January 08, 2020
The statement “Iran and the United States do not get on” is perhaps one thing we can all agree on. What is less clear, however, is: why?
US And Iran Relations Have Been Tense For Decades. Here’s Why
Coverage of the current crisis talks of Donald Trump, nuclear deals, the legacy of Barack Obama and an Iran determined to establish itself as the major power in the Middle East.
But to truly appreciate today’s news, it’s necessary to go a lot further back – to 1908, in fact.
What’s more, it’s also critical to look at the UK’s role in all of this, during a bygone age of empire when Britain was the United States of its time.
 1908: The founding of the Anglo-Persian Oil CompanyAs with so many conflicts in the Middle East, the current US-Iran tensions have their historical roots in the control of natural resources – specifically, oil.
It was the British who first sought to exploit the oil reserves in what was then called Persia, at a time when the US had very little presence beyond its own borders.
In 1908 the British, still in full-blown global empire mode, founded the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) after the discovery of a huge oil field in the country, and set about making a fortune while giving Persia a mere 16% of the profits.Unsurprisingly, the imbalance in how oil revenues were split between the native Persians and the imperialist Brits became a source of friction.
A number of attempts were made by the Iranians (as they made themselves known from 1935 onwards) to renegotiate the terms of the deal with the APOC but these either came to nothing or produced agreements that were ultimately no more beneficial.1941: Second World War and the invasionIn one of the west’s many demonstrations of scant respect for sovereignty during this period, in 1941 Britain and its ally the Soviet Union invaded and occupied Iran to secure oil supplies for their increasingly thirsty war machines.
This occupation helped stoke a tide of nationalism that swept the Middle East after the end of the Second World War and in Iran specifically. This further increased calls for the nationalisation of the country’s energy resources.1951: Iran elects Mohammed Mossadegh as prime ministerIn 1951, the Iranian parliament voted to nationalise the APOC (now called the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company), an event followed by the democratic election of Mohammed Mossadegh, a champion of nationalisation.Over the next two years, Mossadegh tried to implement nationalisation, engaging in heated diplomacy with the British and the United States – which by this point, after its contribution to the Allies’ victory, was far more involved in international affairs than in previous decades.
The British, not wanting to give up such a lucrative cash cow in a period when the consumption of oil was only increasing, resisted Mossadegh’s attempts and sought ways to remove him from the picture.1953: The coupEventually, Britain chose possibly the most extreme option – subverting Iranian democracy by toppling Iran’s leader and replacing him with one they liked.
The coup was orchestrated by the CIA and MI6 and used the rising tensions of the Cold War as a pretext, framing it as necessary to stop energy supplies from falling into Soviet hands.By bribing a number of influential people and groups in Iran, the western intelligence services were able to orchestrate a large riot that was used as an opportunity to arrest Mossadegh and replace him with a new pro-western PM, Fazlollah Zahedi, who was given the seal of approval by the equally pro-western shah (monarch) Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.1954: The name changeIn a clear sign of who was behind events in Iran, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was renamed British Petroleum (yes, that BP) in 1954.
Things were never going to be the same, though, and BP, rather than have a sole monopoly on Iranian oil, instead entered into a consortium of companies that controlled much of the world’s oil supplies for the next two decades.1979: Iranian revolutionIt won’t come as a surprise to learn that the ordinary people of Iran were less than happy with having a leader imposed on them by foreign powers and discontent grew and grew, culminating in strikes and huge demonstrations that paralysed the country.
Under huge pressure, Pahlavi fled to the US and in his place came Ruhollah Khomeini, who would soon become known in the west as Ayatollah Khomeini.
He had spent the previous 15 years in exile due to his opposition to Pahlavi but returned to Iran to be greeted by crowds numbering in the millions.Khomeini formed a new government, held a referendum and founded the Islamic Republic of Iran that the world knows today. He dubbed the US the “Great Satan”.Almost immediately, the first of a number of crises occurred, each of which would further cement the hostility between Iran and the US (Britain, having lost its empire after the war, was increasingly out of the picture).1979-81: The US embassy hostage crisisIn November of 1979 a group of Iranian students, angry at American refusals to extradite Pahlavi, stormed the US embassy and took 52 people hostage – for nearly two years.
The failure of the US to secure the release of its own citizens either through negotiations or a failed rescue attempt was a humiliating blow on the international stage and was a significant factor in the end of the Jimmy Carter administration.Donald Trump referenced the hostages recently when he said 52 cultural sites in Iran could be targeted by US strikes.1984: Sponsor of terrorismThe US designated Iran a state sponsor of terrorism, citing more than 60 attacks against the US across the Middle East.1985-86: Iran-Contra scandalCarter’s successor, Ronald Reagan, became embroiled in his own Iran-related scandal a few years later.
In what came to be known as the Iran-Contra affair, Reagan actually sold weapons to Iran and used the money to fund anti-communist rebels trying to topple the government in Nicaragua, despite such funding being banned by Congress.1988: US shoots down Iranian passenger plane On July 3, 1988, an American warship patrolling in the Persian Gulf shot down an Iranian Airbus A300 flying from Bandar Abbas, in Iran, to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
All 290 people on board died. The US claimed the aircraft was mistaken for a fighter jet.1990s: The sanctionsOver the course of the decade, the US stepped up sanctions on Iran in an attempt to prevent its “acquisition of chemical, biological, nuclear, or advanced conventional weapons”.2000s: Fears of a nuclear IranRelations deteriorated to a new low after it was revealed Iran was developing nuclear facilities that western nations said could be used to make a nuclear bomb.
The then government of ultra-conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the claims but the UN, US and EU imposed harsh sanctions, crippling the country’s economy.2002: The ‘Axis of Evil’Signs that the election of reformist cleric Mohammed Khatami in 1997 marked a shift in relations for the better were dashed by George Bush in 2002, when he included Iran alongside Iraq and North Korea in his infamous “Axis of Evil” speech.The designation caused outrage in Iran – which, a year later, was more than happy to take advantage of the chaos resulting from the US invasion of Iraq to increase its influence across the Middle East.2015: The dealThe election of Barack Obama marked a profound shift in relations between the US and Iran and a long-term deal was finally agreed that would allow Iran limit its nuclear capabilities to civilian energy use in return for the lifting of sanctions.
Despite the deal being widely hailed as a positive step for peace, one man was very vocal in his disdain for the agreement throughout the negotiations – Donald Trump.President Obama must remember that the worst thing you can do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. Be cool, move slowly - and think! IRAN— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 20132018: The end of the dealNow president, Trump pulls out of the Iran deal in 2018 to the dismay of other world powers.
He reinstates sanctions and Iran’s economy freefalls.2019: The military actions beginFurther sanctions target Iran’s oil exports, prompting a number of retaliatory strikes from Iran against oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.
Things escalate on June 20 when Iran shoots down a US military drone and, shortly after, announces it will roll back a number of the commitments made under the original nuclear deal.2020: The death of Qassem SoleimaniAll of which brings us to 2020 and the current situation. An attack on a military base in Iraq by an Iranian-backed militia sparks a US airstrike that kills 25 members of the group.
This in turn prompts the storming of the US embassy in Iraq. The US responds by killing Qassem Soleimani. Iran responds by attacking a military base in Iraq holding US personnel, with no reported injuries so far. And the rest is, well, the present.Related... Boris Johnson Says Qassem Soleimani Had 'Blood Of British Troops On His Hands' Three Brits Among 176 Killed After Ukrainian Plane Crashes In Iran Iran Launches Missiles At US Forces In Iraq But Donald Trump Says 'All Is Well!'
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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