You hear newscasters talking about Iran a lot.
Mostly about that sawed-off little bat-shit crazy president of theirs, Achmed Iwantadinnerjacket or whatever the fuck his name is.
You get that Iran and the U.S. don't like each other and you understand that Iran getting nukes would probably be bad news.
But do you really understand where they fit into the geo-political scheme of things? Do you know why our relationship with Iran is a bit, um, strained?
If you're an American, prolly not. But that's OK. I'm here to help.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE U.S./IRAN RELATIONSHIP
The United States first established diplomatic relations with Iran during the Anglo-Persian War in 1856. For the turbulent, convoluted and Machievellian history of the region up until that time, you should google "The Great Game".
In 1909 Howard Baskerville, an American Presbyterian missionary in Tabriz became Iran's General Lafayette during the Constitutional Revolution. He died in battle fighting the Royalists in Mohammad Ali Shah's elite Cossak Brigade. This American is still a revered figure in Iran.
So things started off really good! Until after WWII and the start of the Cold War.
In all honesty, Iran started this shit.
We had been mostly good to them for 100 years, gang-raping their oil fields and giving them the occasional reach-around. That's how business was conducted in those days and everyone pretended to be happy about it.
But then in 1953, their Prime Minister Mossadegh and his National Front party got all "uppity" and decided to nationalize the country's oil industry.
In this context, "nationalize" means to "steal back". Foreign oil companies from the United States, Britain, and every other country who needed oil were going at Iran's oil fields like a bunch of frat boys at a $2 whore.
So Mossadegh said "All of that infrastructure you built to extract our oil? Yeah, that all belongs to us now. Fuck you. Buh bye".
As you can imagine, that didn't sit very well with the U.S. oil companies and the U.S. government (I'm sorry, was that redundant?).
So in 1953, the U.S. and Great Britain get together in the American Embassy in Tehran (waypoint this location in your GPS for later) and go into cahoots with the C.I.A. to oust the democratically elected Mossadegh, aborting Iran's attempt at democracy, and replace him with Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a.k.a The Shah of Iran.
Between 1953 and 1957, the C.I.A. works closely with The Shah's regime to create the SAVAK, the Iranian secret police who brutally supressed, tortured, and jailed without due process any political disidents.
He was our bitch.
We didn't have any problem with HIM buiding nukes.
The Shah of Iran was Iran's Saddam Hussein with the political and financial backing of the United States. This relationship lasted for 20 years.
Until the oil embargo of 1973 when OAPEC (Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries consisting of the Arab members of OPEC, plus Egypt, Syria and Tunisia) proclaimed an oil embargo "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war; it lasted until March 1974.
Oil quadrupled from $3.00 a barrel to $12.00 a barrel. The price of a gallon of gas in the U.S. went from .38 cents a gallon to .55 cents a gallon! Panic ensued! Lines formed! Tempers flared!
The Nixon and Ford administration advisors Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft and Donald Rumsfeld implored their homeboy the Shah to break ranks with OPEC and lower the cost of oil.
The Shah said, "Um, no. Fuck you. High oil prices are good for Iran and good for me. So long, and thanks for the coup!"
Fucker went ROGUE like a proto Sarah Palin! I do what I want!
The U.S. withdrew support for the Shah which paved the way for the 1979 Islamic Revolution which overthrew the Shah and replaced him with the fundamentalist Islamic Republic led by the formerly exiled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
The Iranian revolutionaries go apeshit, storm the American Embassy in Tehran (remember that location from 1953?) take 53 Americans hostage and hold them for 444 days! Queue Ted Koppel.
The hosages are held captive for the rest of the Carter administration.
The very day Reagan was inaugurated, the hostages were being released and boarding airplanes headed for home.
It was largely believed at the time that this Iranian change of heart was because they viewed Reagan as a really tall, bat-shit crazy, right-wing nut-job who might let loose the nuclear dogs of war because he was a stupid B-movie actor who lacked the intellect to distinguish reality from a Hollywood movie script.
Between Reagan and Iwantadinnerjacket, the relationship simmered at a low boil.
Then al Queda dropped the Twin Towers on 9/11 and the Bush administration tried to lump everyone they could into the Axis of Evil, we invaded Afghanistan, then Iraq. A massive influx of U.S. military forces invaded the Middle East. We've been there for 8 years now. Longer than any other war in American history. Ever!
So, back to the topic of Iran and U.S. relationships. Why on earth would Iran be so beligerant all the time and want to pursue nuclear weapons?
Sometimes, a picture truly does speak a thousand words.
We have Iran SURROUNDED with Marines, Air Force, Navy, National Guard, Mercenary Contractors, European allies, heavily armed unmanned aerial drones, robots, cruise missles and nukes.
So is it any wonder that Iran might feel threatened by us, "get their back up" and flip us off?
When you invade and surrround an enemy with hundreds of thousands human and robotic soldiers, and you have decades of subterfuge and nefarious shenanigans between you, don't be so surprised when that enemy becomes alarmed and responds in a hostile manner.
If you read this far, you get an A+ whether you agree with me or not. I'm one of "those" instructors.
You may ask yourself, how did I get here?
1 hour ago