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Iran and the USA in the 1970s

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  • Essay length: 2877 words
  • Submitted: 19/06/2006
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University Degree International Relations

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Iran and the USA in the 1970s

The Iranian revolution began in January 1978 and ended with the Shah's replacement by an Islamic fundamentalist government in February 1979. The subsequent seizure of the American embassy in Tehran, together with the failed rescue attempt and the Iran-Contra 'arms for hostages' scandal, represented a humiliating and painful period for American diplomacy, and is all the more remarkable for the extremely close relations previously enjoyed by the two countries. The traumatic collapse of the Pahlavi regime gravely damaged the power and credibility of the U.S. in a critical part of the world and led to a fundamental reappraisal of America's world-wide strategic commitments. This essay will analyse the long-standing relationship between Iran and the United States and argue that it was the peculiar nature and depth of this relationship, together with inter-agency conflict, which led to such a reversal of attitudes following the revolution.


Iran, at the head of the Persian Gulf and stretching along its northern and eastern shores, has long served the western powers as a barrier against Russian ambitions toward the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Peninsula. In the nineteeenth century

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