Iran: Love Me, Love Me Not?

Tehran Has Shunned Washington for Over 30 Years. Is the Ice Melting?


In 1979, George Lewis was an NBC correspondent in Iran covering the hostage crisis. Thirty-four years later and thousands of miles away, at a Zócalo event co-presented by Occidental College at MOCA Grand Avenue, Lewis asked a panel if the breakdown in U.S.-Iran relations he witnessed firsthand might finally be on the road to repair.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, have spoken by phone. It appears that Rouhani, a moderate, wants to negotiate and change the two countries’ relationship. Lewis asked the panelists if he has the power and support to do this: Who is really ruling Iran, and do they want a rapprochement?

Occidental College political scientist Hussein Banai, co-author of Becoming Enemies: U.S.-Iran Relations and the Iran-Iraq War, 1979-1988, said that there’s no straightforward answer to this question. Iran’s long-term enmity toward the United …



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