United States-Iran relations grew uneasy after the Iranian Revolution in 1979, when the pro-American leader Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (Shah of Iran) was ousted and replaced by the anti-American Ayatollah Khomeini who had returned from exile.
In 1979, a group of Iranian revolutionaries held 63 U.S. diplomats hostage at a U.S. embassy in Tehran for almost two years, which led to a break in diplomatic relations between the two nations. When Clinton took office, he implemented and maintained a ban on U.S. oil contracts with Iran due to the belief Iran supported terrorism.
The CIA released a report in 2001 saying Iran had one of the most active nuclear weapon programs in the world and it was looking for missile-related technology from various countries. In a now-famous speech in 2002, former president Bush claimed Iran, Iraq and North Korea were the "axis of evil."
In subsequent years, Bush declares a search for "weapons of mass destruction" in Iran, and the country is accused of harboring a uranium enrichment program.
In his inauguration address, President Obama asks for a peaceful end to the conflict and a way to move forward. In March 2009, Obama spoke directly to the Iranian people, saying that the Iran has the right to be in peace with the rest of the world, but the right "comes with real responsibilities."
CNN Election Coverage Issue
CNN's election coverage features what the presidential and vice presidential candidates think about the nuclear enrichment program in Iran and how they would plan to handle it.
NY Times Election Coverage Issue
In the New York Times' feature on the issue, read excerpts from speeches and debates that give insight on how the presidential candidates see the situation in Iran.
Iranian bloggers respond to the candidates' thoughts on foreign policy after the first presidential debate