How the US and Iran developed a fraught relationship

An anti-Iranian protest in Washington, D.C., in 1979. Credit: Marion S. Trikosko/United States Library of Congress. 

One of Donald Trump’s first public comments on foreign policy -- and a key insight into his stance on Iran -- was in 1980. He was a 34-year-old rising star in the world of Manhattan real estate. As a private citizen, he spoke with Rona Barrett

Donald Trump: “That they hold our hostages is just absolutely and totally ridiculous. That this country sits back and allows a country such as Iran to hold our hostages, to my way of thinking, is a horror. And I don’t think they’d do it with other countries. I honestly don’t think they’d do it with other countries. 

Rona Barrett: Obviously you’re advocating that we should have gone in there with troops, etc., and brought our boys out like Vietnam.

Donald Trump: I absolutely feel that, yes. I don’t think there’s any question, and there is no question in my mind. I think right now we’d be an oil-rich nation. And I believe that we should have done it. And I’m very disappointed that we didn’t do it. And I don’t think anybody would have held us in abeyance.”

The U.S. and Iran have been enemies since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. 

But our relationship with Iran is much more complicated. It goes back far longer than the fateful day the Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile, or when Iranian students stormed the American embassy in Tehran.

Guest: Kelly Shannon, history professor at Florida Atlantic University, author of "U.S. Foreign Policy and Muslim Women's Human Rights” 

Credits

Guest:
Kelly Shannon - Florida Atlantic University; author of "U.S. Foreign Policy and Muslim Women's Human Rights”

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Alexandra Sif Tryggvadottir, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski