In 1979, at the height of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, student activists took hostage the diplomats and other personnel serving in the American Embassy in Tehran and held them for 444 days. This crisis marked the end of diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran. Currently, relationships between the two countries are quite hostile. Iran is accused of working to develop nuclear weapons despite sanctions placed upon them by the United States, other Western countries, and the United Nations. The U.S. accuses Iran of supporting so-called terrorist groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Palestinian territories, and radical Shiite groups in Iraq. Occasionally, one hears that the U.S. government may take military action against Iran, either to knock out their nuclear capabilities or to destroy weapons that are purportedly destined for Iraq to supply insurgents there fighting against the U.S. military.
This three session study attempts to help participants understand the people, culture, religions and politics of our brothers and sisters in this country with rich and ancient traditions. The author traveled to Iran in early 2008 and includes some first-hand pictures and reflections of the people there.