As an American citizen, I'm well aware of the bad blood between the U.S. and Iran, dating back to the U.S. support of the the Shah Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi, the Iranian Revolution, and the Iranian Hostage Crisis that followed.
What I don't understand is why, 38 years after the Iranian Revolution, the U.S. government still considers the Islamic Republic of Iran to be an enemy. Iran is one of the more stable nations in the region; they have a well-educated population.
Instead, the U.S. focuses on working with Saudi Arabia, a country that (to my understanding) is an absolute monarchy; has a significantly worse record on human rights than Iran; and reportedly has been home to a significant number of the terrorists who attacked U.S. interests and landmarks in the 1990s and early 2000s.
I'm also aware of the fact that Iran does not recognize Israel, a long-time American ally, and has supported several groups (namely Hamas and Hezbollah) that are responsible for attacks in that country. But these strike me as issues that would be best resolved through actual diplomatic negotiation, instead of a harsh anti-America/Iran rhetoric.
Is there something I'm missing? Because by all accounts, Iran appears to be much closer to the U.S. ideal of a strategic partner in the Middle East than Saudi Arabia.