Oh, we’re talking about Iran and Al-Qaeda now? Let’s be clear about a few small details of history (all taken from my forthcoming book, w/page numbers):

(1) Iran tried to warn US about dangers of AQ literally days before 9/11 but US said Iran was exaggerating (p420).... 1/
(2) Iran provided a level of help to US against AQ in Afghanistan after 9/11 that was described as “comprehensively helpful” by US officials (p424)

(3) in 2002, Iran rounded up AQ fighters who had escaped across the border from Afghanistan and offered to hold onto them... 2/
...on the condition that US not accuse Iran of “harboring terrorists”. But Bush labelled Iran part of the “axis of evil” so Iran had to let them go (p428)

(4) despite all that, Iran forwarded photocopies of 200+ AQ fighters to Washington, via the UN in summer 2002 (p429)...3/
I could go on, but you get the idea. Want to know more? The book comes out two weeks from today:

Sorry, that should have read 200+ photocopied *passports*

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More from @JohnGhazvinian

2 Dec 20
It’s poinsettia season and time to talk about the special place this plant has in the history of US-Iran relations.... (a thread)... 1/
The flower is named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, a South Carolina gentleman who, in 1807, earned the distinction of being the first US citizen to ever visit Iran.... 2/
Well, technically, it wasn’t what we would today call “Iran”. Poinsett crossed the border from Russia into the area around Baku, in modern-day Azerbaijan, which at the time was part of the Persian Empire.... 3/
Read 10 tweets
14 Oct 20
Did you know: The very first newspapers published in America (way back in the 1720s) were obsessed with Iran. But not in the way you might think. A thread.... Image
Week after week, from 1722 to 1724, the lead story in the two main publications in the American colonies -- Philadelphia's American Weekly Mercury and the Boston News-Letter -- concerned Iran (referred to as "Persia") Image
Persia typically took up anywhere from a quarter to a third of each week's paper Image
Read 15 tweets
12 Oct 20
Did you know there’s an American cemetery in Iran? It’s one of the most forgotten and neglected repositories of US remains in the world. I had the chance to visit in 2009. A thread... @PresbyHistory
Just getting here is like a symbolic meditation on the state of US-Iran relations. It’s in a tiny village called Seir, that can only be accessed by a steep, narrow, boulder-strewn trail (not even a road). It takes a car almost an hour to go the couple of miles from Urmia
Once here, though, it’s an incredible sight. I counted around 50 graves, from the 1850s to early 1900s. Generations of Presbyterian missionaries who came here to convert the Assyrian Christians to a “better” form of Christianity
Read 14 tweets

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