September 19, 2014 15:48 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

  • Indonesian president-elect Joko Widodo speaks to the media at a press briefing in the garden of his home in Jakarta August 21, 2014.

    Audio Bill Could Harm Indonesia's Democratic Gains

    Many Indonesians are talking about a bill under consideration in parliament. If approved, the measure would end direct elections for local mayors and governors in the country More

  • Wea Lee

    Video Chinese Publisher Benefits Houston's Asian Population

    Wea Lee started Southern News Group in Houston 35 years ago. Lee's first business was printing a newspaper for the small Chinese community. He now owns newspapers, a television station, the International Trade Center in Houston’s Chinatown and is a part owner of a local bank. More

  • Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, east of Kigali. The village is home to the largest solar power plant in East Africa. Credit: ASYV

    Audio Rwanda Opens Biggest Solar Power Plant in East Africa

    The plant is in Agahozo Shalom village in eastern Rwanda. The plant is the first of its kind in the area. More

  • Syria

    Audio US Congress Approves Plan to Train Syrian Rebels

    Also, Islamic State fighters with tanks have captured 16 Kurdish villages in Northern Iraq near the Turkish border. U.S. provides new security assistance to Ukraine. And George Clooney will be honored with a Cecil B. DeMille Award in the Golden Globes. | In the News More

  • Botanist Steve Perlman collects seeds from of the few remaining Platanthera holochila, a native orchid species which is on the Plant Extinction Prevention program’s target list. (Photo by ©Hank Oppenheimer)

    Audio Botanist Works to Save Hawaii's Rare Plants

    Hawaii is home to many native plants. They include 1,200 species, 90 percent of which are not found anywhere else in the world. But Hawaii also has become the endangered species capital of the United States. Nearly 40 percent of the plants on that endangered list grow in Hawaii. More

Featured Stories

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs