When the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 world powers kicked off with renewed hope after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration in August 2013, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quick to endorse the diplomatic efforts but also stressed that the “U.S. government is not trustworthy.” Indeed, the main impediment to normal relations between Iran and the United States since the 1979 Islamic Revolution has been the mutual mistrust between the two sides. Iran, for its part, has a long list of legitimate grievances. The U.S. supported Saddam Hussein in the conflict that began with his invasion of Iran in 1980, sparking an eight-year war that cost the lives of over 300,000 Iranians and resulted in an estimated $1.19 trillion in damage to both sides. During the war, the Iraqi army used chemical weapons against Iran, killing and injuring over 50,000 civilians.
“America needs Iranian cooperation,” Seyed Hossein Mousavian, USAToday, January 14, 2016.