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CENTCAST | April 11, 2023

CENTCAST Episode 8: Iran-US Relations, 1988 - 1992, A Missed Opportunity


In 1988, at the close of a ruinous eight-year slog of war with Iraq, an exhausted and increasingly unpopular Iranian regime sought to reestablish pre-revolution ties with the United States. In his inaugural address that year, the new American president, George HW Bush, seemed to welcome a new relationship with Tehran. The Cold War was ending with a golden American triumph. The Iran-Iraq War had culminated with Iran militarily and economically devastated. A new day dawned for both the Untied States and Iran. Both sides were moving toward some kind of rapprochement. So, what happened? Iranian-American author, scholar, and historian John Ghazvinian joins the podcast to explain how DC ignored Tehran’s diplomatic outreach. John is the author “America and Iran” A History, 1720 to the Present,” named by the New York Times as one of the “100 Notable Books of 2021.” The book is full of insights into the long arc of America’s relationship with the country we now consider the primary destabilizing force in the Middle East. John describes what could have been, what the Middle East might look like today had the US administration brought Iran in from the cold, and how both sides viewed a possible diplomatic reengagement during a critical period. CENTCAST is the official podcast of US Central Command, the American military command overseeing the Middle East, the Levant, and the Central Asian States. The program tells the history of CENTCOM and describes the command’s activities and initiatives today.