Just The Facts

Made in the USA: Iran’s Grievances

From Tehran’s perspective, why is it so hard to have better relations with the US?

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  • Iran has several major longstanding grievances against the United States, which make it hard to cooperate.
  • Official Iran hasn't forgotten the US-backed 1953 coup or US support for the Shah and Saddam Hussein.

Iran’s list of official grievances against the United States include:

1. The U.S.-backed coup against democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq in 1953;

2. The oppression by the Shah, a strong ally to the United States in the Middle East until the 1979 Revolution;

3. The alleged basing of American spy operations in Iran out of the U.S. embassy in Tehran (prior to its closure due to the hostage crisis);

4. Washington’s support for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the brutal Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s;

5. The 1987 downing of an Iranian civilian airliner over the Persian Gulf;

6. Of late, sanctions that have severely squeezed Iran’s economy.

Adapted from Not All Iranians Want a Nuclear Deal by Lionel Barber (Financial Times)



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Responses to “Made in the USA: Iran’s Grievances”

Archived Comments.

  1. On December 6, 2013 at 11:03 am Ormond Otvos responded with... #

    The constant hypocritical demonisation of Iran as evil?

  2. On December 10, 2013 at 9:11 am JamesMN responded with... #

    Uhmmmmmmmm … well, given that we’re the “Great Satan” to many of the conservative Iranians I’d have to say that “demonization” is hardly our greatest sin.

  3. On December 10, 2013 at 11:06 am MoS responded with... #

    Well, James, if they had backed a coup (over oil) in the 50s that toppled Eisenhower and installed some stooge American monarchist backed by a brutal secret police service that made the Gestapo look like Girl Guides to run roughshod over your grandparents for 30-years, you might just look at Iran as a “Great Satan.” I don’t know, maybe not.

  4. On December 10, 2013 at 11:21 am JamesMN responded with... #

    Actually most of the overthrow was orchestrated and carried out by the British. Yes, we had a hand in it, and certainly the Eisenhower administration looked the other way for it, but the major players and beneficiaries of the overthrow were the British; we didn’t really play there for oil, we didn’t need it, but the Brits did. Odd how they’re not the great Satan for that one.

    Now I’m not an expert on what demonization is, but when you call a country a “Great Satan” it stands to reason that there’s some serious demonization going on there, and let’s remember, that was the point of the response I made earlier. If there’s “demonization” going on, then both parties can point fingers, though I’d hazard to suggest that the average American wouldn’t think of Iran in the context of Satan, nor do we tend to hold yearly rallies denouncing the Great Satan Iran.

    The two things I personally have a problem with and clearly hold our government for fault for are our support for Iraq and specifically Saddam Hussein during the war with Iran, and the shooting down of the Iran Air airliner and never apologizing for it – both of those were nasty turns on the part of the American government and specifically vindictive in my view. Everything else was apiece of what we were doing, as were other governments, throughout the world; not that it’s excusable or was right, but Iran was just a piece on a chess board the American government was playing on and c’est la vie in it’s time and day.