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Iran, revisited

Loads and loads of very bad things are written about Iran these days. Nearly all of them rightfully so.

However, few of them take the particularity of the Iranian situation into account. Let me quote myself:

Iranians like jews, they even guarantee seats in the parlement specifically for jews. Admittedly, jews don’t have the same rights as Muslims. Iranians don’t agree with the current situation in Israel.

Iranians like Americans. The Americans I’ve met in Iran were extremy positive about their reception (even at the border).

American products are cherished by Iranians. Both are a miracle as the USA overthrew the legally elected government in Iran in 1954 (headed by the Times man-of-the-year Mossadegh), categorised Iran in the “axis of evil” when it had its most pro-western and peace loving government in decades, the Iran-contra affair, shot down of the civilian IranAir flight 655 (290 people on board) by the US navy most advanced warship. Surprisingly, you’ll find amazing similarities between the ideas of American Christians evangelicals (and tea party movement) and the current situation in Iran.

Iran is not agressive: it hasn’t attacked anoyher country for centuries and its military budget is only 2,7% of GDP. As an indication, the USA spends every two weeks in Iraq alone what Iran spends in a year. This despite that Iran has been occuppied by Russians, British and was under attack of Iraq and had operations on its soil by the USA.

Iran doesn’t have nuclear weapons (yet). The [] region’s main countries (India, Pakistan, Israel, Russia and USA) all have these weapons. Moreover, Iran is an importer of fossil fuels (they lack refinery capacity for their oil), therefore nuclear energy really is important to them.

Some of the kindest people I’ve met on this trip are Iranians. None of them support the atrocities of their government. Actually, very few people in Iran do. Just like in almost every major country around the globe: 2012 is an election year in which light recent developments should be seen. The past has consistently shown that the stronger the foreign pressure on Iranian politics, the stronger the Iranian extremists become. Let’s all be smart this time.

If you’ve got some spare time please read the original 1, 2, 3 stories on Iran. Much better still, read these truly great books The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: the paradox of modern Iran and it’s terrific follow up: The Ayatollah’s Democracy: an Iranian challenge

For more travel stories, please have a look at www.gijsbos.com

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