Why Does Iran Hate America?

Iran descended from the ancient Persian Empire. The Kharaghan Towers are tombs in which two princes were buried a thousand years ago.
Iran descended from the ancient Persian Empire. The Kharaghan Towers are tombs in which two princes were buried a thousand years ago. | Source

Iranians Are A Peaceful People

Modern Iran is the extant incarnation of a three thousand year old culture. Before 1935, it was known as Persia; an ancient civilization with a rich historical pervasion. After numerous Greek, Roman, Mongol, and Ottoman invasions, the Iranians established the Safavid Empire in 1501, and have remained independent ever since. Contrary to popular Western thought, Iran has been a peaceful country for most of its existence. The last time Iran started a war was in 1856, when they attempted to capture Herat from Afghanistan. Indeed, the name Iran comes from the word ‘Aryan’ and literally means Land of the Aryans. Despite usage by the Nazis, Aryan means ‘noble’ and ‘spiritual’ and was ascribed to the Indo-Iranian world over four millennia ago.

Interference in Iranian Politics

Great Britain and Russia had been interfering in Iranian politics for centuries, but this came to a head in 1941 when they invaded Iran and deposed the Shah (the ruler). The Shah had been trying to break ties with Britain and Russia by giving valuable construction contracts to German, Italian and French engineers. When WW2 broke out, this strategy backfired, as Iran was seen as too close to the axis powers. The Shah was forced to abdicate, and the country was conquered to secure Iran’s oil infrastructure and supply lines. The Shah’s son, Pavlavi, was instated as a puppet ruler.

How Did America Become Involved?

America’s involvement in Iran began in 1953. Great Britain had controlled Iran’s oil resources since the start of the twentieth century. When a politician named Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh democratically rose to the position of prime minister, and nationalized the country’s oil industry, Britain enlisted America to restore the status quo. Operation Ajax was a CIA coup that operated from the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The CIA hired mercenaries to protest against Mossadegh, resulting in violent clashes that left almost 300 dead. The coup successfully deposed Mossadegh and installed Shah Pavlavi as absolute dictator of Iran. Mossadegh was sent to prison, while Pavlavi set about crushing all political opposition; turning Iran into a fascist police state. The secret police (SAVAK) tortured and murdered thousands of Iranians. According to an ex-CIA operative, the CIA trained the SAVAK in methods of torture.

It took 50 years for the U.S. government to acknowledge their role in a coup that deposed a democratic government and installed a ruthless dictatorship. To this day, America has never apologized for destroying the will of a nation. Rather, American politicians have used Iranian distrust of their country to escalate tensions further. The current war propaganda paints Iran as a malevolent entity seeking to destroy the free world (see video).

The Iranian Revolution

In 1979, the population rebelled against the murderous oppression that had been forced upon them by America. The Iranian Revolution liberated Iran, instating popular leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, as Supreme Leader of a theocratic Islamic republic. Shah Pavlavi fled the country and died in exile.

In late 1979, armed Iranian students seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and accused the Americans of being CIA spies. Khomeini, originally unaware, eventually supported the takeover. The students asked for Shah Pavlavi to be handed over to receive the justice of the people, but the Americans refused to send him back to Iran (Pavlavi had been receiving medical treatment in America). After the Shah died in the summer of 1980, the students demanded the hostages be put on trial for espionage.

Eventually, the release of the hostages was secured in the Algiers Declaration, where the U.S. agreed to release frozen Iranian assets. However, the U.S. reneged on their agreement and refused to return Iran's wealth. Instead, they cut off relations and hoped the theft would go unpunished.

The Iran-Iraq War

After the Iranian revolution, the country was in a fractured and disorganized state. In order to exploit this situation, the ruler of neighboring Iraq, Saddam Hussein, decided to invade Iran in 1980. A bloody and desperate war ensued. Despite Hussein’s early advances that used chemical weapons to kill thousands of Iranian soldiers and civilians, Iraqi troops were pushed back by the Iranian military. Saddam Hussein was forced to agree peace with Iran in 1988.

Even though Iraq was the aggressor in the Iran-Iraq War, the Americans supported Saddam Hussein in his conflict with Iran. Donald Rumsfeld, the then special envoy to President Reagan, can be seen shaking hands with Saddam Hussein in 1983 (see video). He visited again in 1984 on the same day Iraq launched a chemical weapons attack into Iran.

At the U.N. Security council, America blocked condemnation of Iraq’s chemical weapons attacks. No resolution that criticized Iraq’s use of chemical weapons was passed, despite the wishes of the majority to condemn this use. In 1986 the U.N. Security Council recognized that “chemical weapons on many occasions have been used by Iraqi forces against Iranian forces”, a statement that was opposed by the United States.

America’s excuse for invading Iraq in 2003 was to remove weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons. Suffice to say, the hypocrisy was sickening, the public ignorance of history was shameful, and the loss of life was the biggest tragedy of the 21st century.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei | Source

Iran Today

Despite America’s best efforts, the Iranian government remains an Islamic theocracy under the control of the current Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. Khamenei was previously the elected President of Iran (1981-1989), and is supported by the Iranian people. The Supreme Leader is in charge of the military and has the final decision on all matters. The second highest authority is the elected President of Iran, currently Hassan Rouhani. Iran and the United States have had no diplomatic ties since the Iranian Revolution in 1979.


Since WW2, America has contributed directly or indirectly to the deaths of millions of Iranians. By deposing a democratic government in Iran, America subjected the population to a ruthless dictator who murdered and tortured thousands. By refusing to hand over Shah Pavlavi, America denied the Iranian people justice. By supplying Saddam Hussein with weaponry and blocking U.N. attempts to curb Saddam’s use of chemical weapons, America contributed to the deaths of millions of Iranians. The current tension between the two nations can only be understood in this historical context. The Iranians have every reason to distrust America.

So, why does Iran hate America? It’s not for the pseudo-religious reasons popularized by the government-sanctioned American media. The hatred comes from a history of America blocking the rights and freedoms of the Iranian people, and subjecting them to death and destruction. For a nation that prides itself on freedom and liberty, America has done more to destroy it elsewhere in the world than any other country. Like the Americans did in 1776, people can and will fight against it.

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Comments 32 comments

RichusFridum profile image

RichusFridum 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

damn good question. There are many reasons as you described but there are probably otherrs behind the scenes that the public don't know about.

safiq ali patel profile image

safiq ali patel 3 years ago from United States Of America

Interesting topic and interesting hub. I often ask myself why Iran and America don't get along. Iran has a beautiful ancient history and a riveting political history.

JKenny profile image

JKenny 3 years ago from Birmingham, England

Very interesting hub Thomas. It just goes to show that half of writing history is hiding the truth. We keep hearing reports about how dangerous Iran is, but there's actually precious little evidence of this. In my mind, the only danger in the Middle East is Israel, and of course they are supported by the US. Don't get me wrong I love America, but on occasion their foreign policy has been questionable- remember Vietnam.

Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 3 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

Thanks for this clarification, Thomas …

This is a valuable and important hub and as such should really be widely read.

Thomas Swan profile image

Thomas Swan 3 years ago from New Zealand Author

Thanks for the comments Richus and Safiq. Iran has a beautiful, ancient culture and deserves more respect from the world for their heritage, and the way they've managed to avoid starting any kind of war for almost two centuries. America can't seem to go two decades without starting one. Like you say, Richus, there are other reasons too, such as when America shot down an Iranian passenger jet killing over 200 people.

Thomas Swan profile image

Thomas Swan 3 years ago from New Zealand Author

Thanks for the comments JKenny and Angie. Like you both say, it's important to get these kinds of truths out there. The battle is fought in the minds of the public, with the belligerents typically being politicians and the historical truth. The politicians will use any means they can to get their way (e.g. false intelligence reports about Iraq), while the truth (we once supported Saddam's use of chemical weapons when it suited us) gets pushed aside. Ultimately, the politicians can't get their way unless they convince the public. With politicians currently pushing for a war with Iran, the historical truth contained in this hub is all I can personally do to fight against it.

pramodgokhale profile image

pramodgokhale 3 years ago from Pune( India)


I know Iranian revolution in 1979, new government asked USA to return their funds in American banks deposited during Shah's regime .That was their legitimate right.USA denied and then diplomatic and economic relations were cut off. Iran's oil wealth was used to buy American arms and arms industry made huge profits.

Iranians have oil industry which is their livelihood and gains revenue by export.

Iran do not want her wealth to be looted again by any foreign country.

Pramod gokhale

Thomas Swan profile image

Thomas Swan 3 years ago from New Zealand Author

Thanks for the comment pramodgokhale. I was aware of this information, but wasn't sure enough to put it in. I will edit the article now to put it in, thank you. profile image 3 years ago from upstate, NY

I had a roommate in school from Iran from 1976-1978. I remember a group of Iranian student in our school were evenly divided in their support of either the Shah or The Ayatollah khomeini. My roommate supported the Shah and told me that the Ayatollah and his supporters were nuts and many of them psychopaths. Granted he was only 18 at the time so his views may have been naïve.

More likely is that any leadership in Iran was very corrupt and oppressive because their society was equally corrupt and oppressive.

Their current leadership are certainly no choir boys, sworn to the destruction of Isreal and are actively supporting terrorists. They would have no problem sending millions of innocent American's to their deaths if they had the means to do so.

Thomas Swan profile image

Thomas Swan 3 years ago from New Zealand Author

Thanks wba. I would agree that the Iranians want the Zionist state to be disbanded. I don't believe they would use military force because there is nothing to suggest they would. They haven't started a war in almost 200 years; they haven't been mobilizing their forces for a strike, and if they did decide to launch a missile, they would be nuked by Israel immediately. This idea that we have to stop Iran before they wipe out Israel is propaganda - just like the idea that Iranians are racists. There are 25,000 Jews living in Iran, they have a place in parliament, and Khomeini declared they are to be protected. The media propaganda suggesting otherwise is trash when compared to the facts.

I wouldn't be so sure about the terrorist links either. Iranian weaponry is used by "terrorists" about as much as American and British weaponry is. If something was manufactured and sold by Iran, I doubt you could call that "support". You could say that America supported the terrorists who attacked the WTC by that argument.

There is corruption in every country.

pinkhawk profile image

pinkhawk 3 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

Well said... Thank you for this historical knowledge. ^_^

Thomas Swan profile image

Thomas Swan 3 years ago from New Zealand Author

Cheers pinkhawk!

Educateurself 3 years ago

Dear bro an informative hub about those who don't know the real history of Iran their revolution and other matters. I appreciate your writing because you have write what is truth.

Thank your for sharing this hub.

Thomas Swan profile image

Thomas Swan 3 years ago from New Zealand Author

Thanks educateurself. With a war possibly looming between the war-mongers and Iran, I agree that these truths are important to get out there. We should learn from our mistakes, not cover them up and pretend it's their fault.

Someone 3 years ago

I'm an Iranian

We (people) not only don't hate US, But also we love it

Only the government and about 20% of people hate America

But most of the people like me have no problem with your country. For example one of my biggest dreams is a trip to America.

I hope one day, both Iran and America work together in peace, for a better world

RedWhiteandBlue 3 years ago

Thomas, that was certainly an informative hub.

Someone, I agree with you and the part about not every Iranian hating America is certaintly good to hear. In my book as long as you come in peace you are definitely welcome.

Thomas Swan profile image

Thomas Swan 3 years ago from New Zealand Author

Someone, I agree that many Iranians love the US. There is quite a divide between liberals and conservatives in Iran (as far as I know), and thus, opinion on the US is very divided. I guess I was trying to make the point that many Iranians do hate the US, and history reveals that they have a good reason for their hatred. Thank you for your visit and comment.

Thank you also RedWhiteandBlue for your comment. Much appreciated.

Justsilvie 3 years ago

Interesting Hub! I have met and worked with a number of Iranian refugees and one thing that I remember was one telling me what it was like to live through the 79 Revolution. Life was supposed to get better… It didn’t. It will be interesting in a 100 years or so to see who is shown as the bigger tyrant, the Shah or those who replaced him?

Thomas Swan profile image

Thomas Swan 3 years ago from New Zealand Author

Thanks Justsilvie. It's debatable how much post-79 Iran was due to the new regime. The US refused to repay the funds they had withheld after the hostage crisis, and had slapped a number of sanctions on Iran. They did the same to Cuba to discredit that regime. I don't approve of using trade as a weapon. Having said that, I'm not a supporter of the Iranian regime either.

thost profile image

thost 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Yes an interesting Hub, thank you. However, why do the Americans hate the Iranians?

Thomas Swan profile image

Thomas Swan 3 years ago from New Zealand Author

Thanks thost. I would guess because its the policy of the American government to be antagonistic towards the regime that toppled their ally (The Shah). This policy filters through the media to the people.

rmcmillen 3 years ago

As I say in my hub "Will Somebody Tell Me Why?" .... I often wonder why most of the world hates us..... than I wonder.... why wouldn't they?

Thomas Swan profile image

Thomas Swan 3 years ago from New Zealand Author

I think most people don't hate Americans, they just hate the American government. Although you guys did elect Bush a second time, and that didn't help one bit!

rmcmillen 3 years ago

We've constantly elected president after president who screwed things up.... Either for us or for the rest of the world... And done so by driving us to one extreme or the other.... If the rest of the world does not hate us I sure wouldn't blame them if they at least thought us to be a huge pack of morons..... Especially for that "8yrs. of Bush" thing

Thief12 profile image

Thief12 2 years ago from Puerto Rico

Interesting hub. On the long run, the US meddling in foreign affairs has caused more troubles than goods in the world. And a lot of what they call "rogue nations" now are a direct result of the US foreign politics: Iran, Cuba, North Korea, to name just a few.

Amir 2 years ago

Hi .

I'm an Iranian and live in capital where the Islamic Republic has the most opponents .

Most Iranians who care about their country and have read a few pages of Iran's history in the last 70 - 80 years either hate the US or have negative view about it .

The rest of people are the ones that don't care about the country , our bitter history and the crimes the west especially the US did to the nation and just want a comfortable life .

At the end I need to add that , Iranians are not the monsters the west controlled media has made for people , They are kind , hospitable and lovely people who have been victims of colonialism , unwanted wars and terrorism . we have no problem with American people because we know that they are ordinary people like us but we are against the US politics .

Thank you Thomas for such informative article .

joshua36 18 months ago

I hope and pray that peace and understanding will win out, that both sides will let the past be, and move on for the sake of future generations. It makes me upset that our government put those people under a dictatorship, and now they think they need nukes to defend themselves. But they need to let go of their nuclear ideas. The world needs less nukes, not more.

mohammad 17 months ago

i im a persian and i say every thing saed about us is wrong we don't have any problem whit any one or any country and we don't want a nuclar weapon

Don Clemens 15 months ago

A very well-written summary of the situation. It disturbs me greatly that virtually none of the U.S. Presidential candidates on the Right seem to have anything resembling a nuanced approach to what (to me, at least) is a self-imposed, self-defeating antipathy towards a whole group of people who would like to live in peace. Heated rhetoric by "hardliners" of both Iran and the U.S. have done nothing to bring peace about.

Dan56 9 months ago

Strange that there is no mention of the reason the Shah was so brutal and to whom. The Islamist's were the prime targets of his activities since they wanted to establish a theocracy in place of a civil government. Historically accurate piece but not very accurate as to conclusions. My Father worked in Iran prior to the fall of the Shah and the secular Persians liked the Shah the Islamic fanatics backed the Ayatollah's

Ali 7 months ago

Did you forget 3 july 1988? When us army slaughtered 290 civilians in Iran Flight 655?It is clear that this crime was quite on purpose(US vise president emphasized that America will not apologize for that and soldiers who commit this war crime were awarded Combat Action Ribbons for their behavior, but this matters never opposed in the international criminal court!

negar 3 months ago

i love my leader . Many iran people also . because he standing Opposite Bullying Government America

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