America Iran Relationship Essay

2119 words - 9 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

S. and Iran. For years, the U.S. has sought to isolate Iran through a strict regime of trade embargoes and other sanctions. Many human rights activists, business leaders and other interests have come to the conclusion that such measures are counterproductive, and have called on U.S. officials to engage Iran through commercial ties and diplomatic talks. Yet while people from both countries are eager for improved relations, policy makers have yet to surmount lingering resentment and mutual distrust.In the U.S., public officials are currently at odds over how the relationship with Iran should be defined. Is Iran still a threat to U.S. interests in the Middle East? Should the U.S. lift economic sanctions and other measures that have been enacted to punish Iran for its alleged links to terrorist groups and past acts of aggression? Would a closer relationship between the two countries provide impetus for political reform in Iran?Some observers assert that the time is ripe to engage Iran in a more open relationship. Rather than seeking to discipline the country through sanctions and harsh rhetoric, they say, the U.S. should seek to foster change through diplomacy and trade. If U.S. officials fail to give up grudges against Iran, supporters argue, they will squander an opportunity to gain a new trading partner and potential ally.Yet others are less optimistic about Iran's prospects for change, and reject the notion that the country deserves of closer commercial and diplomatic ties. Despite Khatami's promises for reform, they argue, Iran is far from establishing a trustworthy and stable state. Supporters of sanctions point out that hard-line Islamic leaders remain entrenched in Iran's political system, blocking the country's path to reform. Unless Iran can prove that it has ceased sponsoring terrorist groups and stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, they say, the U.S. should not lift sanctions or establish diplomatic ties.In the late 1970s, Iran descended into chaos as conservative Muslims began to align themselves against the Shah. His opponents united under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, an Islamic cleric, who orchestrated a government overthrow while living in exile in France. Following widespread strikes and rioting staged by Khomeini's supporters, in January 1979 the Shah fled the country. One month later, Khomeini returned to Iran and became the country's supreme leader.Khomeini declared Iran an Islamic republic and established a government based on strict religious principles. Leaders of his regime put to death political opponents, shut down newspapers and magazines, banned political parties, closed universities and restricted civil liberties. The new regime espoused fervent anti-American sentiments because the U.S. had supported the Shah.The new government drafted a constitution that is still in place today. The constitution features elements found in most secular democratic systems, such as a democratically elected president and parliament....

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