Home Institution

Occidental College

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Program Name

Switzerland: International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy


Relations between the United States and the Islamic Republic have ranged from limited to non-existent over the past 36 years, and have been impeded by threatening rhetoric and perceived betrayals on both sides. The elections of Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani allowed for relations to move forward, but both presidents are hampered by people within their governments who are unwilling to let go of ingrained threat perceptions and distrust of the other. Despite these challenges, the P5+1 and Iran managed to create the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for Iran’s nuclear program, which can be used as a starting point for a diplomatic thaw. This paper follows the history of US-Iran relations, and analyzes how this tumultuous past has affected the P5+1 and Iran’s nuclear negotiations. Both are studied through secondary research as well as interviews with experts on the Islamic Republic. This paper adds to the body of knowledge on US-Iran relations, and analyses of the JCPOA.


American Politics | Comparative Politics | International Relations | Near and Middle Eastern Studies