February marks the 30th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran . One of the most significant events in the Middle East in the last half century, it dramatically changed the political balance of power in the region and created one of the US’s greatest foreign policy challenges. The revolution caught all the western intelligence agencies off-guard. The Shah’s monarchy, characterized by President Carter a year earlier as the Island of Tranquility , had disappeared and a revolutionary government unlike anything seen before had taken over the most valuable US ally in the Persian Gulf .
US-Iran relations have regrettably gone from bad to worse over the past 3 decades. During this same period, Iran has gained great influence in the region and is a major player in all Middle East arenas – Iraq and Palestine in particular. Many analysts of foreign affairs today agree that having a normal relationship with Iran is critical if the US goal for stability of the Middle East is to be realized.