With a History of Distrust, Can the US and Iran Work Together to Take Down ISIS?

October 4, 2014 Updated: October 4, 2014

The United States and Iran could be working together to take down ISIS, but what has their relationship been like over the years? 

Check out a brief history of US-Iran diplomatic interactions.

1953: The US and UK collaborate on a coup that ousts Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, in favor of Mohammed Reza Pahlevi. 

Pahlevi will be more famously known as the Shah of Iran, and rules as an authoritarian monarch. 

1979: The Shah is forced to leave the country after years of growing secular and religious public unrest on January 16. 

The US State Department starts to evacuate the 1,350 Americans from Iran in February in light of the growing turmoil. 

Exiled cleric Ayatollah Khomeini gains widespread support, and eventually comes to power in March.

On November 4, young Iranians seize the US Embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage in a 444-day long crisis. 

The Iranians demanded that the Shah be returned to Iran to stand trial in court. 

1981: The United States and Iran finally come to an agreement on the release of the American hostages. 

The US would make diplomatic and financial concessions to Iran, and on President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration on January 21, the hostages were released. 

1986: President Reagan admitted that he sent military supplies to Iran in exchange for help to free hostages being held in Lebanon. 

It turned out that millions of dollars from the sale of American aid would be diverted to help a Nicaraguan rebel group called the Contras. 

1988: On April 18, the US attacks two Iranian oil platforms as well as six naval vessels.

Barely three months later, the US Navy accidentally shoots down an Iran Air commercial airplay en route to Dubai. All 290 passengers and crew were killed. 

2002: After an Iranian leftist grouped leaked documents about Iran’s nuclear program, the US accuses Iran of planning to build weapons of mass destruction with possible help from Russia. 

Iran allows the International Atomic Energy Authority to carry out inspections, and four years later, the Agency approves a resolution which demands that Iran cease all uranium enriching activities, and that Iran did not honor the stipulations of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty which they signed in 1968. 

2007: The US and Israel start work on a top secret computer virus to attack Iran’s Natanz nuclear plant. 

The plant was attacked in 2008 and in June 2010 on a larger scale. 

2013: President Barack Obama calls newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the phone, which is symbolic after considering the years of hostility between the two.