There is a general hatred of Iran that festers in the United States. This hatred is constantly stoked by the political right and it surfaces now more than ever, due to the recent nonproliferation talks and the “deal with Iran” that everyone on the right seems to call such a “bad deal” without providing substance as to why.
I was stationed as a soldier at Luke AFB in Arizona in the late 1970s. We were training Iranian pilots in American fighter jets then!
It all came apart in the late 1970s, and on November 4, 1979, under President Carter, the Iranian revolutionists captures 52 American diplomats and took them hostage for 444 days. The hostages were released “coincidentally” the day Reagan took office.
According to Wikipedia:
Fifty-two American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days (November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981), after a group of Iranian students, belonging to the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line, who were supporting the Iranian Revolution, took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
This is when our hatred of Iran started, over 35 years ago. When it happened, I had Iranian friends from my time as an exchange student. Of course, we lost all contact.
This got me thinking about Iran and its people.
Here is a population chart as of 2011 – which is the most recent data I could find (Wikipedia):
As of 2011, there were about 75 million people in Iran. It’s by far the largest Middle Eastern country.
About 48 million Iranians, or 64 percent of all of them, or about two-thirds, were born after the hostage crisis. They do not know an Iran of the pre-revolutionary time.
About 62 million Iranians (all those highlighted in yellow) were about 15 years old or younger or not born at the time of the revolution. That’s a full 83 percent who were either children or not even born then.
Only 17% of all Iranians are therefore old enough now to have realistic memories of the time before the revolution.
I am personally older than 68 million Iranians or 91 percent of all of them.
And this is all data as of 2011. By 2015, there are probably about 5 million more – so the numbers are even worse.
The vast majority of Iranians are young people who want peace, stability, prosperity, education for themselves and their children. They don’t want war with America or anyone else. They want to travel, they want to visit the Grand Canyon and New York City, like all the people in Japan and China and France and Germany. They want to live normal lives, without hunger, censorship, and religious oppression.
In a few more years, all the old wackos will be dead and the only people left are the young generations.
We should watch Iran closely, but we should give them a chance to join the community of civilized nations, those that don’t preemptively invade or attack other sovereign nations, like we…
— hmmm, I guess not like we.
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