This article was originally published by the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) on 21 December 2014.
“Where you stand depends on where you sit” is an old maxim of politics. Where Iranians sit is on a lot of history that inclines them to resent and mistrust America and Britain, and mistrust in particular anything that would compromise their freedom of action. It’s a history of which we in the West are barely aware, but which determines in large part Iran’s view of the world.
The current talks between Iran and six other powers about Iran and nuclear weapon potential are mostly about technical capabilities. The history is rarely taken into account by the other participants. Yet it is a factor.
Iranians remember with chagrin that for a long time, outside powers decided what policies they should follow and who be their leader.