August 02, 2014 04:29 UTC

In the News

Troubled US-Iran Relations Pre-Date 1979 Revolution


Or download MP3 (Right-click or option-click and save link)

This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

When did the problems begin between the United States and Iran? Many Iranians say it was nineteen fifty-three. That year the United States supported the military overthrow of Mohammed Mossadeq. He was the nationalist prime minister of an elected government .

Later, the United States supported the rule of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. He fled the Islamic Revolution in nineteen seventy-nine.

That November, supporters of a new religious leader in Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, captured the United States embassy in Tehran. They held more than fifty American hostages for four hundred forty-four days.

The two countries ended diplomatic relations in nineteen eighty. And, when the Iran-Iraq war began that year, the United States supported Iraq.

In nineteen ninety-seven, Iranians elected a president who raised American hopes, Mohammad Khatami. The next year, American Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called for the two countries to "explore further ways to build mutual confidence and avoid misunderstandings." She said it could be a step toward normal relations.

But President Khatami said the United States would have to apologize for its part in the nineteen fifty-three overthrow. He said this in two thousand:

MOHAMMED KHATAMI: "Through their confession, if the Americans accept to do it, I think that this will be a very big step toward removing our misunderstandings, but unfortunately in action, they have not done this."

When President Obama took office in January of two thousand nine, he had a message for nations hostile to the United States.

BARACK OBAMA: "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit, and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history -- but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."

The main target of that message was Iran's current president. This is what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the Associated Press this week during his visit to New York:

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD (INTERPRETER): "The United States administrations must recognize that Iran is a big power, and accept it as such."

(SOUND)

Outside the United Nations, demonstrators protested his yearly appearance among world leaders speaking at the General Assembly.

President Obama said Iran had failed to respond to what he called the "extended hand" that he offered a year ago. He said new Security Council sanctions approved in June make clear that international law is not an empty promise.

BARACK OBAMA: "Now let me be clear once more. The United States and the international community seek a resolution to our differences with Iran, and the door remains open to diplomacy should Iran choose to walk through it. But the Iranian government must demonstrate a clear and credible commitment, and confirm to the world the peaceful intent of its nuclear program."

A few hours later, Mr. Ahmadinejad spoke. He said Iran remains ready for what he called "serious and free debate" with American officials on the nuclear issue.

He also suggested that the majority of the American people believe that their government planned the attacks of September eleventh, two thousand one.

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD (INTERPRETER): "That some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy, and its grips on the Middle East, in order to save the Zionist regime."

His comments led American diplomats and delegates from several European countries to walk out of the assembly hall. President Obama told the BBC that the accusation was inexcusable, offensive and hateful.

And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember.

___

Reported by Arash Arabasadi, Margaret Basheer, David Gollust and Jeffrey Young

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • A Palestinian woman reacts upon seeing her destroyed house in Beit Hanoun town, which witnesses said was heavily hit by Israeli shelling and airstrikes during an Israeli offensive in the northern Gaza Strip, August 1, 2014.

    Audio Is the World a Mess?

    A former top U.S. diplomat blamed the complexity of recent world events on what she called two “game changers.” They are the behavior of Russia’s president and political unrest in the Middle East. | In The News More

  • Travel-Trip-5 Free Things Seattle

    Audio Americans Test Seawater for Fukushima Radiation

    It has been more than three years since the nuclear accident at the Fukushima power station in Japan. Millions of liters of radioactive cooling water from the power center poured into the Pacific Ocean. Experts predicted some of that water would reach the West Coast of North America this year. More

  • Palestinians react following what witnesses said was heavy Israeli shelling, at a hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 1, 2014.  A Gaza ceasefire crumbled only hours after it began on Friday, with at least 40 Palestinians killed by Israeli

    Audio Gaza Cease-fire Collapses, Israeli Soldier Believed Captured

    The Israeli military says one of its soldiers has been captured by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. That is where a temporary cease-fire collapsed not long after it began on Friday. More

  • Audio American Ebola Victim to be Brought to US

    An American infected with the Ebola virus in West Africa is returning to the United States. The unnamed aid worker will receive treatment at a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Doctors have been able to keep some people alive if they get immediate treatment in a hospital. More

  • An African student (C) practices moves as other Shaolin martial arts students look on during the inauguration ceremony of a martial arts training program for African students, at the Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng, Henan province, China, Sept. 25, 2013.

    Audio More Africans Seek Education in China

    Tens of thousands of Africans are studying in China. The country provides students with financial assistance for education to develop skills that Africa needs most. And the system makes friends in Africa for the Chinese. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Artist Turns Plastic Bags Into Art

    Making art with found materials is not a new idea. An artist near Washington, D.C. just had her recycled art on exhibit at the Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center in Maryland. She uses a material found in every American home. Plastic bags. More

  • Many Southerners approved the decision. But northern abolitionists spoke strongly against it.

    Audio Dred Scott Ruling Opens the Whole Country to Slavery

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress had no power to ban slavery in the new territories. The 1857 decision involved a man named Dred Scott. More

  • Medical Marijuana Kids

    Audio Marijuana Helps Children with Epilepsy

    People who support legalization of marijuana say some kinds of the plant offer extraordinary help for human health. For example, one kind of medical marijuana is reported to ease effects of epilepsy, a disease of the nervous system. More

  • Polar Bears Arctic 2006

    Audio From Birds to Bears, Animals Face Danger Around the World

    Hundreds of newly-identified plants and animals in Southeast Asia are in danger. Poachers killed a famous elephants in Kenya. And scientists are working to save polar bears population in Alaska and the Bering Sea. More

  • Audio Ice Cream Sweetens Visits to Maryland Farms

    Maryland’s so-called 'Ice Cream Trail' is 460 kilometers long. The state's agriculture secretary says itl brings valuable attention to the state’s dairy farms | American Mosaic More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs