America-Iran Relationship

Essay by farazhasanUniversity, Bachelor's August 2006

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For years, relations between the U.S. and the Middle Eastern country of Iran have been rife with tension. Since 1979, when religious fundamentalists took control of Iran's political system and declared the country an Islamic republic, the two nations have had no diplomatic ties and have frequently clashed over political and strategic differences.

Although the U.S. and Iran have never gone to war, their heated rivalry has occasionally flared into hostile rhetoric and violence. U.S. officials have long considered Iran a "rogue state"--a blatant sponsor of terrorism, a perpetrator of human rights abuses and a threat to U.S. interests in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Iranian officials have dubbed the U.S. the "Great Satan" of the West--a meddlesome superpower bent on exploiting the underdeveloped countries of the Middle East and imposing its values on Muslims.

Yet after a long period of hostility, relations between the two countries seem to be moving in a more positive direction.

Officials from both countries have begun to make gestures of goodwill toward each another, signaling a possible end to their deep-rooted conflicts. (Abdo, 2001)

Changes in U.S.-Iranian relations can be largely attributed to monumental political and cultural changes that are currently sweeping Iran. In recent years, a growing number of Iranians have begun to call on their leaders to reform Iran's repressive political system, improve the country's human rights standards and decrease the role of religion in government affairs.

In 1997, Iranians' calls for change led to the election of President Mohammed Khatami, a moderate who has vowed to bring reform to Iran's political system and reevaluate Iran's hard-line stance toward the U.S. Recent elections have also brought many reform-minded officials into the Majlis (Iran's parliament), and in June voters reelected Khatami by a wide margin.

The changing political climate in Iran has been...