Friday Morning Lecture series

U.S. and Iranian Relations
presented by Rustin Zarkar
Friday, March 29, 2013 at 10 a.m.

Suspicion and a troubled history have blighted U.S.-Iranian relations for three decades. How can the United States and Iran move forward? Is the existence of Iran’s nuclear program an insurmountable obstacle?
On New Year’s Day 1978, Jimmy Carter delivered a toast describing Iran as “an island of stability” and praised its ruler, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, as a leader who had won “the respect and the admiration and love” of his people. Less than a year later, popular demonstrations made up of hundreds of thousands of Iranians forced the Shah in to exile and eventually led to the establishment of an Islamic Republic. Over the last thirty years, major events like the 1979-81 Hostage Crisis, the Iran-Iraq War, and an expanding U.S. military presence have exacerbated tensions between the U.S. and Iran. More recently, Iran's controversial nuclear program and U.S.-imposed sanctions have heightened the rhetoric of war. This presentation will look at recent unsuccessful attempts at improving bilateral relations, in addition to identifying roadblocks to achieving a diplomatic resolution fair for both the U.S. and Iran.

Rustin Zarkar is currently a Masters Student at Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies. His research focuses on representations of culture and ideology, particularly from 20th century Iranian political movements. Rustin is the co-editor of the Ajam Media Collective, an online platform dedicated to analyzing cultural, social, and political trends in Iranian, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Diaspora communities.

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