Posted on April 1, 2018
Today is the anniversary of the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran, on Farvardin 12 (generally April 1) in 1979.
The land that is now Iran has been home of some of the world's oldest civilizations - starting with the Elamites and reaching its height with the Persian Empire, including the Achaemenid Empire, the Parthian Empire, and the Sasanian Empire. Arab Muslims conquered Persia in the 600s, and the area continued to be important during the Islamic Golden Age.
Unfortunately, the modern history in the region has not been a shining beacon of democracy and human rights. The Shah of Iran that ruled before the 1979 revolution was known for political repression and, to the shame of the U.S. and the U.K., pandered more to the profits of those nations than to the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of the Iranian people themselves. Of course students and others revolted against the Shah's government!
However, the government that formed after the revolution has been repressive, too - political opponents are still arrested and persecuted, but ALSO, the rights of women, children, and members of the LGBT community are inadequate, and members of minority religions often feel threatened or face persecution.
So, that's the bad news. What's the good news?
Here are just a few of the wonderful things about Iran / Persia:
The desert region is home of the critically endangered Asiatic cheetah.
Iran is the largest exporter of caviar, which is considered the most expensive food in the world. Almas caviar, which comes from the eggs of 60- to 100-year-old sturgeon, sells for more than $30,000 per kilogram (each kilogram is a bit more than 2 pounds). It's called "black gold"...and, yeah, that's pretty expensive!!!
Speaking of expensive foods, the spice saffron is also really costly - even more than gold! It's about 40 British pounds per gram (not kilogram)! And Iran is Number 1 in exporting saffron - like, it produces 90% of the world's supply!!!
Persian rugs are beautiful and have the highest reputation - but they are intentionally made to be imperfect! The idea is that "only God is perfect"...
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