The trip has long been over. The killer jet lag, three days of 14-18 hours of sleep a night, and all the other symptoms of travelling halfway around the world in less than a day (The travel agent refused to give me a one day layover in Amsterdam) have abated. I've ticked another country off the list, and after a few months of reflection, it's time to sum up.
As I said before, Iran isn't Persia. Persia is a nation with a thousands-year-old history that's fully capable of integrating itself into the modern world. It's got the technology to do it; it's full of intelligent people with a zest for life and a love of culture. It's a nation that wants to be a friend of ours and that should be.
Iran is a corrupt, terrorist state that enjoys hurting people. Look what it's done to Iraq and Lebanon. The theocracy has managed to have a toothless toy democracy as a loincloth to cover its privates.
Mahmud Ahmadinejad, the puppet president of Iran, has announced that he's going to run for a second term, and that's his right. He's an annoying buffoon, but we can't and shouldn't stop him. The question is not what we're going to have to do about HIM, but what we're going to have to do with his master, über-fürer Ali Khamenei, who had appointed himself to the job and threatens to remain there for life (almost twenty years so far). He's part of the group of thugs in antique clothing that defrauded Persia when the people demanded democracy and overthrew a tyrant.
We can't get rid of him, of course. In 1953, the CIA sent Teddy Roosevelt's grandson Kim, with nothing but a suitcase full of cash to get rid of a semi-democratically elected prime minister, and he did, but only because the powers that be in Iran, including the prime minister being deposed, permitted it. Mohammed Reza Shah fled in 1979 because Jimmy Carter refused to support him, and that caused all the trouble.
The Russians and the Brits have really good relations with Iran. The Russians helped install Reza Khan and the Brits got rid of him. Eisenhower sent Kim Roosevelt to Tehran as a favor to Winston Churchill. Stalin occupied much of Northern Iran during the 1940s, but they have very good relations with the Iranian government. The Soviets were the main backers of Israel during its first five years of existence.
So why is it just US who's picked out as the Great Satan? Diversion mostly. If they refuse to talk to us, and go around shooting missiles and enriching uranium, they can go around saying..."Those bastard Americans are picking on us for no reason!" and all the problems like inflation, energy and the environment (to be fair, they've been pretty good on that) and feel like a righteous victim. But the Persians, Azeris, Kurds, Jews and others know what the real deal is. Unfortunately, the Mullahs haven't agreed to go, and unlike the Shah, don't care if a Jimmy Carter is going to withhold his support or nor.
Iran's like Burma in that way. Myanmar goes under the wrong name as well.
The simple fact is that as long as the US president refuses to publicly kiss Khamenei's private parts, it's not going to get any better. Bush and Rice announced that they were considering reopening the old embassy as a consulate, and the authorized Iranian chattering classes went ballistic. "Mossadeq! Mossadeq! Mossadeq!" thundered the editorial pages (or at least in the three English newspapers that they give out to tourists in the fancy hotels) How dare they after what they did to Mossadeq" The Mullahs like Mossadeq less than the Shah did. Rice publically changed her mind on the subject and Hillary Clinton has yet to make a pronouncement. We should have a consulate in Teheran, we have one in Havana and we won't even let tourists into Cuba. In order for Persians to get into the US, they have to go to Turkey or Bahrain and get a visa there. It's really dumb.
But the Mullahs like it that way. They enjoy being the New Soviet Union and have dreams of the way things were back in the old days when Cyrus the Great ruled from the Danube to the Indus. The people, on the other hand, just want to be a first world country like Poland, Japan or Turkey...and they deserve to be.
A Persian republic would be a threat to nobody militarily; it really has no conflicts with anyone that can't be overlooked. It's a large country rich in resources that full of friendly, intelligent people. The problem is that it's ruled by Iranians, and there's nothing we can do about that anymore.