Forty years ago, a group of Iranian militants seized 98 people at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in what became known as the Iran hostage crisis. All remaining hostages were released from captivity 444 days later. But the damage was done. In the intervening decades, Americans have held an overwhelmingly unfavorable view of Iran. According to 2019 Gallup polling, 82 percent of Americans view Iran unfavorably.
The current administration has pursued a policy of “maximum pressure” against Iran which includes harsh economic sanctions and pulling out of the Iran Nuclear Treaty that was negotiated during the Obama Administration and included five other major powers. For its part, Iran has not shied away from provocative and deadly behavior towards the United States and its Middle Eastern allies.
On January 3, 2020, Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds military force and one of the most powerful figures in the Islamic Republic, was killed in an American airstrike in Baghdad. Did the United States avert escalating hostilities with this airstrike, or throw gasoline on the fire?
In this incredibly timely program, Milani will provide a look into the turbulent internal dynamics of Iranian society, particularly as it relates to its troubled economy, rising unemployment and inflation, diminished options on oil, questions of succession and an increasingly assertive women’s movement. Will Iran be more democratic in the future? And how will recent events impact the United States’ policy and relationship with Iran?