Known as Persia until 1935, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling Shah was forced into exile. Conservative clerical forces subsequently crushed Westernization and also any liberal/left-wing influences. Iranian student protesters seized the US Embassy in Tehran on 4 November 1979 and held it until 20 January 1981. From 1980 to 1988, Iran fought a bloody, indecisive war with Iraq over disputed territory. Key current issues affecting the country include the pace of accepting outside modernizing influences and reconciliation between clerical control of the regime and popular government participation and widespread demands for reform. Unemployment among the youth is also an issue, but they have taken a view that the West isn't such a hostile, "Devil" that the clerics allude it to be. Young Iranians are very socially progressive compared to their elder statesmen, as the women take a sort of 19th Century feminist approach to messing with the "Fashion Police" that force them to cover up if they show too much...ankle, resulting in a comical-like game of heretical tag, while the men can be caught up with "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." Yes, it's a hostile place for an American to visit due to the government, but the people are warm, and the country is changing. In another generation, Iran, one of the smartest cultures in history, with that beautiful Persian figure, will be ready to mingle. Take our word for it.

Top Destinations in Iran


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