On December 8, 1953, President Eisenhower delivered his Atoms for Peace speech. Eisenhower believed the sharing of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes would limit the development of nuclear weapons.
In 1967, the Johnson administration gave Iran a five-megawatt nuclear reactor. In order to make the reactor operational, Iran was also given weapons-grade enriched uranium.
In the mid 1970s, dozens of Iranian students trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before returning home to work in Iran’s nuclear program.
I first learned about America’s involvement in the creation of Iran’s nuclear program from an NPR podcast called Born in the USA: How America Created Iran’s Nuclear Program.
To learn more about the history of Iran’s nuclear program read Sixty Years of Atoms for Peace and Iran’s Nuclear Program from the Brookings Institution.