30 May 2019

Iran in pictures

If the Trump regime drags us into another war, it's quite likely that Iran will be the target, given that country's status as Bolton's current bogeyman and the major object of Trump's belligerent rhetoric and recent aggressive moves.  As the Middle East is the region I know best, I hope this post will give you some impression of the country they'd be taking us to war against (click images for bigger versions).

Tehran, the capital city:

Tehran's metro-area population is 16 million, larger than any US metro area except New York.


Maydan-e Shâh (Royal Square), Isfahan:

Traditional dresses (this is a Persian New Year celebration):

Protester helping injured police officer during the 2009 anti-regime demonstrations:

Satellite dishes (to access foreign TV) are a common sight in Iran:

Children's play area, shopping mall, Shiraz:
Yes, a dinosaur.  Iran teaches evolution in its schools without equivocation, making it more modern in this respect than some areas of the US.  (As I noted last Sunday, Iran's abortion law is also much more liberal than what Republicans are pushing in the US.)

Borj-e Âzâdî (Persian history monument), Tehran:

Ruins of Persepolis (Takht-e Jamshîd), the imperial capital founded by King Darius I around 515 BC (the columns in the background are over 60 feet tall):
The Iranian sense of national identity is very deep-rooted, reaching back to the coronation of Cyrus the Great in 559 BC, more than 300 years before China first became a unified state.

This is Mohammed Mosaddegh, Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953:
Mosaddegh led the first serious attempt to bring real democracy to Iran and expel foreign domination, only to be overthrown by the US/British-backed coup of 1953 which restored the rule of the Shah.  Most Americans have barely heard of him, but this history is well-known in Iran.

Iraq-Iran geographical size comparison:
Much of Iran's terrain is far more rugged and mountainous than most of Iraq is.  Iraq at the time of the 2003 US invasion had a population of about 18 million.  Iran's current population is 83 million, about equal to Germany, or one-fourth the population of the US.  Per-capita income at purchasing-power parity is about $20,000, similar to Mexico or Romania and about one-third that of the US.

Cruise missile based on Russian model:
Iran has been preparing for a possible US attack for years, focusing mostly not on high-tech but on asymmetric warfare designed to overwhelm US ships' defenses by swarm attacks of small boats and rockets.

And of course one cannot ignore pictures like this:
The struggle against the brutal theocratic regime is an ongoing one.  The 2009 demonstrations were the largest protest marches in the history of the world, drawing crowds in the millions.  The current President, Hassan Rouhani, is a reformist who has made some substantial changes, but Islamist hard-liners control much of the government, and recent US belligerence has strengthened their position.  It is very unlikely that an attack by a foreign power, especially one still resented for the 1953 coup, would improve the situation.

[Re-posted with some modifications from February 2017 -- there are a lot of new readers since then, and this seems newly topical given the recent escalation of tensions.]


Anonymous NickM said...

Iran has a lot wrong about it but by ME standards... Well, you correctly highlight Iran's almost unique status in the region as a "proper" country rather than a gaff cobbled together by external treaties from the remains of the Ottoman Empire. Moreover the UK/US backing of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a very nasty theocracy engaged in, what seems to me, war crimes in Yemen. War crimes committed largely with UK/US weapons. It's insane.

31 May, 2019 01:16  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

Holy moly that's a lot of satellite dishes.

31 May, 2019 08:10  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Nick: There are some other, what I would call, real nations there -- Turkey, Egypt, Israel. Saudi Arabia is a family business -- they even slapped the family name on it. And one of the nastiest regimes in the area, which probably couldn't even have survived without US support.

Mary: All the more striking since that looks like a pretty poor area to me. But from what I hear, "official" Iranian TV is terrible -- way too many religious programs, with mullahs ranting about things. No wonder they prefer to get satellite dishes so they can watch Game of Thrones or Star Trek.

31 May, 2019 18:45  
Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Cheeto would go to war with anyone to distract from his Ponzi schemes. Unfortunately, it does seem that’ll be Iran: it has all the markings his racist admirers will use to justify it.


31 May, 2019 20:00  
Anonymous NickM said...

I dunno... Israel I'll give you. Egypt is not exactly ME, it's Africa (I'm arguably being pedantic there) and Turkey is a tricky one... Part of it is in Europe of course and then the Eastern bits are a bit dodgy what with the Kurds and stuff.

01 June, 2019 01:54  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Sixpence: There's one hopeful point -- it's mostly Bolton driving this, not Trump. Trump is more an isolationist than a warmonger by instinct.

Nick: Egypt is definitely considered part of the Middle East -- the Middle East is a cultural/historical region not connected with divisions between continents. Actually the cultural region extends clear across to Morocco -- in academia we used to say "Middle East and North Africa" (MENA for short). The Sahara is the real cultural divide, not the Mediterranean.

01 June, 2019 04:25  
Blogger RO said...

Wow! I've bookmarked this page because you've shared some very interesting and pertinent information. I sure hope war does not come to fruition. Hugs...RO

01 June, 2019 08:39  
Blogger dellgirl said...

What an interesting post. It is so full of valuable information for those that don't keep up with this kind of information.

Thank you for putting this together and for sharing it. I learned a lot here. Keep up the good work!

Wishing you all the best!

01 June, 2019 18:16  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

I have talked about this quite a bit with a buddy (Nima) who was born and raised in Tehran, he loves his country, of course, but hates who is running his country, and very concerned over this. After his service in the Iranian military (not sure what branch, but he was a sniper), he was sent to trade school by the government, which was ran by Hyundai auto (their South Korean as far as I know, but I guess, set up shop in Iran, according to what Nima tells me)... became a master mechanic, which is what he does in Dallas. But, he thinx that U.S. is gearing up to invade Iran ... and said they want it, and they can't sanction Iran any more than they did for decades. But it's interesting talking about things like this and politics with him, he is so well informed compared to many Americans that I met, even on U.S. politics (he despises Trump). I remember once, when we first met, that he told me that Persian people are the original "Aryan" people ... thought it was odd, being that Hitler carried that Aryan thing as a sort of white pride it seems. I mean, he's not racist at all, but thinx his people are Aryan, if that makes sense (it doesn't to me ... but). Nima came here with his wife, he's 51 years old, he told me they were an arranged type marriage, his 2 sons died in an accident ... but he left his wife here in Dallas, because he never really liked his arranged type marriage, I guess ... he now feels free(?). My wife told me quite a bit about Iran when she first came here, because she told me it's pretty nice (well, Tehran I guess, she lived there for 2 years end of 70's, got the boot during the revolution), a couple American guys I knew that work for air/ defense contractors, and stayed in the American village, which they told me was about 50,000 population at the time, back before the late 70's revolution, and a brother in law, who is from there. Oddly here in Dallas, some people look at Nima as a Mexican ... I told this black guy who calls him a Mexican, that he's Persian ... he said "call him whatever you want, he's just a plain ole Mexican to me" ... I don't even think this guy knew that Persian folks are from a different part of the globe, I don't know. A couple folks , that were white, think he's an Arab ... I had to tell them, Persian's are not Arabs. You know what my question is though in this ... same as the Iraqi milking ... how much? (will it cost us). Of course, all these countries we jump is for our protection, which "translates to", business interests ... that's how I think, even though I would guess many Americans' look at it as freeing children, women, homosexuals, indiscriminate corporate love for humanity or whatever {:-) Great looking photos though

02 June, 2019 08:36  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

RO and Dellgirl: Thanks! I hope to be informative since it's an area I know about.

Ranch: "Aryan" actually refers to the barbarian tribes who spread what we now call "Indo-European" languages to Europe, the Middle East, and India about five thousand years ago. Hitler and people like him thought they were Germanic people, although so long ago such a category wouldn't even have existed. The name "Iran" is actually derived from the word "Aryan". If you read ancient history of India, you'll see a lot about the Aryans there too.

The Aryans probably originated in what's now Ukraine and southern Russia, so ironically, the Russians are more likely to be descended from the original Aryans than the Germans are.

02 June, 2019 10:41  

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