Wednesday, September 20, 2023

the last book I ever read (Jimmy Carter: The American Presidents Series: The 39th President, 1977-1981, excerpt three)

from Jimmy Carter: The American Presidents Series: The 39th President, 1977-1981 by Julian E. Zelizer:

During the summer and fall, trouble was also brewing in Iran. The tense history of U.S.-Iranian relations dated back to 1953. The CIA had played a pivotal role in a coup against the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh, which had developed ties to the Soviet Union. The United States sought to install a regime that would be sympathetic to Western interested and helped put into place the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The shah’s strong ties to the United States were solidified in the early 1970s, when Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford relied on allies such as Iran to create a balance of power in the Persian Gulf region and Iranian oil was a much desired commodity. The shah, in turn, had come to depend on U.S. weapons like the F-16 and F-18 fighter planes. Many Iranians, however, despised the shah’s efforts to modernize the country in the 1960s, as well as his willingness to silence critics through the secret police (SAVAK) that harassed, abused, and injured citizens.

The Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, an Islamic cleric, emerged as the leader of the anti-shah forces. During the 1970s, when the ayatollah was in exile in Iraq, his supporters had smuggled cassette tapes of his speeches into Iran to spread his message. By September, middle-class Iranians, university students, and Islamic revolutionaries were in full revolt. U.S. commentators had missed the fact that millions of Iranians had become followers of the Islamic religion—and of the ayatollah. While some American policy makers saw the revolution as part of an explosion of Muslim influence in the region, most members of the Carter administration evaluated the crisis through the lens of the Cold War. Some believed that Khomeini had been directly supported by the Soviet Union; others feared that any instability opened opportunities for the Soviets to influence governments in the region.

No comments:

Post a Comment