The Daie Jan Napoleon complex is one extreme and your philosophy of self blame is the other. The colonial era was real and today overt colonialism has been replaced by economic imperialism. Can you blame Iranians for being conquered by the Macedonian Greeks under Alexander, can you blame them for being conquered by the Monguls, can you blame them for the British putting in Reza Shah and the Americans putting in Shah Reza?
Actually during the reign of Shah Tamasp, the Iranians were able to cleverly keep the Ottomans at bay. When Iranians were left alone they flourished during the Achmenian era and during the Safavid era. When else have they ever been left alone?
The current situation must be taken in the context of what happened under the Pahlavi era. I keep reading nostalgic sentimental pieces complete with photos of the wonderful royal family submitted by disenfranchised monarchists lately but if things were so good why was there a revolution, why was their torture and Savak and all the wealth in the hands of 2% and the majority of the population illiterate in a country with probably the second largest oil reserves in the world? Why was there press censorship and only one political party allowed?
The opportunistic mullahs took over after the revolution had already been fought in what I consider a coup d'etat. If the majority of the population had been better educated they never would have succumbed to religious fundamentalism. Why in Iraq, which was more socialist than Iran, even under its US puppet Saddam was there no illiterarcy?
Besides there is a world wide rise in religious fundamentalism and it is not confined to Islam. It is a reaction to the rate of change that the global economy and industrialization are imposing on everyone. It is nothing less than future shock when reactionaries want to return to archaic beliefs. of course in Iran the mullahs are all getting filthy rich at the people's expense.
As you rightly point out the Western countries are more or less living in a state of truce in the aftermath of WWII which was the most devastating war in human history and they are not anxious to repeat it. The Cold War ended only because the USSR went broke before the USA did…
I am not an apologist for the IRI. The mullahs and their basijis operate outside the rule of law and the number of people who have been assassinated, tortured, imprisoned and executed far exceeds that of the Pahlavi era. The restrictions and cencorship also exceed anything imposed by the Pahlavis. However by the same token, the amount of Iran bashing going on in the West particularly by the USA which is pressuring world opinion into endorsing another invasion is not being done for any enlightened desire to help the Iranian people gain democracy.
Notice every nation that the USA turns into a bogeyman happens to be one that is sitting on or in the path of large oil or gas reserves. The US administration is hanging onto this nuclear threat thing like a dog shaking a bone and using that spectre just like they used the WMD scare to justify invading Iraq.
Notice that most of the terrorists were created by the CIA. I swear sometimes I think Osama is still on their payroll. Look at all the opportunity and jobs that the war on terrorism has created, a whole new layer of bureaucracy in the Homeland Security Agency, new blood for the intelligence community and the military and the defense contractors… for them it has been a boon at the tax payers expense and the next generation's economic future has been mortgaged by the largest national deficit in US history to be matched by the largest defence budget in US history and in the world combined.
The USA is angry that they lost all their oil and economic concessions with the overthrow of the Pahlavis and is out for revenge.When the US gets kicked out of a little country, they never forget. Look at Cuba. The only reason they've forgiven China from the time of the Boxer Rebellion when she kicked the Americans out in the 1920's is that they are afraid of her and she is the second largest holder after Japan of our foreign debt. The Europeans and the Japanese have too many oil deals with the IRI to want it overthrown. They have too much at stake.
I will tell you that I was in Iran during and four months after the revolution and the majority of the people hate these mullahs. Do you really think they could have stayed in power had it not been for foreign interference or intervention? I think you have it backwards. It is foreign intervention that has been keeping the IRI alive. The 10 year silent war with Iraq was perpetrated by the US government which sold both sides arms and it served the mullahs interests as well, of staying in power by keeping the revolution alive since they had no real mandate or program for a domestic economy at peace.
Let us not paint the West as perfect or so advanced in the ways of democracy. As far as I am concerned in the USA which is the most capitalistic nation on earth, democracy has been replaced by corporate oligarchy… does anyone in the working class or middle class really feel their needs are being met by this government?
Bush in “fighting terrorists” has begun to resemble one. Never, not even in the McCarthy era have such incursions been made against our civil liberties as now. People are just starting to wake up to it and a few senators are realizing that he has publically admitted to having committed impeachable offences against our constitution.
So you see my friend even in a country which has long maintained the reputation albeit self proclaimed for being the last great bastion of democracy, we too are our own worst enemy… people don't even bother to vote and they let ignoramuses gain the highest offices in the land where they can best serve their wealthiest constituents rather than the majority.