Many years ago, when I was a student, I read an article about Iran in a foreign magazine that I think was Harper's. Two Western journalists, who were travelling across South Asia and the Middle East, were reporting each week about a country they had just visited.That week they wrote about Iran, how they entered the country from Zahedan border, traveled across the country, and left Rezaieh to enter Turkey.
After giving some demographic information about Iran, size, neighbor countries, population, ethnic groups, language, religion, climate, natural resources, etc., they wrote about Iranian people, how kind and hospitable they were. After driving for several hours in the desert kavirs, when they would get to a location with a couple of trees, where a few poor farm families lived, they would be invited in and offerred food, which was usually tea and some bread.
They mentioned, “majority of Iranians are Moslem, but they respect other minor religions in Iran and live peacefully with them”. They wrote “Iranians are strong individuals but weak in teamwork.This is reflected in their sports too, where they have achieved international medals in wrestling and weight lifting, but not in basketball, football (soccer), etc.”
They wrote, “Iranians are extremly emotional. When they loose someone, they mourn for a long time, and at wedding or other joyful occasions, they celebrate for a long time. Because they have been invaded by enemies many times during their long history, they are always suspicious of others. They say, this eye should not trust the other eye, or a brother should not trust his brother”.
As I was reading the article, being young and naive, I liked and would agree with the parts that sounded good to my ear, such as kind, hospitable, tolerant of other religions, but I thought the parts about Iranians being over emotional, suspicious of others, bad in teamwork,etc., were nonsense and not correct!
Now that I am older and a little wiser, I think everything in that article was true. We Iranians are extremely emotional, and have a hard time to think rationally. That is why we can easily be manipulated by those who don't have our best interest in mind. We can not work as a team for our common good. We don't admit to our mistakes, and don't try to learn from them. That is why every few decades we go though a cycle of self-destruction, and loose everything that we have achieved.