Back in the 70s, we were allies with Iran. The Shah was our friend, even though he was not the best ruler. He was trying to bring a backwards society into the modern world and it could be agreed that he ran an oppressive regime by trying to do so. However, our alliance with him was strategically important. Considering the other governments and regimes in the Middle East at the time, the Shah was pro-America and the best we had.
Soon after Carter became President, he pressured the Shah to stop holding military tribunals and to release political prisoners, most of whom were known terrorists, and try them in civilian courts. These civilian trials soon became flash points for anti-Shah demonstrations and protests by his enemies.
Carter also threatened to cut off military aid and support unless the Shah permitted "free assembly" which certainly isn't a bad thing and I'm sure Carter meant well, but under the circumstances at the time, it allowed the Shah's enemies to exploit the situation. By changing his policy under pressure from Carter, the Shah's enemies saw more weakness and opportunity to stir up unrest, protests and demonstrations.
In November 1977, the Shah went to Washington to meet with Carter who urged the Shah to appease the protesters and not to use force to stop the protests and demonstrations. He was also pressured by Carter not to do anything in 1979 when the revolutionary riots began. Had the Shah's government arrested the most corrupt government officials and businessmen who were spearheading the revolution, they would have been able to stop it.
The Shah, having been a friend and ally of the US for over 35 years, thought we would not let him down. However, Carter didn't even want to allow him medical sanctuary when he was forced to escape Iran after the overthrow. Carter abandoned the most pro-Western leader in the Persian Gulf which led to the takeover of the country by the Ayatollah Khomeini who was strongly anti-American.
Carter thought that he would win support of the new Iran government by his appeasement and "neutral" policy towards the situation. He even rushed to formally recognize the new government. Of course, the new Iranian government took over our embassy and held American citizens hostage until Reagan's first day in office a year later. Carter, as we all know, failed miserably in dealing with the Iran Hostage Crisis.
With our only ally in the Persian Gulf gone, we were forced to align ourselves with Saddam Hussein and Iraq who were at war with our new enemy, Iran. The Iran/Iraq war came about from Hussein rising to power and seeing weakness in Iran through them rejecting us as their ally and going through their revolution. Reagan, who wanted stability in the region, had to choose the lesser of two evils and went with Hussein.
This clearly shows Carter's Liberal appeasement with Iran throughout his Presidency did not prevent war and bloodshed in the region. It created more. And we are still dealing with the consequences today.
- Chuck Morse, "Carter Sold Out Iran - 1977-1978"
- Eilo Bonazzi, "Double Standards and Deception: How the Left Treats Iran and the Middle East" www.iranvoice.org
- Ronald Reagan, "An American Life"
- David Reynolds, "One World Divisible: A Global History Since 1945"
- J.M. Roberts, "Twentieth Century, The History of the World, 1901 to 2000"
- Samir al-Khalil, "The Republic of Fear: The Inside Story of Saddam's Iraq"
- Sean Hannity, "Deliver Us From Evil"