What kind of country is Iran?

For reasons which I don’t have to explain, the country of Iran is now in news headlines around the world. But what do you actually know about this powerful yet opaque nation?

There are two ways of looking at Iran.

First, we can look at the history and politics of this complex country. I have reviewed two useful books and you can read my reviews here.

I wrote:

“The system of government that Khomeini instituted and which is still in force today is known as velayat-e faqih which translates as ‘the regency of the theologian’. It is a stark contrast and contradiction to the historic position of the Islamic clergy which can be charaterised as ‘quietism’ – the belief that the world of the spiritual and the political should remain separate. A fundamental feature of the system of velayat-e faqih is a structure of power which runs parallel to the regular police and army, based around the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, a body created by Khomeini and now involving a domestic security force called the Basij and a force supporting overseas’ operations called the Quds (Jerusalem), numbering in total some 125,000.”

Second. we can look at the people and places that make up this fascinating nation. I have visited the country and you can read my account here.

I concluded:

“We loved Iran. It delivered all that we wanted in terms of fascinating ancient sites and fabulous Islamic architecture without presenting any administrative or political difficulties. Above all, the people were so welcoming and friendly. The country has enormous potential as a tourist destination but, so long as it retains its current policies in relation to the development of nuclear weapons and the promotion of Middle Eastern terrorism, it will be the subject of international opprobrium and tourists will stay away. That would be a shame. The country has so much to offer and its people want you to go there.”


XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>