Iran and America’s Complicated Recent History

On June 13, explosions—probably from Limpet Mines—hit two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The United States has blamed Iran. On June 20, Iran shot down one of the United States’ Navy RQ-4 Global Hawk drones, basically a fancy unmanned spy plane.


In the aftermath, US President Donald Trump considered a retaliatory action, then pulled back. I’m recording this at 5pm on Friday, June 21. It’s possible between then and the time you hear this, the situation will have changed again.


Iran is complicated. In the American imagination, it’s become a stand in for a power in direct opposition to the United States. It’s famously part of George W Bush’s Axis of evil and, it often feels, Washington’s Hawks have long wanted an excuse to go to war there.


So. Today. Three shows from War College’s past that, strung together, represent a closer and more nuanced look at Iran. All with remastered audio.


The first is a look at the strength of the Iranian military during the end of the Obama presidency, and before the signing of the Nuclear Deal. The second is an interview with New York Times journalist Ben Hubbard about Iran’s use of Hezbollah. The third is deep dive into Iranian domestic politics and its role in Syria circa 2018.


I present all of it in an attempt to paint a picture of how we got where we are today. America’s relationship with Iran is deeper, bigger, and more complicated than one President in one moment.


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