For many of us, our impressions of Iran may be muddied, even vague. Iran was once a strong ally of the US. In 1962, President Kennedy warmly welcomed the Shah Mohammed Riza Pahlevi and the Empress Farah to the White House. The Shah was ushered into power in 1953, following a CIA-lead coup, toppling Premiere Mohammed Mossadegh. President Eisenhower approved of the plan, supporting British concerns over the nationalization of Iran's oil fields and the Premiere's relationship with the Soviet Union. Friendly relations continued into the 1970's and, indeed, many Iranian engineers were educated right here at MIT.
Following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, our memories may be of the Ayatollah Khomeini's return to Iran and his subsequent hard-line theocracy, American hostages held for 444 days, and President George W. Bush including Iran in the Axis of Evil (Iraq and North Korea were named as well). Since then, relations between the US and Iran have improved incrementally.
Currently, Iran is constantly featured in the news due to the continuing nuclear negotiations. Progress has been made, but the talks are now reaching an end point. Two deadlines for reaching a lasting agreement have passed and President Obama said on Monday that.... "The issues now are--does Iran have the political will and the desire to get a deal done?" A final political consensus must be reached by March 31 and a final agreement regarding technical details by June 30.
To help us understand the complex relationship between Iran and the US, we invite you to the Bustani Middle East Seminar, on Tuesday, February 17th, Iran and the United States: Eternal Enemies or Natural Partners? with guest speaker Stephen Kinzer, author and former New York Times correspondent. For more information, go to our Program Listings and please join us on February 17th!