Iran’s Long Road to Nuclear Power

This is jus’ a thumbnail sketch of Iran about its convoluted history with the U.S., and is by no means a complete picture.

The Treaty of Commerce and Navigations signed in 1856, was the first diplomatic interaction the U.S. and Persia (now known as Iran) had. The treaty lasted until 1928.

During World War II, Iran’s leader Reza Shah appealed to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt to halt both British and Soviet forces from invading the country. However, this plea failed to get a response from FDR as the U.S. had not yet entered the war.

Reza Shah stepped down as the Soviets entered Tehran on September 17, 1941. His son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, replaced him two days later.

In 1951, Mohammed Mosaddeq was appointed Prime Minister by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Due to internal conflicts Mosaddeq was removed and replace with Ahmad Qavam.

After five days of protests, the Shah dismissed Qavam and re-appointed Mosaddegh, granting him the full control of the military. The Shah then went into exile.

On August 16, 1953, with the aid of the British government and the U.S., a coup was mounted against Mosaddeq. The plan called for the Shah to appoint General Fazlollah Zahedi as prime minister.

The coup failed but after a second coup attempt, the Shah was again the leader of Iran. Zahedi’s role as Iran’s Prime Minister ended in 1955.

The Shah declared and granted an amnesty to dissidents living abroad on October 2, 1978. This included Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution which saw the overthrow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Following the coup, Khomeini became the country’s Supreme Leader until his death in 1989. He had been exiled on November 4, 1964 for having denounced both the Shah and the U.S.

The Shah of Iran abandoned the throne, fleeing on January 16, 1979. While in exile, President Jimmy Carter allowed the Shah into the U.S. to undergo gall stone surgery.

Because of this a group of Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, on November 4, 1979, taking more than 60 Americans hostage. Fourteen hostages were released shortly after the takeover with the remaining hostages freed 444 days later.

Their release was soon followed in 1980 by the Iran-Iraqi War in which the U.S. sold arms to Iraq in its fight against Iran. Three years later 17 Americans were killed at a U.S. Embassy by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

On October 23, 1983 — 241 U.S. Marines, sailors and soldiers died in a suicide bombing. Five-years later, the U.S. launched an attack against Iran in retaliation for the Iranian mining of areas in the Persian Gulf, as part of the Iran-Iraq war.

By 1995, the U.S. had placed a trade embargo on Iran which restricted commercial relations with them. These sanctions were imposed by former President Bill Clinton and renewed by President George W. Bush.

In 1996, Iran through Hezbollah bombed the Khobar Towers killing 19 U.S. servicemen and wounding 498 civilians. Then September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centers, the Pentagon and White House happened.

It was discovered that at least eight of the hijackers passed through Iran, aided by Iranian border guards, and Hezbollah. In January 2002, Bush gave his “Axis of evil” speech, calling Iran and two other countries, an axis of evil and warned that their long-range missiles constituted terrorism and threatened the U.S.

Now, Iran is seeking reestablish the Caliphate. Recent evidence also supports that the Houthi rebels, who are trying to overthrow Yemen’s government, are Iranian-backed.

The Obama Administration and Iran supposedly agreed to a “framework” on April 2, where sanctions on the militant country would be lifted, if it gives up the means to make nuclear weapons. Now officials are trying to work out the final details of a formal agreement, facing a deadline of June 30.

There are also disputes about the reach of inspections of Iran’s nuclear program. That’s because they know they’ve violated all previous agreements for open inspections.

Russia now plans to supply Iran with the Antey 2500 S-300 air defense missile system. Russian president Vladimir Putin gave the green-light after Tehran struck its interim deal with the Obama Administration.

The S-300 is a surface-to-air missile system that can be used against multiple targets including jets, or to shoot down other missiles. It is not clear when the systems would be delivered.

North Korea supplied several shipments of missile components to Iran during the nuclear talks and the transfers violate the United Nations sanctions on both countries. Since September more than two shipments of missile parts have been monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies as they moved from North Korea to Iran.

Finally, the Senate Foreign Relations committee voted to give Congress the power to review any potential Iran nuclear deal in a compromise with the White House. It would give Congress at least 30 days to consider an agreement after it was signed and before Obama could suspend any congressionally mandated sanctions against Iran.


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