For much of the last 30 years, official relations between the United States and Iran have been strained. The most visible indication of this was US President George W. Bush’s labeling of Iran as a member of the “axis of evil” in 2002. Breaking with the past, the new US administration is taking a more conciliatory tone. President Barack Obama has demonstrated that Washington is willing to open the lines of communication with Iran. This paper seeks to locate the Obama administration’s efforts within the history of US-Iranian relations while also highlighting the contemporary issues that would inform a constructive dialogue, such as the upcoming Iranian presidential elections. Improved dialogue between the two countries could help to improve the situations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, demonstrating how overlapping areas of interest may provide a new path for US-Iran relations.

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