Anybody under the age of 50 is accustomed to thinking about Iran as a radical Islamic country that has spread terror across the Middle East and poses a threat to the Western world via it’s nuclear ambitions. But it has not always been like that. Before 1979, it was actually one of the most progressive countries in the Middle East, with a rather open door to Western businesses that worked on reaching it’s population.
Iran was ruled by the Shah of Iran – a King who was not universally adored by his people. But he was a more open-minded ruler than nearly any other leader in the Middle East. Actually, most American Presidents, with a few exceptions, found him to be a good person to work with. All over the world today, there are Iranian refugees who proudly feature a picture of the Shah in their houses, restaurants, and storefronts. He represents the good old days, when Iran was a good country to live in.
But all of this changed in 1979, when the Ayatollahs took over and the revolution ensued. Ayatollah Khomeini stamped out any opposition with a ferocity that scared away any further opposition. Iran and Iraq became embroiled in a years-long conflict that cost hundreds of thousands of lives. What was accomplished between the two countries after all of that fighting is arguably nothing. Basically, Iranians largely have suffered under the iron hand of the Ayatollahs. And they know that it doesn’t have to be like that. Their parents tell them that Iran has a glorious past, and potentially a glorious future. The Middle East is changing. Iran may be the last domino, but it can change too. It did in 1979.