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American Iranian Council Blog

  • 2012-10-18 15:21

     by Hooshang Amirahmadi

    "The Political Economy of Iran under the Qajars," is the latest book by Professor Hooshang Amirahmadi.

  • 2012-09-10 16:24


    The Use of WMD's during the Iran-Iraq War – 1980-1988

    By: Evan Usher


    The Point: The Iran-Iraq War was fought for eight years and had devastating effects on both countries. Throughout the war Iraq used chemical weapons on the Iranian military as well as on Iranian civilian populations.  There are several instances during the war that Iraq used harmful chemical weapons, which had been banned from use since the Geneva Protocol of 1925. Initially, Iraq denied using any chemical weapons, but as the war raged, chemical experts were sent into Iran to examine the possible use of chemical weapons. Irrefutable evidence was discovered that mustard gas and nerve gas were pervasively used along the border region in Iran.



    US-Iran relations
  • 2012-09-10 15:37


    The “War of Cities” during the Iran-Iraq War

    By: Evan Usher


                    The Point:  The Iran-Iraq war had been fought for several years and the casualties for both countries were mounting. The war had cost both countries billions of dollars and several hundred thousand dead. By 1985, the war had degenerated into a war of attrition as both sides did not have enough equipment to mount effective offensives. Both Iran and Iraq had massive infantry armies that ground to a halt and ensued in a stalemate as military leaders scrambled to find new methods of inflicting damage on the opponent. One of these methods, developed by Iraq, resulted in bombing Iranian cities. The idea was to attack the civilian population in hopes of draining their morale and in effect losing the will to carry on the fight. This was a barbaric and deplorable tactic used by Iraq.


    US-Iran relations
  • 2012-08-31 15:04



    Algiers Accords: 1979-1981

    By: Evan Usher


    The Point:  The Algiers Accords was an agreement between the United States and Iran in 1981 that dealt with the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. At the core of the agreement was the contentious issue of American embassy personnel that were being held hostage by the Iranians. The Algiers Accords largely benefited the United States and did little to appease both parties. Indeed, as the years passed by it became more and more evident that the Algiers Accords were exclusively beneficial to the United States, especially after the US neglected to uphold its parts of the agreement. The Algiers Accords was drafted by the United States, Iran, and Algeria was the intermediary between the two conflicting actors. In print the accord essentially ended all formal diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran. This was an unfortunate result which set the confrontational precedent between the two countries for the next several decades.  


    US-Iran relations
  • 2011-09-19 05:57

    A U.S. newspaper says the United States is considering trying to establish a direct military hotline with Iran in order to defuse potential confrontations between the two countries' military forces.

    The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that one proposal would create a link between the Iranian Navy and the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, which is based in the Gulf island nation of Bahrain.


    The newspaper said U.S. officials are particularly concerned about a fleet of speedboats likely controlled by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard, which they say has been involved in several near-altercations.


    The report says it is unclear if the hotline idea has been raised with Iran, and said the White House, Pentagon and an Iranian diplomat all declined to comment on the matter. The United States has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since 1980.


    The Journal quoted Pentagon press secretary George Little saying the U.S. remains concerned about “Iran's destabilizing activities and ambitions.”

    Iran-US relations
  • 2011-07-26 18:55
    Iran and Indian relations are defined by the export and import of crude oil. But with the U.S. sanctions as they stand today along with the world financial instability the Indian government finds itself in debt with Iran. India currently owes the Islamic Republic 5 billion dollars, and the debt is mounting.
    The difficulty lies in the U.S. sanctions, which prohibit transactions with the use of the dollar with Iran. Thus banks are afraid of handling such transactions out of fear and the country finds itself out of options.
    Indian refineries, which import crude oil from Iran, are now stuck between a rock and a hard place as they nervously await the month of august, a month where it is still unclear whether they will be importing fuel from Iran.
    With the third week of July over, Iran has yet to signal a continuance of trade with India. Such a signal indicates that India needs to find a solution to the payment problem, or else face the consequences.
    India imports 400,000 barrels of crude from Iran a day and with such a supply cut off, the country could face disastrous results.
    There are four reasons why the crisis is especially difficult for India to find a solution.
    First is that India exports very little to Iran meanwhile importing a lot. This means that the country cannot hope to barter with Iran and hope to recoup the debt and the cost of importing crude oil with a form of goods exchange.  
    Ahmadinejad, diplomacy
  • 2011-07-26 18:45
    Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in the southern Kerman Province on Thursday, in an official ceremony to celebrate the registration of Shahzadeh Mahan Garden on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

    In what was the 35th session of the World Heritage Committee UNESCO decided to register the Iranian garden on its list.

    The Shahzadeh Mahan Garden, which is located at 35 km southeast of Kerman city, was constructed during the Qajar dynasty, at the time of the 11-year old sovereignty of Abdolhamid Mirza Naseroldoleh.

    However, Shahzadeh Mahan Garden is not the first or the only Iranian garden that has been registered on UNESCO’s list; rather it is the ninth.

    Former gardens that have been featured on the World Heritage List include: Pasargad (Isfahan), Eram (Shiraz), Dowlatabad (Yazd), Pahlevanpur (Mehriz), Chehelsotoun (Isfahan), Fin (Kashan), Abbasabad (Behshahr) and Akbarieh (Birjan).

    Each garden has a distinctive flavor and provides visitors with a unique atmosphere, a rich ambience and genuine experience; one that exemplifies the growth and diversity of Persian garden designs; as each evolved through time, adapting to climate conditions and historical events.

    The gardens originate from different points of history, each spanning generations and carrying through its foundations the story of its times. The different origins also point to the various constructs employed; the gardens consist of buildings, pavilions and walls, as well as sophisticated irrigation systems. They have even influenced the art of garden design from as far reaches as India to Spain.
  • 2011-07-22 20:27

    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, I wonder what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had first discussed them on talk radio. Having found myself at the center of a bizarre series of stories claiming that Israel is planning to attack Iran in September as a result of some speculative answers to a talk-show host's questions, I think I now know.


    Last week, my friend Ian Masters, who hosts the Los Angeles talk-show "Background Briefing", called me up to talk about the Arab spring, and especially what would happen if Israel were to attack Iran. He was struck by the comments of recently retired Mossad chief Meir Dagan, saying that an increasingly paranoid and isolated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was considering launching a reckless attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, and doing that soon. Would an Israeli strike put a spike in the Arab spring? That was unknowable, I said, but the resulting crisis would certainly give repressive regimes the excuse to crack down a lot harder on the street.


    On air, we got into it with Syria, but then quickly moved to Dagan's comments. I noted there have been other recently retired senior Israeli security officials who'd said much the same thing, including the well-respected chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi. So far so good, but, as these things go on radio, fact quickly turned to speculation. I offered that Israelis of this stature don't wash dirty laundry in public unless there's a serious problem, and therefore that I doubted that these comments were all part of some grand, calculated bluff to intimidate the Iranians to give up their nuclear program under threat of being bombed.


    Warming to the subject, I chattered on about how I'd heard there was a "warning order" at the Pentagon to prepare for a conflict with Iran. I was about to add that that this was not unusual; there are warning orders all the time, and it could have nothing to do with Israeli or anything it was or wasn't planning for Iran. (Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, after all, is accusing Iran of being behind the sharp uptick in deadly attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq.) But time was short, and the host needed to finish up for the next guest.


    This was a wide-ranging speculative conversation on a local radio station, two like minds kibitzing, as media pundits so often do, with no inside information to back our interpretations of the significance of the flood of former senior Israeli security officials warning that Netanyahu is crazy and likely to do something rash. "If I was forced to bet," I ventured, "I'd say we're going to have some sort of conflict in the next couple of months, unless this is all just a masterful bluff — which I can't believe the Iranians would succumb to — I think the chances of it being a bluff are remote." Not exactly claiming to know any more than any other tea-leaf reader.


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