The Spread of Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear weapons have been in the news recently. Three student readings provide context and explore the U.S.-India deal and the controversy over Iran's nuclear program.

To the Teacher

Nuclear weapons have been in the news recently because of the U.S.-India deal; the Iranian nuclear program; and North Korea and its likely growing stockpile of nuclear weapons.

Such current issues need to be seen in a context that includes U.S. policy on nuclear weapons, the successes and failures of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the motivations that lead nations to seek nuclear bombs. The first reading provides some of that context, the second a description of the U.S.-India deal and differing views of it, the third a discussion of Iran's nuclear program and some background on the U.S.-Iran relationship since World War II.

Teachers may find useful a number of other sets of materials on nuclear weapons that are available on this website in the subject area "Nuclear Weapons." They include "North Korea, the United States and the Nuclear Threat." While the latter was prepared several years ago, the basic issues remain. North Korea's nuclear program continues. The U.S., South Korea, Japan, China and Russia have not forged an agreement with North Korea, and there is no sign that they will anytime soon.


Student Reading 1:

An Overview of Nuclear Weapons Issues and U.S. Policies

On the morning of August 6, 1945, adults and children in Hiroshima, Japan, were eating breakfast, walking or riding to work, going to school. At exactly 8:15 a.m. a tremendous flash erupted across the sky. Tens of thousands of people were killed instantly. Many others were burned, battered, crushed, irradiated.

Three days later at Nagasaki, Japan a second huge explosion killed, maimed and irradiated many thousands more.

The atomic age began at these two places. All together, more than 200,000 people—most of them civilians—died instantly, while tens of thousands were blasted, seared and irradiated, and would suffer until they died, too.

The bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki were made in the United States and dropped by the American military. At the time, no other nation had such weapons or even knew how to make them.

But within a few years the Soviet Union ended that monopoly. Soon afterward other nations also had nuclear weapons.

In 2002, fifty-seven years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Bush administration completed its Nuclear Posture Review (see item 1 below). A key sentence asserts: "Nuclear weapons play a critical role in the defense capabilities of the United States, its allies and friends" (2). The paper also asserts that "Nuclear attack options that vary in scale, scope and purpose will complement other military capabilities" (3).

The language is bureaucratic. In plain English:

(1) The "Nuclear Posture Review" is a U.S. government paper describing the status of the nation's nuclear weapons and its plans for them.

(2) By "critical role," the Bush administration means that it views nuclear weapons as absolutely necessary for the defense of the United States, its allies and friends. But the administration's use of the word "defense" can be misleading. Another key Bush administration military document, the National Security Strategy of the U.S., states clearly that the U.S. intends to attack first if its leaders choose to, as they did in Iraq, and may use nuclear weapons in such a preemptive attack.

(3) The administration asserts that nuclear weapons will "complement" other military powers (like ordinary bombs), and notes the varied "scale, scope and purpose" of its nuclear weapons. A one megaton nuclear bomb, for instance, equals a million tons of TNT and is 80 times as powerful as the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. If dropped over New York City—or any other city—this bomb would make the city unlivable for the unfortunate survivors. It would also irradiate and kill in places outside the geographic limits of the city. Much would depend upon how the wind was blowing and perhaps other weather conditions when the bomb exploded.

U.S. nuclear policy also calls for developing new earth-penetrating nuclear weapons; improving intelligence and targeting systems for potential nuclear weapons strikes; and the possibility of resuming nuclear weapons testing to try out new nuclear weapons and test existing ones.

Sixty-one years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States has thousands of vastly more powerful nuclear bombs than the ones that devastated those two cities. U.S. leaders are prepared to use these weapons anywhere in the world on a moment's notice. They have refused to participate in the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty or to pledge no-first-use of nuclear weapons.

Other nations possess nuclear weapons too, and are also prepared to use them. Some are allies. England, France, Israel. Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and probably North Korea have nuclear weapons. But most of the world's other nations have not developed nuclear weapons. Most are members of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which was created in 1970. The nuclear weapons states of U.S., England, France, Russia and China are also members if the NPT.

As its name indicates, the NPT's primary aim is "to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology...and to further the goal of nuclear disarmament." The basic bargain of the NPT is that non-nuclear weapons nations agree not to manufacture or import nuclear weapons. In exchange for this, the nuclear weapons nations agree (1) to provide non-nuclear nations with the technology and help they need to develop civilian uses for nuclear power, but not to provide such help to any nation that has not signed the NPT and (2) to "an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of nuclear weapons."

The NPT has worked, up to a point. Three nations did not join the treaty—India, Pakistan and Israel—and built nuclear bombs. U.S. policy has sought to accommodate these three noncompliant nations. President Bush is currently seeking to finalize a controversial nuclear deal with India (see Reading 2). Pakistan gets U.S. assistance for the "war on terror" and maintains its nuclear arsenal. And the U.S. is staunch in its support of its close ally Israel, saying nothing about Israel's possession of nuclear bombs.

However, U.S. leaders have much to say about the nuclear programs of two other nations, Iran and North Korea.

Iran is a member of the NPT and claims its nuclear program is solely for civilian energy needs. But its behavior has been suspicious and is the subject of study by the International Atomic Energy Agency and discussion by the United Nations Security Council. North Korea was a member of the NPT for years, then defied the U.S. and other nuclear powers, abandoned the treaty and announced that it had nuclear bombs.

For the past 35 years, the U.S., Russia, England, France, and China—the original nuclear proliferators—have talked about their commitment to "total elimination of nuclear weapons," but have taken little action to make that NPT goal real.

Why do nations want weapons of such incredible power and danger? A major impulse behind the U.S. effort to build the atomic bomb during World War II was fear that Germany would develop one first. But unknown to U.S. leaders, Germany had given up its attempt. After the war the Soviet Union, fearing the U.S. and vying with it for global power, became the second nuclear power.

Another motivation is the desire to be seen by potential attackers as capable of retaliating powerfully. Leaders of North Korea and Iran view the U.S. as hostile and may well want to reinforce the idea that a U.S. attack could provoke a dangerous response. In his 2002 State of the Union address, President Bush described North Korea and Iran (as well as Iraq) as being part of an "axis of evil." (Iraq later proved not to be a threat to the U.S. after all, nor to have the weapons of mass destruction that were Bush's stated reason for invading.)

Since 9/11 the U.S. has focused a great deal of attention and money on the "war on terror" and Iraq—but much less on the immense dangers of nuclear weapon proliferation.

For discussion

1. What questions do students have about the reading and how might they be answered?

2. What is the official position of the Bush administration on nuclear weapons?

3. What is the NPT and why is it so important?

4. What have been the successes of the NPT? Its failures?

5. What are some of the motivations that drive nations to build nuclear bombs?


Student Reading 2:

The U.S.-India Nuclear Deal

In 1974 India exploded a nuclear test bomb using U.S. technology it had pledged to use only for peaceful purposes. After additional Indian nuclear tests in 1998, neighboring Pakistan, with which India has fought three wars over Kashmir, also exploded nuclear test bombs.

Both India and Pakistan now have about 40 nuclear bombs. Their relations have improved in recent years, but the Kashmir dispute has not been settled. The danger of another war between the two, this time with nuclear weapons, continues.

On March 2, 2006 President Bush and Prime Minister Singh of India announced a nuclear deal that includes the following:

  • The United States will end its ban under the NPT on sales of nuclear fuel and technology to India.
  • India will separate its civilian and military nuclear programs and will classify permanently 14 of 22 nuclear power reactors as civilian facilities.
  • India will open its civilian nuclear program, but not its military program, to international inspections.

The U.S. trading nuclear technology with a non-member of the NPT requires approvals by Congress and the Nuclear Supplier Organization, a 45-nation group that regulates this trade. These approvals are uncertain and, in any case, will probably take many months.

President Bush called the deal "historic" and "one that will help both our peoples." The administration sees it as a way to open up opportunities for U.S.-India military cooperation. It would also offer profitable opportunities for American companies to sell India nuclear fuel and technology as well as conventional military hardware—planes, ships, weapons. In addition, the administration views the deal as strengthening democratic India as a counterweight to China in the balance of power in Asia.

As for the benefits to India, Amitabh Mattoo, vice chancellor of Jammu University, said, "It offers access to civilian nuclear energy, it protects your strategic program, and it mainstreams India. India couldn't have hoped for a better deal."

Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the agreement will "bring India closer as an important partner in the nonproliferation regime."

But there are plenty of critics who see the deal differently. Congressman Edward Markey (D, MA) said, "You can't break the rules and expect Iran to play by them, and that's what President Bush is doing today."

"This deal not only lets India amass as many nuclear weapons as it wants, it looks like we made no effort to try to curtail them," said George Perkovich, a vice president at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "This is Santa Claus negotiating. The goal seems to have been to give away as much as possible." ( New York Times, 3/3/06)
Critics and Supporters

Critics: India pledged to use U.S. nuclear technology for civilian purposes only but used it to explode a nuclear bomb. The U.S. and other nuclear powers then banned any further sales of nuclear materials to India. Yet, the U.S. will now resume them. This constitutes a violation of Article 1 of the NPT, which forbids the transfer of technology if that would assist or encourage nuclear weapons development. This deal will allow India to produce more nuclear bombs.

Supporters: India is a stable democracy with an excellent record in not diverting nuclear materials to other nations. R. Nicholas Burns, a U.S. under-secretary of state, said, "Is it better to maintain India in isolation, or is it better to try to bring it into the international mainstream? And the president felt the latter."

Critics: The Bush administration is supporting a double standard. India is allowed to build more nuclear weapons despite not joining the NPT. On top of that the deal gives India nuclear materials and technical assistance for its civilian nuclear program. But North Korea, Iran, and Pakistan get no such help. The Pakistan Foreign Minister has already stated that his nation expects that any "concessions and exceptions" granted to India will be extended to Pakistan as well. Wouldn't it be just as reasonable for China to sell nuclear materials to Pakistan or North Korea? Or for Russia to sell nuclear materials to Iran?

Supporters: Unlike India, North Korea and Iran are autocratic nations distrusted by most other countries because they have not kept their international commitments. For years, Pakistan's leading nuclear scientist developed a profitable business selling nuclear technology to his own and other countries.

Critics: The deal allows India to keep its military nuclear weapons program outside of international inspections, which will enable it to expand its stock of nuclear bombs more quickly. If it does so, Pakistan will certainly follow suit and perhaps China will too.

Supporters: India has demonstrated responsible nuclear behavior for more than 30 years and has not been interested in expanding its nuclear bomb stockpile. The deal gives India access to civilian nuclear energy, enabling it to reduce its oil needs and cut back its emissions of greenhouse gases, which is a benefit to the world—especially since India has huge energy needs for its rapidly growing economy.


Congress completed approval of the U.S. nuclear deal with India on October 1, 2008, after more than two years of discussions in both countries and agreement by the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Nuclear trade restrictions with India are now lifted. U.S. companies like General Electric and Bechtel as well as companies in France and Russia will now compete for as much as $175 billion that India may spend over the next 25 years to expand its nuclear industry.

"The national security and economic future of the United States will be enhanced by a strong and enduring partnership with India," said Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, called the deal a "grievous mistake" that rewards behavior by India that the U.S. and its allies had condemned.

Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Henry L. Stimson Center, a Washington research organization, said: "There will be a reckoning for this agreement. You can argue until you're blue in the face that India is a special case. But what happens in one country affects what happens in others." ( New York Times, 10/1/08)

For discussion

1. What questions do students have about the reading and how might they be answered?

2. What are the basic elements in the U.S.-India nuclear deal?

3. Why do President Bush and administration supporters favor the deal?

4. Why do critics oppose it?

5. What position do students take on the deal?

6. How would supporters of Bush's proposed India agreement answer a North Korean or Iranian leader who asks: "What right does the U.S. have to make a deal with India, a country that stayed outside the NPT and built nuclear bombs, while being hostile to us for doing the same?"

7. How might critics of the deal respond to this question? "Given the fact that India has had nuclear weapons for some time and acted responsibly with them, what's wrong with a good deal that makes India's civilian nuclear facilities subject to international inspections, that provides jobs for Americans and that will cut India's need for oil?"

8. What do you think Krepon means by his statement in reaction to the India deal? Consider, for example: What effects might the deal have in Iran? North Korea?

For continuing inquiry

1. Follow the debate over the deal with India in both the Congress and in the Nuclear Supplier Organization. In each case, what are the key issues? What evidence is there for approval or disapproval? What is your point of view?

2. What is the Pakistani response to the U.S.-India deal? The Iranian response?

3. As the director of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei could be considered to have a special interest in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons as well as in preventing their further proliferation in nations that already have them. Why does ElBaradei support the U.S.-India deal?

Student Reading 3:

Iran's Nuclear Program and Relations with the U.S.

Part One: Iran, the U.S., and Nukes

In February 2003 inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) discovered that Iran was secretly constructing a facility to enrich uranium with centrifuges—machines whose rotors spin extremely fast to concentrate or enrich a form of uranium. This substance, uranium 235, can then be used to fuel nuclear reactors for civilian energy as well as for nuclear bombs.

Later, the IAEA inspectors reported that Iran had refused them access to certain military sites and key documents in its nuclear program. Many meetings followed between IAEA and Iranian officials, members of the UN Security Council, and the U.S. and its European allies. The IAEA and these nations were suspicious about Iran's intentions because of its secrecy and because of other factors, including Iran's link to A.Q. Khan, Pakistan's leading nuclear scientist. For a number of years Khan led a very profitable effort to provide Iran, Libya, North Korea, and perhaps other nations with nuclear information and hardware.

By the spring of 2006 Iran had begun enriching uranium and was insisting on its right under the NPT to do so, but did not respond directly to IAEA charges. In its April 28 report on Iran's nuclear program, the IAEA concluded:

"All the nuclear material declared by Iran to the Agency is accounted for... However, gaps remain in the Agency's knowledge with respect to the scope and content of Iran's centrifuge program. Because of this, and other gaps in the Agency's knowledge, including the role of the military in Iran's nuclear program, the Agency is unable to make progress in its efforts to provide assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, "We would like to send this message to those who claim Iran is searching for nuclear weapons that there is no such policy and this [policy] is illegal and against our religion."

The U.S., Britain, France, and Germany said they are determined to ensure that in Iran "not one centrifuge spins." President Ahmadinejad responded that giving up enrichment "is our red line and we will never cross it." ( New York Times, 4/30/06) Even if Iran is secretly determined to build nuclear bombs, the process would take at least five to ten years for it to make even one, according to nuclear analysts.

President Bush has said he is committed to diplomatic means to resolve the dispute with Iran. "The doctrine of prevention is to work together to prevent the Iranians from having a nuclear weapon," he said after being asked if the U.S. would permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons. "I know here in Washington prevention means force; it doesn't mean force, necessarily. In this case, it means diplomacy." (4/10/06)

But investigative reporter Seymour Hersh questions the Bush administration's intentions for Iran. "The Bush administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack... There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community, that President Bush's ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change." ("The Iran Plans," The New Yorker, 4/17/06)

"Regime change" was one of the stated goals of the Bush administration before the Iraq invasion. The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, March 2006, stated, "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran... The Iranian regime sponsors terrorism; threatens Israel, seeks to thwart Middle East peace; disrupts democracy in Iraq; and denies the aspirations of its people for freedom. The nuclear issue and our other concerns can ultimately be resolved only if the Iranian regime makes the strategic decision to change these policies, open up its political system, and afford freedom to its people. This is the ultimate goal of U.S. policy."

The president dismissed reports of preparations for an air attack on Iran as "wild speculation." But he has also said, "All options are on the table." Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, said, "The Americans should know that if they assault Iran their interests will be harmed anywhere in the world that is possible." One of those interests is the safe delivery of oil through the Persian Gulf.

Efforts in the UN Security Council to halt the Iranian nuclear program face major obstacles. Russia and China have veto powers and argue that there is no specific evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. They oppose military action and economic sanctions, calling instead for continued diplomatic negotiations with Iran. U.S. officials have said that they and their allies would impose sanctions, even without Security Council approval, if Iran does not stop nuclear activities that could lead to making bombs.

The international community's record on halting nuclear weapons programs and enforcing NPT rules has been inconsistent. Israel, India, and Pakistan did not sign on to the NPT, and built nuclear bombs (though Israel has never stated officially that it has nuclear weapons). Israel suffered no penalties. The U.S. did impose economic penalties on India and Pakistan, but later dropped them despite a UN report that India was not forthright about its nuclear program. The U.S. has good relations with the three nations and recently made a deal to sell India nuclear fuel and technology (see Student Reading 2).

North Korea violated its commitment to the NPT, announced that it had built nuclear bombs and withdrew from the treaty. Officials from the U.S., North Korea, and other Asian nations have met periodically for years, but have failed to halt the North Korean nuclear program.

The major nuclear powers—the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China—say they oppose nuclear weapons proliferation. But they have not honored their pledge under Article VI of the NPT to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.

Greenpeace, an environmental organization, said, "This nuclear hypocrisy clearly demonstrates the fault line in the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty that will continue to plague the international community." (, 3/8/06)

Iranian President Ahmadinejad said, "We too demand that the Middle East be free of nuclear weapons; not only the Middle East, but the whole world should be free of nuclear weapons." (2/26/06)

Max Kampelman, head of the U.S. delegation to the negotiations on nuclear and space arms in Geneva from 1985-1989, wrote: "The United States must...undertake decisive steps to prevent catastrophe. Only we can exercise the constructive leadership necessary to address the nuclear threat... To this end, President Bush should consult with our allies, appear before the United Nations General Assembly and call for a resolution embracing the objective of eliminating all weapons of mass destruction."

"He should make clear that we are prepared to eliminate our nuclear weapons if the Security Council develops an effective regime to guarantee total conformity with a universal commitment to eliminate all nuclear arms... I am under no illusion that this will be easy. That said, the United States would bring to this endeavor decades of relevant experience, new technologies, and the urgency of self-preservation." ("Bombs Away, New York Times , 4/24/06)


For Discussion

1. What questions do students have about the reading? How might they be answered?

2. Why is the nature of Iran's nuclear program in dispute?

3. What is a key link between nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and nuclear energy to make bombs?

4. How do you assess what Hersh wrote about U.S. war plans? Take into consideration U.S. statements in the reading. If you think you need additional information, where would you look for it?

5. "All options are on the table," President Bush said. What do you understand him to mean? President Ahmadinejad said that creating nuclear weapons is "against our religion." Do you believe him? Why or why not?

6. Consider the "ultimate goal of U.S. policy" as stated in its National Security Strategy. Does it mean "regime change" for Iran? If so, by what means? If not, why not?

7. Study Iran's geographic location on a map of the Middle East. How might it interrupt or even halt oil deliveries through the Persian Gulf? Since Iran itself is also a huge oil supplier to world markets, what effects might such a blockade have?

8. What problems might there be in enforcing an economic boycott on Iran?

9. What evidence is there for what Greenpeace calls "nuclear hypocrisy"? How do you suppose U.S. leaders would answer such a charge?

10. Do you agree with the Greenpeace statement about "nuclear hypocrisy"? Why or why not?

11. What is your opinion of the Kampelman suggestions? Why?

Part Two: Iran-U.S. History

Iran is slightly larger in area than Alaska and has a population of 69 million. The religion of most of its people is Shi'a Muslim (89%) and 51% are ethnically Persian. Iran occupies a strategic location on the northern side of the Persian Gulf and can control the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40% of the world's oil exports travel. Only Saudi Arabia and Canada have greater proven oil reserves than Iran. The country also has substantial reserves of natural gas.

During World War II, Britain seized control of Iran's oil to prevent its use by Germany and to provide oil for itself and its ally, the Soviet Union. After the war Britain retained control as the cold war began and concerns grew among British and American leaders that Iran and its oil might fall under Soviet control.

In 1951 Mohammed Mossadegh led an Iranian nationalist movement to force Britain to give up control of Iran's oil. He succeeded and in 1953 became prime minister under the shah, or king. British intelligence service and, with the approval of President Eisenhower, the newly-formed American counterpart, the CIA, joined in a plot to overthrow Mossadegh, regain Western control of the oil and strengthen the shah as a ruler who would support its interests.

Several months of instability and power conflicts followed. Under the leadership of Kermit Roosevelt, President Theodore's Roosevelt's grandson, the CIA plot included hiring Iranians to incite mobs to burn the offices of a newspaper owned by Mossadegh's foreign minister and pro-communist newspapers that supported Mossadegh. The CIA also hired Iranians to pose as communists and attack Muslims, in at least one case bombing a Muslim home—all to create a backlash against the Mossadegh leadership.

On August 19, 1953, the shah had gained enough control to have Mossadegh and his leading supporters jailed. The shah stepped into office, and the Western oil interests and the shah's friendly rule were secure for 26 years. During this period, the shah ruled autocratically and worked to modernize Iran. Iranians hated Savak, his repressive secret police, and many also resented his secular policies. ( New York Times, 4/16/2000)

In 1979 the shah was ousted in a popular revolt that brought orthodox Shi'a Islamic rule to Iran under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini. That same year Iranian students attacked what they regarded as a "nest of spies," the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, seized 52 American hostages and held them for 444 days. President Jimmy Carter ordered an attempt to rescue them that failed.

Bad U.S.-Iran relations were fueled further during a 1980-1988 war between Iran and Iraq initiated by Saddam Hussein. Under President Reagan, the U.S. "tilted" toward Iraq, for his administration regarded Iran as the greater threat to American interests. The president's special envoy to the Middle East, Donald Rumsfeld, met with Saddam Hussein in 1983 and was instrumental in supplying Iraq with U.S. military intelligence about Iran, advice, and weaponry. Though the State Department condemned Iraq's use of poison gas against Iranian troops, the U.S. continued its support for Iraq. The war ended inconclusively.

In President Bush's 2002 State of the Union address he named Iran, as well as Iraq and North Korea, as an "axis of evil." The U.S. calls Iran a state sponsor of terrorism, notably of Hezbollah, a militant Islamic organization founded in Lebanon to fight the Israeli occupation in southern Lebanon. Iran, like Hezbollah, supports Hamas, the organization that recently won control of the Palestinian government and that the U.S. and other nations also call a terrorist group. Iranian President Ahmadinejad has been repeatedly denounced Israel, a very close U.S. ally. (

Since 1988 the real power in Iran has continued to be a council of Shiite clerics and its supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It is he and not the civilian leader, President Ahmadinejad, who makes the crucial decisions for the country.

For Discussion

Divide the class into five groups, each to discuss the following question. Each group should select a moderator to ensure that each student has a chance to speak, and a reporter to summarize for the rest of the class the conclusions of the group.

Consider key moments in the U.S.-Iran relationship:
1) the CIA-led overthrow of Iran's Mossadegh government
2) U.S. support for the shah
3) the hostage crisis in Tehran
4) U.S. support for Saddam Hussein
5) President Bush's inclusion of Iran in the "axis of evil"

How do you explain the behavior of U.S. leaders in each case? Do you support that behavior? Why or why not?

For writing

Imagine yourself an Iranian who keeps a diary. Select one of the key moments in the U.S.-Iran relationship and write one well-developed paragraph on what is happening and how you feel about it.

For Further Inquiry

  • A.Q Khan network
  • Reporter Seymour Hersh's allegations
  • Aims of the Mossadegh government
  • Rule of the Shah of Iran
  • 1979 Khomeini revolution
  • Hostage crisis
  • Reagan support for Iraq in its war with Iran
  • Hezbollah
  • Hamas

For Citizenship

Write a letter or e-mail to the president or one of your senators about either the U.S. deal with India or the unresolved situation with Iran. In a well-developed paragraph or two, express your views about what the US should do.


This lesson was written for TeachableMoment.Org, a project of Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility. We welcome your comments. Please email them to: