The US-Iran conflict: A timeline of what we got here
2020-01-13 16:03

Tension over British influence in Iran


Tension over British influence in Iran

Since the early 1900s, the British government has retained control over Iran's oil reserves through theAnglo-Iranian Oil Company. By the time Mohammad Mossadegh is appointed Prime Minister, Iranians are tired of foreign involvement in their affairs, and calls for Iranians to regain control of their natural resources are growing louder.


CIA overthrows Iran's democracy


The UShelps stage a coup to overthrow Iran's democratically elected prime minister, Mossadegh. He had moved to nationalize the country's oil fields -- a move the US and Great Britain saw as a serious blow, given their dependence on oil from the Middle East. After toppling Mossadegh, theUS supports Iran's monarch Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to rule as Shah of Iran. Iraniansresent the foreign interference, fueling anti-American sentiment in the country for decades to come.

乌谢尔普斯发动政变推翻伊朗民选总理摩萨德。他已着手将该国的油田国有化,鉴于美英两国对中东石油的依赖,此举被视为一个严重打击。推翻摩萨德政权后,美国支持伊朗国王雷扎巴列维(Mohammad Reza Pahlavi)作为伊朗国王统治伊朗。伊朗人重新引入了外国干涉,在未来几十年里助长了该国的反美情绪。

Nuclear cooperation


The US signs acivil nuclear cooperation agreement with Iran. The agreement provides Iran with technology and resources that eventually become the foundation for its controversial nuclear program, which it begins developing in the 1970s with support from the US.


The Iranian Revolution


Millions of Iranians take to the streetsin protest of the Shah's regime, which they view as corrupt and illegitimate. Secular protesters oppose his authoritarianism, while Islamist protesters oppose his modernization agenda. On January 16, the Shah flees the country. On February 1, Ayatollah Khomeini, an Islamic scholar who had been arrested and deported by the Shah in 1964, returns from exile and becomes the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic.

数百万伊朗人走上街头反对沙阿政权,他们认为这个政权是腐败和非法的。世俗者反对他的独裁主义,宗教者反对他的现代化议程。1月16日,沙阿逃离了这个国家。2月1日,在1964年,被沙阿下令抓捕和驱逐的学者Ayatollah Khomeini从流亡中返回,他成为了共和国的最高领袖。

Iran Hostage Crisis


Iran Hostage Crisis

Iranian students storm the US embassy in Tehran and take dozens of Americans hostage. They demand the Shah, who had been admitted into the US for cancer treatment, be extradited to Iran to stand trial for “crimes against the Iranian people.” After 444 days, Iran releases the hostages in exchange for state assets being unfrozen --  minutes after President Ronald Reagan is sworn into office. During the crisis, the US cuts all diplomatic ties with Iran. Formal diplomatic relations have never been restored. The Shah dies in July 1980 in Cairo.


Iran-Iraq War begins


Iran-Iraq War begins

The bad blood between the two countries is only made worse when the US backs Iraq in its invasion of neighboring Iran, prompting an eight year regional war. Qasem Soleimani, who has joined the elite Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps by this time, fights on the frontlines of this war.


US declares Iran a sponsor of terrorism


US declares Iran a sponsor of terrorism

Under Reagan's administration, the US declares the Islamic Republic a “state sponsor of terrorism.” Decades later, this designation by the US still stands.


Iran-Contra Affair


Iran-Contra Affair

While the US is backing Iraq in its war with Iran, President Reagan's administration covertly begins looking into ways to improve its relationship with Iran. The press reveals that despite an embargo on selling weapons to Iran, Reagan approved a high-profit sale in hopes that it will yield the return of Americans held hostage in Lebanon by Hezbollah, a militia with close ties to Iran.


US shoots down an Iranian plane


US shoots down an Iranian plane

AP Photo


While American and Iranian ships are exchanging fire in the Persian Gulf, the US mistakes a civilian airliner for a fighter jet and shoots downIran Air Flight 655. All 290 passengers and crew members on board are killed. Though the US says theattack is an accident, Iranians see it as intentional.


Soleimani appointed head of the Quds Force


Soleimani appointed head of the Quds Force

Qasem Soleimani, who has been rising through the ranks of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, is appointed chief commander of the Quds Force, an elite special forces unit that handles Iran's overseas operations. He is instrumental in spreading Iran's influence in the Middle East, and soon becomes one of the country's most powerful leaders.

卡塞姆·索莱马尼在伊朗革命卫队中崭露头角后,被任命为圣城部队(Quds Force)的总司令,这是一支精英特种部队,负责处理伊朗的海外行动。他在传播伊朗在中东的影响力方面发挥了重要作用,并很快成为该国最强大的领导人之一。

George Bush declares Iran part of an ‘Axis of Evil'


George Bush declares Iran part of an ‘Axis of Evil'

After the 9/11 attacks, Iranquietly helps the US in its war against the Taliban, a mutual enemy of both countries. But in aState of the Union address, President George Bush refers to Iran, along with Iraq and North Korea, as part of an “Axis of Evil.” The speech incites anger in Iran.


Iran nuclear threat


Iran nuclear threat

As the US voices concerns that Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency announce they've found traces of highly-enriched uranium at a nuclear plant in Iran. Tehran agrees to suspend production of enriched uranium and allow stricter inspections of its nuclear sites, but this is short-lived. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would come into power a few years later and restart Iran's production of enriched uranium, prompting years of international sanctions against the country.

在美国对伊朗试图发展核武器的行动表示担忧后,国际原子能机构(iaea)的核查人员宣布,他们在伊朗一座核电站发现了高浓缩铀的踪迹。德黑兰同意暂停浓缩铀生产,并允许该机构对其核设施进行更严格的检查,但这是短暂的。伊朗总统艾哈迈迪内贾德(Mahmoud Ahmadinejad)在几年后上台,并重启了伊朗浓缩铀生产,这引发了国际社会多年来对伊朗实施制裁。

Iran nuclear deal is signed


Iran nuclear deal is signed

After years of negotiations with President Barack Obama's administration, six nations and Tehranreach a landmark agreement that slows Iran's nuclear development program in exchange for lifting some sanctions that caused the country's economy to stagnate. It's a huge breakthrough for the US and Iran, which have long been at odds.


Trump takes office


Trump takes office

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Spencer Platt/Getty供图

A week after his inauguration, President Donald Trumpsigns an executive order banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority nations, including Iran, from entering the US for 90 days. Iran calls the ban “an obvious insult to the Islamic world” and responds by conducting a ballistic missile test. The back-and-forth marks a sudden escalation in tensions between the two countries, raising concerns about the future of the Iran nuclear deal.


May: Trump quits the Iran nuclear deal


May: Trump quits the Iran nuclear deal



Trump fulfills a campaign promise and announces he iswithdrawing the US from the Iran nuclear deal, which he viewed as “one-sided.” He also says he will place new sanctions on the regime. Critics warn the move could lead Iran to restart its atomic program andset the stage for more conflict in the Middle East.


April: US labels IRGC a terrorist organization


April: US labels IRGC a terrorist organization

Underwood Archives/Getty Images

Underwood Archives/Getty 供图

President Trump announces that the US will formally designate the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, Tehran's most powerful military institution, as aforeign terrorist organization. The move is unprecedented, marking the first time that the US designated a part of another government as a terror group. Iran responds by declaring the US a “state sponsor of terrorism.”


June: Iran blamed for attacks in the Gulf


June: Iran blamed for attacks in the Gulf

AFP via Getty Images

Getty 供图

Tensions further escalate afterattacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, as well as the downing of a US drone, which Washington and its allies blame on Iran. American officials repeatedly stress that threats to the freedom of navigation in the Gulf and the oil trade are unacceptable, but the Trump administration takes no action.


June: Iran reduces commitments to nuclear deal


June: Iran reduces commitments to nuclear deal

Iranian Presidency/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Iranian Presidency/Anadolu Agency/Getty 供图

After the US imposes several rounds of sanctions on Iran that were originally lifted under the Iran nuclear deal, Iran announces it willramp up enrichment of low-grade uranium. This breaks the stockpile limit it agreed to in 2015, and brings the country one step closer to being able to build a nuclear bomb.


December: US strikes facilities in Iraq and Syria


December: US strikes facilities in Iraq and Syria

Universal History Archive/UIG/Getty Images

Universal History Archive/UIG/Getty 供图

US forcesconduct airstrikes on facilities in Iraq and Syria, which the Pentagon claims are linked to pro-Iranian militias responsible for attacking US service personnel in Iraq. At least 25 people are killed, an Iran-backed militia says. Days later, hundreds of pro-Iranian demonstratorsattempt to storm the US embassy in Baghdad, scaling the walls and forcing the gates open, in protest of the US airstrikes.


January: US kills Soleimani, and Iran responds


January: US kills Soleimani, and Iran responds

Sabah Arar/Getty Images


Trump says he ordered an airstrike in Iraq to kill Iran's top general, Qasem Soleimani -- a move that previous US presidents had considered far too provocative. Thousands of people flood the streets of Iran to mourn him. Iran is furious and vows retaliation, ultimately firing missiles at Iraqi bases that house American troops a few days later. No lives are lost, and Trump responds by promising more sanctions.


As tensions rise, Iran mistakenly shoots down a Ukrainian passenger jet, attributing it to a fear of US aggression. All 176 people on board are killed.


Trump's decision to respond diplomatically to Iran's missile attack and not militarily signals that tensions may cool off -- at least for now.


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