Understanding the U.S. and Iran

March 15, 2017

In this video, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Professor of Sociology Charles Kurzman recounts the often untold history of American-Iranian relations. Although Iran is often on the news as a problem for the United States, much of Iran's pre-1979 Revolution history is not considered; Kurzman puts the current issues in historical context to great impact. "There's been a lot of discussion about tensions between Iran and the United States, but most people in America don't know the first thing about Iran," Kurzman points out. The video also discusses the recent progression of U.S.-Iranian relations, such as the nuclear deal signed under the Obama administration and the general perspective of the Iranian people on the topic. Kurzman notes, "When I was in Iran, some years ago, I found the Iranian people to be quite favorable towards Americans. Many of them objected to U.S. foreign policy, but they watched American Hollywood movies, and wanted better relations with the United States."

The video is one of a series being produced by the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies entitled "Middle East Explained." Their goal is to provide a tool for educators to use in teaching the current events and legacies of the Middle East.