Michael Zirinsky

The United States and Iran

Since the 1978-79 revolution and emergence of an Islamic Republic, America has been transfixed by images of Iran fomenting terror against the US. Ironically, before 1978 most Americans knew nothing about Iran, leading President Carter famously to praise it, on the eve of upheaval, as an island of stability in the midst of a sea of turmoil. Sad to say, many Iranians also have a hostile view of America, based not on the beneficent idealism which characterized US policy in the Middle East before the Second World War, but on American Cold War activism, including sponsoring a 1953 coup d’etat in Iran and supporting the regime of Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi. This presentation seeks to illuminate America’s vexed relationship with Iran.