Sunday, March 16, 2008

A View From Inside Iran

A close and exceptionally intelligent friend of mine recently returned from a visit to Iran and shared some thoughts that I wanted to quote directly here:

The [Iranian] people are nothing like we (Americans in general) think they are. Everyone I meet is very excited when I tell them I am American. Without fail, they always smile and they all tell me that they want to visit my country and that I am very welcome here.

I know the relationship between our governments is complex and highly confrontational, but the Iranian people couldn't be more different from the image we have of them back in the states.

I have even spoken with members of the Revolutionary Guard who smile often and enjoy practicing their English. They tell me that I am a very welcome in Iran.

They don't understand why Americans are so afraid to travel to Iran. I explain to them the problems between our governments and they all seem to agree that that is
a shame.

I have also sensed that the conservative brand of Islam projected by the Ayatollahs is not as popular as it was a generation ago. Most of the country is very young and was born after the Shah's departure and were either not born yet or were very young during the Iran/Iraq war, so the revolution doesn't mean for them what it did for the older generation.

I think Iran will be moving in a positive direction over time.

I considered using my friend's thoughts to launch a longer essay on how the United States should approach Iran going forward, but I am going to let his thoughts stand on their own.

Besides, I have already written two pieces encouraging us to talk to Iran and a proposal for how we might go about it.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

So the populace is mostly made of decent people who are proud of their country and just want a good life, while the government is run by corrupt conservatives who hide behind religion and use fear to manipulate the people. Where have I heard this before...?