In the Shadow of Mistrust
The Geopolitics and Diplomacy of US–Iran Relations
Draws on Farsi and English sources to offer a subtle analysis of the intimate symbiotic struggle for hegemony between Washington and Tehran.
Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the normalisation of relations between Iran and America has appeared unrealistic if not inconceivable, given that the Iranian state has vigorously pursued an anti-American ideology. This account of US-Iranian relations examines the efficacy of external pressure such as sanctions, as well as domestic grassroots reform movements within the Islamic Republic.
The Obama presidency marked a rare high point in the Washington-Tehran relationship, as negotiations between the two countries and other powers produced an unprecedented nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. However, the Trump administration’s unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA, and re-imposition of new sanctions in pursuit of ‘maximum pressure’, had devastating economic consequences, undermining the Iranian middle class, which has consistently been the voice of political moderation and supported Iran’s integration into the global economy. Crucially, sanctions have also driven Iran further into the arms of China, while rendering it an even more recalcitrant and aggressive adversary.
Monshipouri’s central conviction is that negotiations are pivotal to dismantling the mistrust that has long characterised US-Iranian relations, and to seeking détente between Iran and its Arab neighbours–a critical priority, since gradual US withdrawal from the region is all but certain.
Mahmood Monshipouri is Professor and Chair of International Relations at San Francisco State University; he also teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include the edited volume Inside the Islamic Republic: Social Change in Post-Khomeini Iran, also published by Hurst.