The Reagan Administration
- U.S. relations with Iran during the Reagan administration went through four stages—indifference, hostility, cooperation and finally confrontation that even included some limited combat.
- U.S. policy was shaped largely by three events: The 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and the abduction of American hostages in Beirut.
- A scandal in the mid-1980s—involving secret arms sales to Iran in exchange for release of American hostages held by Iran's allies in Lebanon—nearly destroyed the Reagan presidency.
- By 1988, U.S. support for Iraq and its military operations against Iran contributed to the end of the Iran-Iraq War and a de facto defeat for the Islamic Republic.
- U.S. aid to Iraq in the name of defeating Iran backfired somewhat. Tehran was weakened, but Iraq emerged stronger and more belligerent than anticipated. Two years after its war with Iran ended, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait – precipitating a major war with a U.S.-led coalition.
- Reagan left office with several Americans still in captivity in Beirut. Iran still had hundreds of Revolutionary Guards deployed in Lebanon. And Israeli forces in Lebanon were under growing pressure from Hezbollah.
- Reagan’s legacy was shaped most by the dramatic change in relations with the Soviet Union, including a friendship between Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. This rapprochement led to the break-up of the Warsaw Pact in 1989, and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. But the Cold War's end also had some benefits for Iran. It removed one longstanding threat, dating back to Soviet occupation of Iran during and after World War II. And it opened up diplomatic and economic access to a new bloc of Muslim countries that had been Soviet republics.
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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.