considered the beginnings of the two countries’ frequent and increasingly violent conflict, the Iranian Hostage Crisis was a bold and loud move by Iranian independent factions that surely would be remembered not only by the victims affected, but also remembered by both countries infinitely. Shortly after the crisis, came the Iran-Contra Scandal that began roughly in 1985 and lasted until 1986 and involved the US underhandedly coalescing with Iran by means of supplying them with combat weapons allegedly in exchange for Tehran’s help in freeing another set of US hostages held captive by Hezbollah in Lebanon. 
Untied States President Ronald Reagan was dealing with all of the mess at the time, including an ongoing political crisis in addition to his secret and illegal operations that he was taking part in. Among those secret actions was the illegal channelling of profits to Nicaragua, and although popular domestically during all of this, there was not doubt that he worked in secrecy and fueled the enemy more than once. In the midst of the hostage crisis, growing conflict between neighboring nations Iran and Iraq was culminating. Distracted and preoccupied at the time, Iraq unexpectedly invaded Iran in the year 1980 out of fear of religious conflict crossing borders into its country. Although the US was at first reluctant to intervene on either side, shortly after the US found itself evermore involved in the conflict involving the two nations in the Middle East, many, many miles away. The US to no surprise, was only intervening on behalf of their own benefit though, and became fearful of losing its precious wealth in the oil-rich region. In the end, Iraq came out unsuccessful and the United States’ involvement created even greater anti-American sentiment across the region. 
In the year 1997, Reformist Mohammad Khatami was elected Iranian president, and the following year he called for a very much needed talk with the ‘american people’. The Khatami Presidency was promising for the future of Iran, as he was willing to make amends with his enemies (or at least attempt to), and was somewhat favored by the Iranian citizens. Although he did not achieve any significant breakthroughs in regards to United States-Iranian relations, the interview he had with the US administration at the time was televised and seen by many. Khatami stayed in office until the year 2005, and was right at the center of the events leading up to, as well as the aftermath, of the attacks on September 11, 2001 in the United States. The significance of his presidency is in the fact that he did attempt to make amends with a country that Iran once had peaceable relations with and a country that often exploited his own on many different occasions.
The many events that both built up and knocked down relations between the US and Iran — both tragic and significant— that occurred within the time frame of 1950 through 2001 manifested in the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The culmination of growing resentment towards the United States, increasing conflict and tension, and the meddling of the American government in Iran’s and more broadly, Middle Eastern affairs, resulted in the uprisings of the Islamic Revolution; this can typically be referred to as the major turning point of the two country’s relations after examination and exploration of those preceding events. So, the deterioration of US-Iranian relations can be mapped out chronologically in stages. 1953 basically marked the beginning, or, first instance of a decline relationship between the two nations when involvement of the CIA in the coup d’etat led to the overthrow of Iranian leader Mohammed Mossadegh. This event was one of the most significant of what some may call the ‘first stage’ of dealing relations, beginning around mid-1940, and lasting until this event in 1953. During that time period, Iran sought protection, a friend; Iran actively and determinedly sought to attract the United State’s attention and lure the world power into a closer relationship with them. During this time, the two country’s relations were quite premature and undeveloped— this only signaled the beginning. 
From 1953 until the late 1960s stage two of US-Iranian relations set forth. The overthrow of Mohammed Mosadegh resulted in the restoration of the Shah, who had previously fled the country, to the throne with the help of the CIA and the British Intelligence. This period was one in which Iran was very dependent upon the United States— dependent on American protection, support and aid, or, dependent on the ‘patron-client-like’ relationship they had. Although Iran actively sought US support in the form of both aid and protection in exchange for an ally in the Middle East for the US, the distinction between how powerful the two were in relation to one another prevailed. In other words, it was clear that the US was superior in the relationship. 
Following the Shah’s restoration and relatively peaceable relations with the United States, this took a sharp downturn from about 1973 to 1979. It was during the seventies that US-Iranian relations became much more of a partnership. The Shah was such more stable at home, wealthier, and more adapt at handling his foreign relations— something important to remember as he was greatly influenced by American leaders. Unfortunately, any civil relationship the US and Iran had, came to a halt following the year 1979, and the respective Iranian Revolution that occurred. From 1979 onward, the two countries were seen as adversaries, and had no direct political and/or diplomatic relations whatsoever. 
During this time frame (roughly 1945-1990), the United States adopted a policy of offshore balancing in the Middle Eastern region. The realist, balance of power policy ensured close security ties to various countries in the region that may turn up problematic, as well as clear strategic interests. Additionally and most importantly, the Central US goal in the Middle East at that time was to prevent any single country from commanding the region— keeping a close eye on the Soviet Union and the communist threat it posed in particular. Moreover, the US officials did not necessarily seek total domination in the Middle East alone, they just wanted to make sure that no one else did

Post Author: admin


I'm Dora!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out