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U.S. Iran timeline fact sheet

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1953
In 1953, under orders from President Eisenhower, the CIA organized a military coup that overthrew Iran's democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh.  Britain, unhappy that Iran nationalized its oil industry, came up with the idea for the coup and pressed the United States to mount a joint operation to remove Mossadeqh (video).  

The History of BP/British Petroleum and Its Role in the 1953 Iran Coup (watch)

For years, the U.S. denied its involvement in the 1953 coup, but in March 2000, then Secretary of State Madeline Albright admitted, “In 1953 the United States played a significant role in orchestrating the overthrow of Iran's popular Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadeqh. The Eisenhower Administration believed its actions were justified for strategic reasons; but the coup was clearly a setback for Iran's political development. And it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America in their internal affairs.”

Mossadeqh was Time Magazine's Person of the Year in 1951.  Following  the coup in 1953, Mossadegh was tried for treason and sentenced to three years in prison. Following his release he remained under house arrest until his death ten years later.
1953
to
1979
Following the coup, the U.S installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi , and the thriving democracy that existed in Iran was crushed.  The Shah led 25 years of tyrannical rule (supported by the CIA) that resulted in the killing of thousands of Iranians who opposed the U.S. puppet government.

On the economic front, the Shah denationalized Iran’s oil industry, 60% of which went to American firms.
Shah of Iran
1979 U.S.-backed Shah of Iran forced to leave the country after widespread demonstrations and strikes. Islamic religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini returns from exile and takes effective power. 

Sixty-six hostages taken by students at the U.S. embassy in Tehran.  The students justified taking the hostages as retaliation for the admission of the Shah into the U.S., and demanded the Shah be returned to Iran for a trial. The new Iranian regime believed the Shah was in the U.S. so that the U.S. could carry out another coup d'etat in Iran; the U.S. claimed he had come there only to seek medical attention. The Shah was given refuge and Iranians demanded his extradition to Iran to face justice.  The U.S. rejected Iran's request and the hostage taking ensued.
Two Iranian women peer through a gate of the US embassy compound in Tehran, 7 November 1979
The hostage crisis at the U.S. embassy in Tehran lasted 444 days
1980 Iraq invades neighboring Iran with the approval, if not the assistance of the United States.  The war lasts eight years and kills hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Iranians.

Secret U.S. military mission to rescue hostages in Iran ends in disaster in sandstorm in central Iranian desert. Exiled Shah dies of cancer in Egypt, but hostage crisis continues.


Iran suffered heavy casualties from Saddām's chemical weapons.
Iran suffered heavy casualties from Saddam's chemical weapons, many of which were provided by the U.S.
1981 Last 52 U.S. hostages freed in January after intense diplomatic activity. Their release comes a few hours after U.S. President Jimmy Carter leaves office. They had been held for 444 days.
1982
to
1983
As Iranian forces gained the upper hand on the battlefield with Iraq, the U.S. launched another covert operation to arm and aid Saddam.  It began clandestinely to supply Saddam with satellite intelligence on Iran's deployments.

Weapons were also sent via CIA fronts in Chile and Saudi Arabia directly to Baghdad. Between 1986 and 1989, some seventy-three transactions took place that included bacterial cultures to make weapons-grade anthrax, advanced computers, and equipment to repair jet engines and rockets.
Saddam & Rumsfeld handshake in 1983
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983.
1985
to
1986
Iran-Contra Affair: U.S. holds secret talks with Iran and makes weapons shipments, allegedly in exchange for Iranian assistance in releasing U.S. hostages in Lebanon. With revelations that profits were illegally channeled to Nicaraguan rebels, this creates the biggest crisis of Ronald Reagan's presidency.
1987 Following the mining of a U.S. Navy frigate, U.S. forces engage in series of encounters with Iranian naval forces, including strikes on Gulf oil platforms. The engagement was code named "Operation Praying Mantis".  The battle, the largest between surface forces since World War II, sank two Iranian warships and as many as six armed speedboats.

The Iranian Frigate, IS Alvand, attacked by U.S. Navy forces
1988 On patrol in the Persian Gulf, the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian passenger jet that it had mistaken for a hostile Iranian fighter aircraft. U.S. Navy Captain Will C. Rogers III ordered a single missile fired from his warship, which hit its target and killed all 290 people aboard the commercial Airbus.
1995 President Clinton imposes oil and trade sanctions on Iran for alleged sponsorship of "terrorism", seeking to acquire nuclear arms and hostility to the Middle East peace process. Iran denies the charges.
2002
to
2003
U.S. President George W Bush, in his State of the Union address, describes Iran as part of an "axis of evil".  The U.S. accuses Iran of seeking to develop a secret nuclear weapons program and refuses to rule out the "military option" in dealing with Iran.

George W Bush
Bush branded Iran as part of an "axis of evil"
2005
to
2006
The United States is openly attempting to "promote democracy" in Iran by budgeting $3 million for various Iranian groups.  Iran's ambassador to the United Nations called the plan "a clear violation" of a 1981 U.S-Iranian agreement in which the U.S. pledged "not to intervene directly or indirectly, politically or militarily in Iran's internal affairs."

CIA Analysis Finds Iran Not Developing Nuclear Weapons (read) yet the Bush administration continues to claim Iran is threatening the world with it's supposed nuclear pursuit.
View of Iranian nuclear facility.
Iran's account of its nuclear program failed to satisfy the U.S.
2007 In January, U.S. troops were authorized to kill Iranian "operatives" in Iraq (read), and Israel was reportedly preparing to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities (read).

"American forces could be using their two USAF bases in Bulgaria and one at Romania's Black Sea coast to launch an attack on Iran in April," the Bulgarian news agency Novinite said (read).

Justifications for attacking Iran on shaky ground - A new U.S. intelligence estimate concluded that Iranian and other outside meddling is "not likely" a major cause of the bloodshed in Iraq (read).

US funds terror groups to sow chaos in Iran (read).

Bush sanctions 'black ops' against Iran (read).
Other
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