When I was a teenager, Iran was a moderate country where women had equal rights. It was the most modern and developed country in the Islamic world. And a powerful ally of the United States. Which is something the leftists hated because it allowed us to have military bases on the doorstep of Russia. The Soviets and their useful idiot allies in the US wanted that to end. And Islamists were nothing but background noise in those days, but a radical cleric named Ayatollah Seyyed Ruhollah Khomeini was living in exile in Paris and wanted to come home and start a revolution. What kept him from doing that was a payoff he was getting every year from the US Government. A mere $75 grand. But he continued to send out messages to his followers back home and a movement was building to over throw the Shah of Iran, whom the US helped install in power decades before.
The Shah has been vilified by the left as well as the Islamists, but when he ran the country it was prosperous and the people were much freer than they are now. The kind of barbaric stoning of adulterers and the executions of homosexuals weren’t happening. Women didn’t have to wear veils or head scarves. In fact, when I was in the Air Force, Iranians trained their pilots at Lackland Air Force base in Texas, where the USAF trains its people. I used to watch them marching on the base. Rather surreal considering what happened a few years later.
President Carter cut off the money that went to Khomeini, and Khomeini was soon causing trouble in Iran. Carter betrayed the Shah and even told his generals not to fight the Islamists who were taking over. So they didn’t and were soon executed.
The new regime wanted to show the world they meant business, so they had students (who were a major part of the revolutionary force) capture the American embassy and hold everyone hostage inside. 52 Americans were held for 444 days. They were released in the very hour that the next president, Ronald Reagan, was sworn in.
But in the time between we saw a vacillating, weak president in Jimmy Carter who helped make America feel impotent and powerless. His act of betraying the Shah and cutting off the payoff to Khomeini was the start of what has now become the war on terror. It is unlikely we would have so many problems with the middle east, the Iraq war and so on, if not for Carter and his weak and foolish presidency. He betrayed one of America’s important allies and we are still feeling the repercussions today.
But, for those of you were are too young to remember, or who weren’t even alive then, yes, America once had a good ally in Iran. They were a moderate, “progressive” nation. And thanks to America’s left, we have a nightmare in its place. This is what happens when you have presidents who don’t know what they’re doing.
UPDATE: You can find interviews with the Shah on Youtube, like this clip from 60 Minutes. Man, is Wallace a creepy asshole or what? He tries to provoke the Shah with some bureaucrats assessment of him. The Shah was not a perfect man by any means, but he was ten times the man most leaders of today are. And certainly Carter and his modern imitator. I like the bogus arguments like when Iran runs out of it’s oil in two decades. Three decades later, they are still a major oil producer with no signs of running out