Why the tense relationship between Iran and the U.S?
The Iran-U.S relations began in 1878. G. L. Merrick entered Iran as a priest and in 1878; negotiations between George Marsh (U.S minister) and Ahmad Khan come to a conclusion. But this relation had many ups and downs during these years while the U.S always had an unfriendly attitude towards Iranian people and government. They kept threatening, sanctioning, attacking, terrorizing Iran and in the meanwhile they were supporting Iran’s enemies.
If the following, we are going to point out a number of these hostile acts against Iran in different periods of time which explains the tension between these two countries.During Carter’s presidency period, the Islamic revolution occurred in Iran and this event has changed U.S policies in the region especially toward Iran. After the Islamic revolution of Iran, Carter stated that U.S policy is based on three principals; first, increase of U.S military bases and equipment in the critical areas, second, creation of Rapid-Reaction Forces in the region, and third, U.S preparation for intense military interference in threatened areas.
“Iran’s strategic situation is so important to the west that we may even conduct a military attack in order to not let it out of our control”. Brzezinski said in 1982.
At the time of Reagan this view didn’t change at all. He kept supporting Saddam regime during the war against Iran and sold a huge amount of weapons including chemical equipment. They did not mention anything about using chemical weapons against Iran and the Kurds in Halabja. In 1993, George Bush spoke about U.S aids to Iraq during the 8-year war. He stressed that U.S support was due to fight Iran rather than supporting a democratic country. ABC news agency also stated in 1993, there were several U.S Army Special Forces were sent to Baghdad to fight beside Iraqi troops.
This animosity was revealed in a better way in the Persian Gulf in 1998. U.S warships have sank an Iranian speedboat and destroyed two oil platforms near the Strait of Hormuz. A few months later, an American ship attacked an Iranian airliner. U.S government stated that it was mistaken with a warplane but never apologized.
At the time of Clinton, U.S policy intended to constrain Iran and to isolate the country internationally. Preventing Iran from attending regional security arrangements (6+2), making regional friends, and controlling Iran and Iraq were the main goals of U.S policy with the aim of supporting Israel and conservative Arab countries. Along with this dual containment, U.S authorities have come to a unanimous decision to sanction Iran. In addition, U.S government has took a series of acts to isolate and control Iran’s Islamic revolution such as preventing to establish Central Asian oil pipeline from Iran, opposing Iran’s attendance in international consortium for Azerbaijan’s oil extraction the deliverance of Iran’s stock to Turkey, limiting Iran’s loans from international organizations such as World Bank, pressing European countries not to invest in Iran, allocating 20 million dollars to overthrow the Islamic Republic in December of 1995.
Despite U.S friendly statements, the hostile policies continued during Bush presidency. He’s mentioned Iran along with Iraq and North Korea as axis of evil. The neoconservatives in Bush’s system tried to change Iranian government by supporting outer monarchists and domestic opposition groups. As an example, they have dedicated 50 million dollars to Persian radio and TV stations inside the U.S as a donation.
Iranian people have always had a positive view toward the U.S and despite all the enmity and noncooperation, at the time of terrorist attack on World Trade Centers they down the streets and lit candles to sympathize with the U.S nation. They believed that relationships may improve when the next president comes.
The current president of the United States has spoken about Iran and change of attitude towards Tehran in his campaign. He was stressing on alternation in U.S policies toward the whole world and believed in negotiation even with the enemies. This approach continued even after he won the election but the sanctions never stopped and Security Council resolution regarding Iran nuclear program was approved. Moreover, U.S unilateral and strict measures to sanction Iran’s energy were approved by the members of the U.S congress. Iran has anticipated the apparent change in U.S foreign policies. Tehran wanted to see these changes in action not in words.
Form the other hand, Iran has took a series of actions to prove its goodwill such as helping to free American hostages in Lebanon and aiding U.S forces to attack Taliban. Even in an unexpected action, Ahmadinejad wrote a letter of congratulation to Obama. At the same time that the letter was published, many analysts predicted a beginning of a new chapter of relations between the two countries however, the letter was not responded to.
These are indications of the U.S one-sided hostility. It should be mentioned that in the analysis of the U.S interactions with the Islamic Republic of Iran, we can put these tensions in three categories including literal, military, and sanctions. After the Revolution of Iran, all former U.S presidents did not want to accept Iran as a powerful independent country of the Persian Gulf region. We can say that the decision that suggest Iran is unqualified to have nuclear energy and that it should be restrained was made under this framework and the tense relationships of the two countries was caused by the U.S ill-policies toward Iran.