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Ripped From the Headlines: History

A guide to understanding the wider context behind stories in the news.

History of the Iran Nuclear Program


How did Iran get started on the nuclear path?  It is not a recent phenomenon, in fact, it's roots go back to the 1960's when the US-backed Shah was in power.

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

 China • France • Germany • Europe • Iran • Russia • Great Britain • USA

On July 14, 2015, the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the European Union (EU), and Iran reached a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful.

History of US - Iran Relations


What is the relationship between the U.S. and Iran?  The United States' rocky history with Iran includes the orchestration of a military coup in 1953, the hostage crisis of 1979, and the Iran-Contra affair of the mid 1980s.  Since the Islamic Revolution, relations have been strained to say the least,  mostly characterized by distrust and animosity.

Iran and other Middle Eastern Countries

How does the Iran Nuclear Deal affect the surrounding countries?  Saudi Arabia and many Middle Eastern countries vigorously oppose Iran's nuclear program.  Iran's support of the oppressive Syrian regime and it status as a majority Shia (as opposed to Sunni) country further complicates the issue (though many countries in the Middle East have large Shia populations, Iran, Iraq, and Bahrain are the only ones with a Shia majority).