1979• Islamic Revolution in Iran• Saddam Hussein rises to power in Iraq• The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan• Ayatollah Khomeini urges increased attacks onAmerican and Israeli interests – 53 Americanhostages are later taken by Iraniandemonstrators
Everything changes• By a 98% vote, the citizens of Iran elect anIslamic Republican government• American control in Iran immediately ends• Khomeini wants to spread the Revolutionthroughout the Middle East – throw out theWest• American hostages are taken in reaction toAmerican control of Iran through the Shah
“The Conquest of the American SpyDen”• Refers to the Iranian invasion of the USembassy in Tehran in 1979• 53 hostages were held for 444 days• Carter authorizes the first Delta Force missionto free the hostages• Operation Eagle Claw is a complete disaster –8 Americans killed and 2 helicopters destroyed
Crisis in Iran continued• Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi dies July 1980• Iraq invades Iran in September• Iran is motivated to negotiate an end to thecrisis• All remaining hostages are released minutesafter Reagan’s inauguration.• US-Iranian relations have been hostile eversince (precedent of US economic sanctions)
Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988• Iran – Sunni Majority• Iraq – Shia majority (governed by the Sunniminority under Saddam Huessein)• Saddam feared the Iranian Revolution wouldspread and threaten his leadership• Iran had supported Kurdish rebels in NorthIraq since the 1960s
Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988• Iraq halted by 1982• 6 years of WWI-type fighting• More than 500,000 killed• No border changes or gains by either side• Iraq uses chemical and biological weaponsagainst Iran• Who would the US and Soviet Union supportduring this war?
Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988• US backs Iraq (forced) USSR back Iran• US provides weapons (conventional, chemicaland biological) to Iraq• Many of those weapons are used againstIranian soldiers, Kurds and American soldiersin the 1991 Persian Gulf War
Iran Contra Scandal• Story comes to light in 1986• While publicly supporting Iraq, US officials inReagan’s administration secretly sell weaponsto the Iranian military (violated embargo law)• Funds were to be used to support Americanbacked rebel fighters in Nicaragua (violation ofCongressional law)
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