Iranians are not what so many people think they are. They are a very ancient culture, and only part of the country can be classified as radicalized Muslims. Iran used to be a very different kind of country – that is until 1979. That was the big turning point.
The Hostage Crisis in Iran
The end of the Jimmy Carter presidency was marred by the tragic hostage crisis in Iran. Jimmy Carter’s presidency was not a time when the United States had many international crises. It was a time when the Democrats capitalized on the weak presidency of Gerald Ford and rose to power. But in the end, the Carter presidency seemed even weaker, and that led to the ascendancy of Ronald Reagan who supported a tougher stance against the Soviet Union.
The Ayatollahs seized power in 1979 and quickly turned Iran into a backward country. Their goal was clearly to reverse the advances that had taken place in Iran in the previous decades. Modernization was the enemy – unless it was being used to build things like nuclear weapons. More than 200 American hostages were taken by the Ayatollah regime and paraded around with blindfolds. The crisis lasted for many months and was a constant source of embarrassment for the American people to the whole world. An attempt to go in and rescue them was a total failure and that only compounded the issue. Ultimately, the hostages did come home after the election of Ronald Reagan, but before Reagan formally took office. But the damage was done. Iran was a dangerous and radical country to avoid and modernization was only part of their history.
Today, there is a chance for a reverse revolution. Will the US and the rest of the world stand with the brave protesters and bring down the regime? They should. It won’t be pretty, but the alternative is much much worse.