US Arms Policies Towards the Shah's Iran
This work reconstructs and explains the arms relationship that successive U.S. administrations developed with the Shah of Iran from 1950. This relationship has generally been neglected in the extant literature leading to a series of omissions and distortions in the historical record. By detailing how and why Iran transitioned from a primitive military aid recipient in the 1950s to America’s primary military credit customer in the late 1960s and 1970s, this book provides a detailed and original contribution to the understanding of a key Cold War episode in U.S. foreign policy. By drawing on extensive declassified documents from more than 10 archives, the investigation demonstrates not only the importance of the arms relationship but also how it reflected, and contributed to, the wider evolution of U.S.-Iranian relations from a position of Iranian client state dependency to a situation where the U.S. became heavily leveraged to the Shah for protection of the Gulf and beyond – until the policy met its disastrous end
This work only study that deals directly and comprehensively with the entirety of US-Iran arms relations during the reign of the Shah. The research posits that a failure to analyse arms issues in any detail has hindered any true understanding of U.S.-Iran relations prior to 1979, and has therefore omitted a key factor in the Cold War geopolitics of the Middle East. Adding this layer of analysis is not just historical, it provides insight into the major U.S. Cold War policy shifts that followed the Iranian Revolution - such as the Carter Doctrine and Reagan’s decision to go on the offensive against the Soviet Union. Put simply, those policies bore a direct relation to the failure of outsourcing containment in the Middle East via arms sales and security relationships with allies such as the Shah. In that sense, arming Iran was the grand test of the Nixon doctrine. And, it became its grand failure. When Iran descended into revolution in late 1978 and its people violently deposed the Shah’s regime, the very essence of U.S. policy towards the entire Gulf region imploded. In that sense, although this monograph proceeds outwardly as a piece of diplomatic history, it is also written for those seeking better foundations for which to gain an understanding of U.S. foreign policy in the final decade of the Cold War, and beyond.
This work will be of interest to students and scholars of Middle East studies, US Foreign Policy and Security studies.