An education on the real Iran
Thank you for the Dec. 23 cover story, "7 days in Iran." I visited Iran with a small group of Americans in 2010, led by an Iranian American. I enjoyed coming home to tell people that Iran was the friendliest country I have ever been in. Day after day, all day, people would pause on the street or stop by our table in a restaurant and greet us with smiles, saying, "Thank you for coming. Please tell more Americans to come!"
Americans have not forgotten the shock of having our embassy and diplomats taken hostage; Iranians also have some memories. They remember (not all Americans do) that our Central Intelligence Agency staged a coup in 1953 that ousted their legally elected prime minister and returned to power an increasingly despotic shah.
They remember that the United States supported Iraq in its brutal war against Iran. Israelis remember the more recent rantings of former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but they should also remember that some 50 years ago Israel was assuring the US that it would never build a nuclear bomb and wanted the technology only to desalinate seawater. Israelis must also remember that Israel engaged in some lucrative sales of arms and materiel to Iran even after the 1979 revolution.
One day our group paused our van at the side of the road and met a family picnicking by a mountain stream. The man told us that, prior to the revolution, he had worked with Americans and missed them. His wife handed out oranges from her basket and told us, "In Iran, everything is good except the government. But governments come and go; the people stay." We need to remember the people.
Bernice L. Youtz
I have subscribed to the Monitor for many years. This piece is one of the best articles you have ever published. Too many stories in other publications fail by trying to say too much. This piece was clearly written to educate (without preaching to) readers in a straightforward and uncomplicated way.
Dividing the story into seven concise substories, each focused on one subject, separate but clearly related in the context of the whole country, made it even more readable.
Stephen M. Arnold