The Carter Administration
- When President Jimmy Carter took office in January 1977, he inherited a unique relationship with the shah of Iran, who had been returned to his throne by a U.S.-British covert action and who had accepted the role of protecting U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf. The shah had some of the most sophisticated arms in the U.S. inventory.
- When the monarchy was overthrown, the United States and other countries in the world got their first real introduction to radical political Islam, not only during the revolution against the shah but also in the 444-day captivity of American diplomats in Tehran. That experience shaped the U.S. relationship with Iran for decades thereafter.
- The Algiers Accords ending the hostage crisis returned only a fraction of Iran’s frozen assets. It created a claims tribunal that settled hundreds of U.S. claims against Tehran. Those costs, plus Iran’s alienation from much of the world, suggests the hostage model is not likely to be repeated.
- The Carter administration’s effort to build an independent military capability in the Gulf established the initial framework that was completed by its successors.
- The Iranian revolution and the hostage crisis dramatized to U.S. policy-makers the gap between U.S. regional interests and its ability to project force.
- The shah had been anointed as the substitute for a robust U.S. military presence at a time when U.S. forces were tied down in Southeast Asia and the American public was opposed to any new overseas commitments. When the shah fell, the United States was left strategically naked, without a safety net.
- The Carter administration began to rebuild a regional capability in the form of the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force and to undertake urgent negotiations with regional states for operating facilities.
- At the end of Carter’s four-year term, however, those plans were more intention than reality. They would be completed by his successors.
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The Islamists Are Coming
The Islamists Are Coming, edited by Robin Wright, surveys the rise of Islamist groups in the wake of the Arab Spring. Often lumped together, the more than 50 Islamist parties with millions of followers now constitute a whole new spectrum—separate from either militants or secular parties. They will shape the new order in the world’s most volatile region more than any other political bloc. Yet they have diverse goals and different constituencies. Sometimes they are even rivals.
"The Iran Primer"--Book Overview
“The Iran Primer” brings together 50 top experts—Western and Iranian—in comprehensive but concise overviews of Iran’s politics, economy, military, foreign policy, and nuclear program. Each link connects to a complete chapter on one of 62 subjects in 10 categories. Printable PDF attachments also are at the bottom. Timely analysis is added weekly. The book also chronicles U.S.-Iran relations under six U.S. presidents. It probes five policy options. And it offers timelines, bios of top leaders, and data on nuclear sites and specific sanctions resolutions. And it provides context and analysis for what lies ahead. Click here to order the book.