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US - Iran relationship

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Though there wasn’t any Iran Vs USA war, the relationship between the US and Iran has remained a complex one. The strenuous relationship includes cutting diplomatic ties and economic sanctions, without involving an armed conflict even before or after World War II. The relationship started to turn sour, with the US intervention in Iran in the early 1950’s by overthrowing Mohammad Mossadegh. Over a period of time, the peace bridge was built, but was broke after 1980’s. Currently US- Iran has no diplomatic ties.

Short summary about history US-Iran (US Iran relations timeline)

  • United States and Iran established diplomatic relations in 1883.
  • US-Iran wasn’t very complex before World War II, but it soon turned chaotic when the US’s CIA helped stage a coup to overthrow Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953. CIA activities like bribing newspaper editors to spread fake news, hiring anti-social elements to fuel unrest in the Iran created a chaotic condition in the Iran.
  • Later after several years the US offered Iran a nuclear reactor and weapons-grade nuclear fuel in 1967
  • During a revolution in Iran, the government backed by CIA was overthrown and the U.S. embassy in Tehran is overtaken and staff were held hostage for more than a year leading to diplomatic crisis between the two countries.
  • US President Jimmy Carter ordered to cut off diplomatic ties with Iran and authorizes a rescue mission to get the American hostages out in 1980. But the mission failed and eight U.S. service members were killed during the operation.
  • But Iran releases the hostages minutes after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in 1981
  • US President Reagan, in his second term, admits to a secret arms deal with Iran. It became a huge scandal known as “The Iran Contra affair." (1983)
  • Once again, the diplomatic crisis erupted in 1988, When a US Navy ship was shot down an Iranian passenger plane, killing 290 people who were onboard.
  • With complete diplomatic closure existed between the two countries over the next 15 years.
  • US President George W. Bush names Iran as part of an “Axis of Evil” along with North Korea and Iraq in 2012. But, US President George W. Bush pushes for talks with Iran regarding nuclear deal.
  • The deal never moves forwards as the new US President Barack Obama falls silent and stays away from the negotiation.
  • Obama government enforces a new law that put the squeeze on Iran in financial sector. Lots of countries followed, US to cut back on buying Iranian oil. Iranian economy takes a big hit. The following year, Hassan Rouhani was elected president in Iran. US-Iran Nuclear Deal was signed.
  • US President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal in 2018 and gets ready to impose sanctions over its nuclear program and claims the country is supporting militant groups in the gulf.

Iran’s system of governance

A combination of Islamic theocracy with democracy is the foundation of Iran’s constitution. Iran is headed by the Supreme Leader, who is responsible for the supervision of the general policies of the country. The Supreme Leader also set policy for country's domestic and foreign affairs. His power include commanding armed forces and intelligence including security operations. This means that he alone can declare war or ensure peace. He also wields the power to appoint and dismiss the head of department including judiciary, news and media. He also appoints six of the twelve members of the Council of Guardians, which supervises the activities of Parliament and take decisions about the candidates are qualified to run for public office. Such a complex and unusual political system with foundation in Islamic philosophy often lead to difficulty dealing with western powers.

US’s system of governance

The structure of the United States government is federal. The US Constitution’s system is made for balanced separation of powers which intends to prevent from becoming a dictator. So, it consists of three branches, the executive, legislative and Judicial. The Executive Branch is headed by the President of the United States of America, who is also the head in diplomatic relations including the Commander-in-Chief for all U.S. branches of the armed forces. He/she is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws written by Congress. He wields the power to appoint the heads of the federal agencies, including the Cabinet for execution of the legislation. The Legislative Branch is the Congress which is divided by two groups the Senate and the House of Representatives. Each group is made up of members elected from each state. The Senate is comprised of two Senators per state and the House is based on population, totaling 435 members. The structure of the two houses of Congress was the greatest debate during the Constitutional Convention. By dividing representatives both equally and based on size, the Founding Fathers were able to ensure that each state had a right to express their opinion in the federal government. Finally, the Judicial Branch is made up of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). It is made up of nine members, with the highest-ranking given the title of Chief Justice of the country. Besides, they have the powers to sort through the web of legislation and decide what is constitutional and what is not.


The U.S. and Iran differ on many issues not just on foreign affairs, but internal functioning of the government. But the US has the upper hand by sticking with the complex relationship due to its federal structure and economic power. But US cannot change Iran, and Iran cannot defeat US in the Middle East. So, both the country’s should join the hands together which affect both, including the Islamic State.

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