Iran is a nation surrounded on all sides by some of the States deemed most threatening to World order in recent years, its decline from democracy to an extremist Theocracy earning strict UN supervision, economic sanctions and a place among George W. Bush's "Axis of Evil." Iran's path to peaceful Democracy was interrupted by a Coup in the 1950's, following the occupation of the Allies during World War II. The Prime Minister was deposed by the Shah, and with backing from the CIA and British Intelligence forces, a new Prime Minister was installed with close Western ties. In the face of the aggressive West-oriented autocracy of the Shah's ministry, the people of Iran turned to conservative Religion, establishing a Theocratic Republic of Islam via Referendum through the 1979 Revolution. .
Relations between the US and Iran became strained from this point forward, the Iranian Hostage Crisis and Iranian relations with Islamic Fundamentalist groups such as Hezbollah indicating the direction in which the newly founded Islamic Republic would head. In just years, Iran had ceased to be the "Island of stability in the troubled Middle East" that US President Jimmy Carter proclaimed, and instead became a nation near the top of the most threatening to World Order. Iran's insolence was rewarded with US applied Sanctions and oil embargoes, beginning in 1980 amid mounting pressure from the citizens of the United States for President Carter to take action. The President faced what has been described as an 'impossible situation"; the American public called for harsh reactionary measures against Iran, which in reality were far too risky and could mean the deaths of thousands, including the hostages. The sanctions proved effective upon their use as a bargaining chip to negotiate the release of all hostages in 1981, minutes after the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. .
Sanctions resumed with increased ferocity during the Reagan administration, with extensive sanctions including even items which can be adapted for military purposes, such as scuba gear.