UC Santa Barbara historian Nancy Gallagher will provide a thumbnail history of Iran in her presentation titled "U.S. Policy and Iran: An Evolving Relationship," the first talk in the 1998-99 UCSB Town Forum series. Among the topics Gallagher will cover are the Iran-Contra arms affair, the Islamic Revolution, the Iran-Iraq War, and the recent partial thaw in U.S.-Iran relations. She will also examine economic factors and domestic special interest groups that may influence U.S. foreign policy in Iran.
"In May 1986, a six-man U.S. teamapproved by President Ronald Reaganwent to Tehran bearing gifts to their Iranian diplomatic counterparts. The gifts were a chocolate cake prepared by a kosher bakery in Tel Aviv, a set of presentation pistols, and some spare parts for U.S.-supplied Iranian missiles. The 'gifts' were given to free U.S. hostages then held in Lebanon," said Gallagher, citing the 12-year-old incident as "only one episode in the Iran-Contra arms affairs and in the long history of perplexing U.S.-Iran political relations that has been characterized by inexperience, naïveté, corruption, and paranoia on both sides."
Gallagher, whose current research interest is the international human rights movement, is the author of "Medicine and Power in Tunisia, 1780-1900" (Cambridge U. Press, 1983), "Egypt's Other Wars: Epidemics and the Politics of Public Health" (Syracuse U. Press, 1990), and "Approaches to the Study of the Middle East: Interviews with Leading Middle East Historians" (Ithaca Press, 1994).
Gallagher's talk will be at 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at the University Club, located at 1332 Santa Barbara Street. The town forum series is sponsored by the UCSB General Affiliates to bring local community and UCSB faculty members together to discuss timely issues. The public may call 893-4388 for information. Reservations are not necessary.