About the Film:

As Iraq descends into chaos and civil war, FRONTLINE examines the rise of its neighbor -- Iran -- as one of America's greatest threats and most puzzling foreign policy challenges. Through interviews with key players on both sides, FRONTLINE traces the tumultuous history of U.S./Iranian relations since 9/11 -- from unprecedented early cooperation in Afghanistan, to the growing crisis over Iran's nuclear ambitions and Tehran's open threats to drive America out of the Middle East.

Watching the Film:

Teachers can either assign the film for viewing as homework or show the film in class. Suggested discussion questions are provided. The lessons and activities in this guide can be used in the classroom without having viewed the film.

A Note to Teachers:

This lesson guide is intended for classes in social studies, civics and government, language arts, current events, media studies and history; Grade Level 9-12. Teachers can use the guide in its entirety or select specific portions to use. Teachers should feel free to adapt this guide to their specific needs.

Post-Viewing Activity and Discussion Questions:

This guide includes a list of questions for students to discuss after viewing Showdown with Iran.

Featured Lesson Plan:

United States and Iran: Tracking the Tension and Preparing for the Future

Lesson Objectives:

Students will:

Additional Lesson Ideas:

Showdown In Iran: "What It Took To Get This Story"
Given the heightened tension and the lack of diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran, U.S. journalists have limited access in Iran. Students will discover the unique challenges of producing FRONTLINE's Showdown with Iran.

Geography of Shi'a Islam
The Islamic Republic of Iran is a Shi'ite Muslim government. Students will discover which countries have sizable Shi'a populations compared to their Sunni "neighborhood."

International Forum on Iran's Nuclear Program
In this PBS NewsHour lesson, students will evaluate international policy to address growing concern over Iran's potential nuclear program.

Additional Resources:

An annotated list of relevant Web sites.

Purchasing the Film:

Showdown with Iran can be purchased from Shop PBS for Teachers. Also, teachers and students can watch the film streamed in its entirety on FRONTLINE's Web site at: http://www.pbs.org/frontline/showdown/


This teacher's guide was developed by Simone Bloom Nathan of Media Education Consultants. It was written by Debra Plafker Gutt, Stuyvesant High School, New York. Advisers were Ellen Greenblatt of The Bay School, San Francisco, Michele Israel, curriculum writer and Greg Timmons, curriculum writer and educational consultant.