In this Spotlighting an Author, John Ghazvinian presented his new book “America and Iran: A History, 1720 to the Present”. Ghazvinian provided a captivating account of the U.S.-Iran relationship within the last 300 years and discussed the history that is rarely explored, from Christian missionaries in Iran, to the American fascination with Persia in the early 1900s. He further argued that a better understanding of the two countries’ rich history could be the key to a stronger future.
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In this rich, fascinating history, John Ghazvinian traces the complex story of the relations of these two powers back to the Persian Empire of the eighteenth century–the subject of great admiration of Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams–and an America seen by Iranians as an ideal to emulate for their own government.
Drawing on years of archival research both in the United States and Iran–including access to Iranian government archives rarely available to Western scholars–the Iranian-born, Oxford-educated historian leads us through the four seasons of U.S.-Iran relations: the “spring” of mutual fascination; the “summer” of early interactions; the “autumn” of close strategic ties; and the long, dark “winter” of mutual hatred.
Ghazvinian, with grasp and a storyteller’s ability, makes clear where, how, and when it all went wrong. And shows why two countries that once had such heartfelt admiration for each other became such committed enemies; showing us, as well, how it didn’t have to turn out this way.
About John Ghazvinian
John Ghazvinian is an author, historian and former journalist, specializing in the history of US-Iran relations. He has written for such publications as Newsweek, The Nation, the Sunday Times and the Huffington Post, and has taught modern Middle East history at a number of colleges and universities in the Philadelphia area. He earned his doctorate in history at Oxford University, and was the recipient of a “Public Scholar” fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2016-2017, as well as a fellowship from the Carnegie Corporation’s special initiative on Islam in 2009-2010. Ghazvinian is currently the Executive Director of the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania.