Michael Crowley writes: [A]s the nuclear talks move forward, it’s worth remembering that the U.S. bears some blame for the poisoned state of the relationship between the two countries.
Consider the way Bill Clinton — then seeking a thaw with Iran — once put it. “It may be that the Iranian people have been taught to hate or distrust the United States or the West on the grounds that we are infidels and outside the faith,” Clinton said in April 1999. “I think it is important to recognize, however, that Iran … has been the subject of quite a lot of abuse from various Western nations. And I think sometimes it’s quite important to tell people, ‘Look, you have a right to be angry’” at things the U.S. has done.
Crowley then describes four grounds for Iranian anger: the 1953 coup and the Shah; Iraq and chemical weapons; the U.S. attack on Iran Air flight 655 in 1988 killing all 290 civilians on board, for which America never apologized; and the branding of Iran as part of the “axis of evil” even while Iran was supporting the U.S. war against the Taliban.