In this rich, fascinating history, John Ghazvinian traces the complex story of the relations between these two nations back to the Persian Empire of the eighteenth century—the subject of great admiration by Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams—and an America seen by Iranians as an ideal to emulate for their own government.
Drawing on years of archival research both in the United States and Iran—including access to Iranian government archives rarely available to Western scholars—the Iranian-born, Oxford-educated historian leads us through the four seasons of U.S.–Iran relations: the spring of mutual fascination; the summer of early interactions; the autumn of close strategic ties; and the long, dark winter of mutual hatred. Ghazvinian makes clear where, how, and when it all went wrong. America and Iran shows why two countries that once had such heartfelt admiration for each other became such committed enemies—and why it didn’t have to turn out this way.
John Ghazvinian is an author, historian and former journalist, specializing in the history of US-Iran relations. His latest book, America and Iran: A History, 1720 to the Present (Knopf, 2021), is a comprehensive new survey of the bilateral relationship, based on years of archival research in both Iran and the United States, which he has been working on since 2008. He is also author of Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil (Harcourt, 2007), as well as coeditor of American and Muslim Worlds before 1900 (Bloomsbury, 2020). He has written for such publications as Newsweek, The Nation, the Sunday Times and the Huffington Post, and has taught modern Middle East history at a number of colleges and universities in the Philadelphia area. He earned his doctorate in history at Oxford University, and was the recipient of a "Public Scholar" fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2016-2017, as well as a fellowship from the Carnegie Corporation's special initiative on Islam in 2009-2010.
Ghazvinian is Executive Director of the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania.