Wikipedia says: Iran is the 18th largest country in the world, with a population of over 70 million. It is also home to one of the world's oldest continuous major civilizations. Everyone else says: Iran is completely batshit insane.

Iran is a complicated place.

Just The Facts

  1. Iran is pretty old.
  2. Iran has some mental stability issues, even for the Middle East.
  3. With Iraq's invasion and Cuba-U.S relations slightly improved, Iran is the last of the axis of evil not to sell out.

Iranian History

Iran got off to a pretty good start. Back when Iran and Europe were kids, There was a bit of an ability gap. That is to say, Iran studied Mathematics, Literature, Philosophy and Science while Europe sepnt 90% of its time rolling in mud and consuming the contents of its nose. While most Europeans lived in hovels, with tribal systems, Iran trampled through puberty and got pretty damn sexy.

sexy, sexy land mass.

If you lived there during the reign of Cyrus the Great, you had a pretty sweet deal for a B.C empire. If you had a different religious belief, your freedom to worship was guaranteed in exchange for conscripts and tribute. Hell, there are countries in the world today that won't give you that deal. Like, erm, Iran. Where renouncing Islam today will get you the death penalty. Even the Jews got a good deal. And let's face it, those were few and far between for the next two and a half thousand years.

So everything was going pretty well for Iran. They were one of the more advanced nations of the world for a long time. But girls will be girls, and Persia got herself into some damaging relationships. Namely with Turkey, Russia and Britain.

Nice job, assholes

Iran got a bit messed up for a while, and just while those mud-covered European savages were lerning to leave their nostrils alone and getting their act together, Iran started to go off the rails a bit. Maybe a lot. In the twentieth century, Iran had no less than four coups d'etat/revolutions, including at least one engineered by other countries. It seemed to get a little less democratic and a little more unfair every time. Nowadays, Iran isn't... in such a good state

Bleurgh. Not a good look, Iran

While western nations have generally moved in one direction, becoming more civilised and advanced. Iran, however, peaked about two and a half millenia ago, and seem to have only picked up a pile of problems since. Through the 1980's, Iran fought a tragic war against Iraq, made all the more depressing by the fact that pretty much nobody can tell the difference between the two.

Modern Iran and Iranian Culture

Iran is governed today as an Islamic theocracy, a governmental system rejected from creative process of Bond films as "too silly". It is described as combining "elements of a modern Islamic theocracy with democracy". However, these democratic elements aren't the ones that involve electing their own leaders, or deciding their laws.

Does he have a cat? Because otherwise it's just upsetting.

Geopolitically, Iran's gotten a lot more important over the past few decades. It has massive oil and natural gas reserves, and ironically benefitted greatly when America and it's allies got rid of Saddam Hussein, becoming the big player in the region. It has expanded on this by being generally mentally unbalanced and telling the rest of the world to go and eat a bowl of dicks.

Iran's been in the news a lot lately, not for particularly good reasons. If their "elected" leaders aren't using militias to violently put down protests, they're denying the holocaust or building secret nuclear weapons. It's a metaphorical riot. Sometimes it's a literal riot.

An uninterrupted governmental system for thirty years? THIS WILL NOT STAND.

On a slightly lighter note, the people of Iran are fond of their rice-based cuisine, and are famed for their excellent kebabs. They love football, and would probably play more regional friendlies if they could agree what to put on the winner's medals. From an outsider's perspective, it seems that this could all be solved with the healthy application of a forward slash, or just by calling it "THE SALTY WATER FILLED WITH INFIDEL GUNSHIPS"