The History of the U.S. Conflict with Iran

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

David Crist, senior historian for the Department of Defense and author of The Twilight War: The Secret History of America's Thirty-Year Conflict With Iran, discusses the United States' relationship with Iran and the latest developments in the Middle East.

Comments [25]

Laila from New York

Nothing in history is irrelevant. Just because you engage in highly overheated hyperbole does not mean you have your facts correct. I suggest you read up some more and gather those facts.

Jul. 26 2012 03:14 PM

When people talk about the 1953 coup, it is obvious most people don't know what they are talking about except for disinformation that they have read. The 1953 coup itself had very minimal CIA role and in fact, the Mullahs were much more heavily involved in the coup than the CIA. They preferred the Shah than an uncertain Mossadeq. Bottom line: it is irrelevant to modern day affairs. I suggest for one to read this article by Ray Takeyh:

As for this regime, this regime poses grave threats to humanity. If the Shah was in power, most people would probably not be threatened by nuclear weapons controlled by Iran. But the fact is that the Iran of today is controlled by megalomaniac, apocalyptic maniacs whom want to bring an end to humanity. This is a regime that hangs gays and stoned women to death. This is a regime hat rapes our young sisters before executing them through a "Sigheh" or "temporary marriage" so that they don't "die as virgins" as "virgins go straight to heaven" so to "deny" this to them too. It is time to support the Iranian people in getting rid of this regime. This regime not only wants to wipe out other member states, but underlying their core objectives in everything is the "return of the hidden imam". This is a fanatic, medieval, apocalyptic regime at its core. At the end of the day, the only solution is to get rid of this regime. The fact and the reality is that the only country in the entire region that once liberated will truly become democratic and secular is a free Iran. Our culture is pre-Islamic and we have lived under the evils of this regime for the last 30+ years. As Iranians inside of Iran say, Bush's biggest mistake was liberating the wrong country. The world is a better place without Saddam, but with Iran, you would NOT have experienced the kinds of problems experienced in Iraq. Bottom line: these hooligans and apocalyptic maniacs are the enemies of human civilization and MUST be defeated.

Jul. 25 2012 03:30 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Laila, The words and actions of the militaristic, theocratic Islamic Republic of Iran prove you wrong.

Jul. 25 2012 01:15 PM
Ed from Larchmont

Word has it that the government is going to do something in August, at least that's what I heard a few months ago.

Jul. 25 2012 12:42 PM
Laila from New York

The omission in Mr. Crist's book of the overthrow by the US of Mr. Mossadeq in 1953, who was democratically elected in Iran, was a most important event. Without this information, the whole picture becomes skewed. I don't buy Mr. Crist's explanation of why he left it out. Mr. Lehrer rightly pointed out Mr. Mossadeq's overthrow, but he referred to the Mossadeq "regime". So both these gentlemen seem to obfuscate the issue. Under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has every right to enrich uranium and is legally adhering to the Treaty. The conflict was solely created by the US at the behest of its aggressive client state. What would we do here in the US if a foreign power brought its warship into the NY Harbor to threaten us? We are playing a reckless and dangerous game. Let's hope cooler heads prevail despite all the hyping. It would not be a good thing for America.

Jul. 25 2012 12:16 PM

Jawbone said “US seems to have been at war with some country in some way almost continually since WWII”
.jawB, Im sure you know our war-likeness didn’t start in 1941. But if some of u forgot…
We are a nation built from war. Not just what we took from the natives. 200 years of invading haiti, the 1848 invasion of mexico, the 1898 war with spain, coups in hawaii and central american for the sugar and fruit corporations etc
It’s in our dna
Since the saxons took britian

Jul. 25 2012 12:10 PM
gary from queens


Iran has funded and built missile that land in israel everyday. they fund shia terrorism in other countries, even in the US. They killed americans.

But you think they dont warrant retaliation because "Iran has not attacked another nation militarily, by invasion or bombing runs or missiles, in at least 200 hundred years ????!!!!

Jul. 25 2012 12:03 PM

Since Iran has not attacked another nation militarily, by invasion or bombing runs or missiles, in at least 200 hundred years --I read 300 years in an article a couple days ago, but who's counting? Heh--, in two to three centuries, and the US seems to have been at war with some country in some way almost continually since WWII, why are we so worried about Iran?

Their national approach to issues with foreign powers seems to be one of negotiation, not WAR. Ours seems to be war with our own troops, by proxy, or by getting our allies to do the fighting with us supplying armaments, command and control, etc.

There are times I so deeply despair for my nation. Thinking itself an empire seems to be leading to a fall and much faster than I dreamed possible.

Romney says the the 21st C. must be the "American Century." Thus, the military must be made even larger, he proclaimed. How's that gonna happen, Mitt? So many wars, no little economic growth at home, such huge disparity of wealth distribution. Who's going to pay for our being the hegemon, the baddest dog in the junkyard?

And Romney wants even more tax cuts, especially for the wealthy. No self interest there, eh? Bush the Younger kinda maxed out our credit card for wars, so now they'll have to be paid for. Or not, since tax cuts for the wealthy are of uber importance. But something has to give.

Citizens, prepare for destruction of the social safety nets, no real investment in repairing and building infrastructure, little to no support for education our children and young people, nothing can be done about, oh, things like global warming. We're worse than a Banana Republic -- we're going to be a failed empire, ending up as a big, dangerous third world nation in terms of how the citizenry will be treated. But with enough weapons to destroy the world.

Jul. 25 2012 11:56 AM
John A

Was dboy banned for overposting or for impoliteness?

Jul. 25 2012 11:51 AM
gary from queens

HMMM, let's see Mr. Crist. The Iranians provoke reactions by running small boats close to western vessels all the time.

Yet you say the Iranians seriously offered Obama to set up a hot line to prevent a misinterpretation of their small boats that harrass and provoke?

Do you have a brain, sir?

Jul. 25 2012 11:42 AM
gary from queens

So let me get this straight Mr. Crist:

The iranian regime, who is committed to a world wide caliphate of sharia and destruction of all secular governments, offered an alliance with the US?

Hmm, maybe they were just afraid of US retaliation?? Maybe they were looking to defuse and delay, as they always do when on the downside?

And maybe the Bush Admin was savy to this and didnt take the bait?

And maybe you missed that tidbit?

Jul. 25 2012 11:35 AM
YoMike from nyc

could you ask the guest: is this the reason Obama kept mum on the 2009 elections that turned deadly, he was hoping that for co-operations between the govs?

Jul. 25 2012 11:33 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

"Iran Increases Uranium Enrichment Activities" (published today)
Iran is defiantly forging on with its nuclear activities by activating hundreds more uranium enrichment centrifuges, according to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "There are currently 11,000 centrifuges active in enrichment facilities" in Iran, he told supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday.
The IAEA report in May said there were 9,330 installed centrifuges in Natanz, of which 8,818 were being fed uranium hexafluoride gas to produce enriched uranium. The Fordo facility, near Qom, had 696 working centrifuges, the report said." (AFP-Telegraph-UK)

Jul. 25 2012 11:27 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I'm not an Iran hater. I think the Iranian people are among the finest, most cultured, most intelligent people on earth. I deeply regret that Islamofascists managed to gain control over them, but that was due to the iron-fisted regime of the Shah that gave the Iranian people little choice. It is true that during the Cold War, when all attention was on the struggle between ourselves and the Soviet Union, which was trying to deny the West control over natural resources, particularly oil, that we were talked into by the British to back a coup that overthrew a moderate socialist Mossadegh, whose main crime was that he wanted to possibly nationalize BP's oil properties there. Britain tried to sell the CIA that Mossadegh as a secret stooge of the Communists.

But it should also be noted, that right after WWII, Stalin had Red Army forces in northern Iran and it was Britain that forced Stalin to pull them out. Iran might well have been forced into the Soviet orbit, as was Poland, were it not for Britain's stern opposition.

Anyhow, the problem now is that we do have a clash of civilizations, and the Supreme Fuehrer of Iran, despite what he says, wants Iran to become a nuclear power, even if it is a subrosa one, and that would complicate life for everyone else in the Middle East and in the world eventually.

Jul. 25 2012 11:25 AM
John A

What hjs11211 said, 1953 or so. I got my first knowledge of this from the bizarre movie "Dream Wife"(1955), which referred to an Oil crisis as then current events.
--> the page gives a long historical background.

Jul. 25 2012 11:20 AM
gary from queens

And let's not forget the UN in Iranian appeasement. The UN has refused to describe the murder of 7 israeli tourists from the bombing in Bulgaria as "terrorism."

Why? Are the member nations afraid to lose Iranian oil, or do they just hate israel? perhaps both.

SEE "United Nations Fails to Call Deadly Attack on Israelis in Bulgaria 'Terror'"

Jul. 25 2012 11:07 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

I blame Jimmy Carter, Worst US President EVER.

And regretfully, I voted for Jimmy Carter.

Jul. 25 2012 10:52 AM
gary from queens

On July 19th, ONE DAY AFTER after five Israeli tourists were killed by an Iranian suicide attack in Bulgaria, White House officials held a day-long meeting with the National Iranian American Council, a group that advocates for policies supported by the Iranian regime, including opposition to sanctions and acceptance of Iran’s uranium enrichment program. Officials in attendance included Valerie Jarrett and Treasury Department Secretary for Financial Institutions Cyrus Amir-Mokri.

This is a slap in the face to the pro-Israel community, but more importantly, it legitimizes supporters of iranian jihadists and weakens the perception that Obama is serious about Iran's nuke intentions.

And all while the economy goes down the tubes, this admin has nothing better to do than meet with our enemies in the oval office?

SEE "Why is WH Meeting With Iran Apologists?"

Jul. 25 2012 10:21 AM

Didn’t the “Thirty-Year Conflict” start in 1953 or eariler??!

Jul. 25 2012 10:16 AM
gary from queens

And if you want to understand the cosequences of Obama's atheism on "American Exceptionalism", just look at this story the other day.

The day after the terror attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, a senior U.S. official told the New York Times that the US is not any morally better than the iranian regime!!!

And fish stink from the head down.

SEE "Ahmadinejad Brags, U.S. Rationalizes"

Jul. 25 2012 10:13 AM
gary from queens

Obama's "Engagement" with Iran has failed. Having also failed to place military force on the table in any credible way to deter Iran, Obama is left with speaking out of two sides of his mouth on Iran.

President Obama’s apologists continue to trumpet the notion that his reliance on diplomacy and sanctions is the best route to stopping Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons. Though the partial oil embargo is making the lives of ordinary Iranians a bit more difficult, the sanctions are so riddled with holes that they are not proving much of a deterrent to the Iranian oil industry’s plans for foreign ventures let alone being enough to force Tehran to give up its nuclear ambition. As the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month, the West’s “crippling sanctions” are not stopping an Iranian energy company from making a bid on a French oil refinery.

Given the fact that the Treasury Department has already issued thousands of exemptions to companies that wish to deal with Iran and that President Obama has assured China and India that the U.S. will not prevent their ongoing oil trading with Tehran, why shouldn’t the ayatollahs think that after the presidential election they may be dealing with a president who thinks he has the “flexibility” to make their problems disappear.

From "Exemptions Are the Rule on Iran Sanctions"

Jul. 25 2012 10:06 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

gary from queens,

And the little president of the Islamic Republic of Iran told the audience at Columbia University that there are no gays in Iran.

No gays in Iran says Ahmadinejad

The audience laughed in his face.

Jul. 25 2012 10:03 AM
gary from queens

Last week, Rick Richman in Commentary ("Smart Power and Iran’s 3D Strategy") reviewed the history of successes by Iran in obtaining nuclear weapons, while noting that Hilary's July 18 op-ed in New Statesman was premature, claiming that Obama's "art of smart power" listed among its “successes” the maintenance of “broad-based pressure on Iran and North Korea.” Because he notes that (a) sanctions have not stopped Iran’s march toward nuclear weapons, and (b) North Korea obtained (and retains) such weapons notwithstanding similar smart power pressure. Pressure that has not achieved its goal is not generally considered a success, much less the occasion for a self-congratulatory essay.

Rather, Richman writes, a better example of “success” might be the Iranian strategy described in Irwin Cotler’s report in the Jerusalem Post yesterday. Colter noted that Hamidreza Taraghi, an adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, recently described five Iranian successes:

First, Western countries did not want Iran to have a nuclear power plant, but its Bushehr reactor was now connected to the national grid.

Second, the West had opposed Iran having heavy water facilities, but the country now has one in Arak.

Third, the West had said no to any enrichment, “But here we are, enriching as much as we need for our nuclear energy program,” Taraghi said, referring to the thousands of cascades of centrifuges spinning for years in the half-underground facility in Natanz.

Fourth, since January, and on the eve of the resumed substantive negotiations in Istanbul in April, dozens more advanced centrifuges were installed in the Fordo mountain bunker complex, near Qum, built to withstand a heavy attack.

Fifth, Taraghi also said that in the Istanbul talks, Iran had managed to convince the West of the importance of a religious edict, or fatwa, against the possession of nuclear weapons.

In a word, Taraghi and other Iranian officials concluded that their policy “forced the United States to accept Iranian enrichment,” and in effect, the related nuclear program.

Cotler calls it the “Iranian 3D strategy” — denial, deception, delay — in which “not only are negotiations themselves a delaying tactic, but delaying the negotiations is itself a tactic,” combined with the continued avoidance of inspections and repeated refusals to comply with unambiguous treaty obligations.

While the American secretary of state writes paeans to her art, Iran gets closer every day to its ultimate goal, as it creates facts on (and underneath) the ground. Smart.

Jul. 25 2012 09:57 AM
gary from queens

Edward, it's only on liberal blogs like this one where you hear people falsely claim that Iran never attacked the US, US interests, or kill Americans.

But you also never read the ironies either. For example, gays and lesbians are executed in Iran. Yet my alma matter, City University of New York (CUNY), is about to host the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) two-day conference to bash Israel.

The irony? Israel is the sole nation in the middle east where gays are treated as equal citizens. And yet public funds from the City Of New York are being used to further anti-Israel political agendas in this despicable conference.

The Mayor of Tel Aviv recently said, “We are trying to create a model for openness, pluralism, tolerance – live and let live.”

In a lame response, and to justify anti Israel boycotts, the conference website states, "the Israeli government expanded their marketing plan by harnessing Homonationalism to reposition its global image."

With whom, the nations that surround her who hate gays?!

Martin Luther King once stated: “Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism”

Jul. 25 2012 09:44 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Anyone who claims that the Islamic Republic of Iran has never threatened the US or Israel, here are some Youtube clips to burst your bubble.

"Death to America" chants in Iran

Iran wants "Death to America"

Iranians delight in 'Death to America' day - 05 Nov 07

Ahmadinejad Challenges Obama into War, Death to America before Atom Bomb on Iran Tv[8]

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "Death to Israel"

Jul. 25 2012 08:44 AM

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