Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

TEACHER CENTER


iran

Student Handout 1

What Happened and Why?

In order to understand the current hostile relationship between the United States and Iran, we need to look back into the past and determine the context for today's tension. Were these two countries always enemies? What went wrong? Access http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/tehran/etc/cron.html or look at your handouts of this chronology. Discuss the following questions with your group and record your group's consensus:

  1. Examine the years 1906-1941 on your timeline. Describe Iran's government during these first few decades of the 20th century. (Note: the title "shah" was used for the monarch of Iran.)




    Characterize the relationship between Iran and the West during this time period and explain each side's views and motivation.




  2. Examine the years 1951-1953 on your timeline. What does it mean to "nationalize" an industry? How did Western powers react to Prime Minister Mossadeq's efforts to nationalize Iran's oil?




    Characterize the relationship between Iran and the West during this time period and explain each side's views and motivation.




    Think within the Cold War context of the 1950s. Why would the United States have been particularly interested in Iran's stability?




    How do you think the Iranian people reacted to the installation of the Shah of Iran by the West?




  3. Examine the years between 1953 and 1983. Select "moments" that you and your group believe are important in order to explain Iran's resentment of the United States. On the chart below, explain how these "moments" contributed to Iranian hostility.




  4. Examine the years between 1953 and 1983. Select "moments" that you and your group believe are important in order to explain the United States' view of Iran. On the chart explain how these "moments" contributed to U.S. hostility.

    Iran's positionUnited States' position
    Year: ______
    Explanation:




    Year: ______
    Explanation:




    Year: ______
    Explanation:




    Year: ______
    Explanation:




    Year: ______
    Explanation:




    Year: ______
    Explanation:




    Year: ______
    Explanation:




    Year: ______
    Explanation:




  5. What other factors would you identify as having contributed to the bad relations between Iran and the United States in the last 25 years? Explain your reasoning.