Four decades of conflict with Iran, explained

Iran and the U.S. have been enemies since 1979. Why? Here’s everything you need to know:

What is the state of relations?
For four decades, the U.S. and Iran have been locked into what is essentially an ongoing, low-grade war. Since its inception in 1979, the Shiite theocracy, now run by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and a council of top clerics, has considered the U.S. the “Great Satan” — an intruder in the Middle East and a primary obstacle to the mullahs’ goal of sustaining and spreading their Shiite Islamic revolution. Speeches and sermons often end with the chant “Death to America!” Iran sponsors a network of Shiite militias and parties in countries across the Middle East, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Badr Organization in Iraq, and it is sworn to the destruction of key U.S.



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