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Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The United States and Iran in the Cold War

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, is often remembered as a pliant instrument of American power during the Cold War. In this lecture and book launch, Roham Alvandi offers a revisionist account of the Shah's relationship with the United States by examining the partnership he forged with Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in the 1970s. Dr Alvandi will discuss how the Shah shaped US policy in the Persian Gulf under Nixon and Kissinger, including the CIA’s covert support for the Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq, and the US role in the origins of Iran’s nuclear program. Dr Alvandi will draw on the history of Iran’s Cold War partnership with the United States to examine the potential for Iranian-American cooperation in the Middle East today.

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.

Event Details

Speaker: Dr Roham Alvandi, LSE
Chair: Professor Toby Dodge, LSE
Date: Thursday 16 October 2014
Time: 18.30-20.00
Location: Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE|
Event Hashtag: #LSEAlvandi
Attendance: This event is free and open to all on a first come first served basis. Our events are very well attended, please make sure to arrive early. We cannot guarantee entry.

Reviews of the book

"This is an important and ground-breaking book on an often misunderstood period in Middle East history and U.S.-Iran relations. Roham Alvandi draws on fresh historical sources to provide an incisive corrective in his in-depth look into how the United States and Iran formulated foreign policy and forged a partnership to manage the Middle East. This is a book of direct relevance to Iran's role in the Middle East today, and to how U.S.-Iran relations may once again influence regional politics. This is must reading for anyone interested in contemporary Iranian history, and in particular in U.S.-Iran relations." --Vali Nasr, author of The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat

"Roham Alvandi's book provides a provocative and eloquently written account about a crucial period in the highly volatile relationship between the United States and Iran. Crucial reading for anyone wishing to understand the roots of America's current policy in the Middle East." -- Jussi M. Hanhimaki, author of Flawed Architect: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy

"This important book confirms Roham Alvandi's status as one of the new generation's leading scholars of Iran. His meticulous research and original analysis provide the clearest picture yet of a historic turning point for the country that helped lead it down the path to revolution. He breaks new ground on topics of enduring relevance-including Iran's regional policies and nuclear ambitions-and offers myth-dispelling assessments of the Shah and his erstwhile U.S. patrons. Finally, his conclusions present a salutary test of conventional Cold War formulations, particularly regarding the role of the Third World." --Malcolm Byrne, author of Iran-Contra: Reagan's Scandal and the Unchecked Abuse of Presidential Power


Roham Alvandi

Roham Alvandi is Assistant Professor of International History at LSE. He is a historian of modern Iran and the wider Middle East and has written extensively on the history of Iran’s foreign relations. His recent book, Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The United States and Iran in the Cold War (Oxford University Press, 2014), was selected by the Financial Times as one of its ‘summer books’ of 2014.


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