A commentator on my post, "Two more reasons to crush Iran with sanctions," wonders why I "have a deep hatred for Iran." My response to this accusation is as follows: I do not have any feelings of hate for Iran at all. Iran is one of the great nations of the world... and one of the most ancient.
The people of Iran, espcially those known as Persians, are among the most educated, cultured, and literate people anywhere. Their love of music and poetry thrives and web sites can be found filled with their wonderful verse. In contrast to many other peoples in the Middle East (and beyond to Afghanistan and Pakistan) the Iranian people are forward-looking and, by nature, optimistic. They welcome the technology and advances in science and medicine that come from the West and are open to borrow and adapt and absorb much more of our culture into their own.
They do not wish to BE a western culture but they are secure and confident enough in their own way of life to pick and choose and revise and rework what they see as useful and good for themselves and their own life as Iranians and/or Persians. After suffering from the unwelcomed abuse of power by the secular Shah, they longed for greater freedom to express themselves and to have a government that affirmed and reflected their religious (Shia Muslim) faith along with their historic openness and tolerance of other native faiths, including Judaism, Baha'i, and Christianity in its various forms.
What they got instead was the revolutionary, fundamentalist, theocratic rule of sharia as interpreted by the Ayatollah Khomeini. The historic culture was replaced by a new and oppressive culture of intolerance, terror and oppression. Instead of being a nation among nations they became, overnight, a nation against the world... a nation ruled by ayatollahs consumed with a vision of turning the world into what they had created in Iran... an Islamist Shiite world order, so to speak.
To distract the people from their own oppression, the people of Iran were treated to incessant diatribes of America as the "Great Satan" and Israel as the bane of the Muslim world... a Zionist malignancy determined to corrupt and destroy the Muslim world. Enough Iranians bought into this demagoguery to provide the militant muscle needed to keep the dissidents at bay and secure the absolute rule of the mullahs and their political representatives. The rest of the Iranian people have had to tough things out and get by as best they can under extremely difficult circumstances.
The mullahs' authority was greatly strengthened when Saddam Hussein invaded Iran. The war that followed served to galvanize the Iranian people behind a common patriotic cause and provided the veneer or support needed to keep the mullahs in full control of the people.