Iran has been painted as an evil country in the U.S. Currently George W. Bush is doing the painting, supported by the Republican chorus. But I suspect when Hillary Clinton is in the White House she will be itchy-fingered to prove that war crimes are not gender-related. Americans have been taught to hate Iran since the Shah was overthrown in 1979. Democrat Presidents starting with Carter have been just as anti-Iranian as Bush is now. Since the fall of the communist block, Iran has been a favorite target for American hatred.
Judging on a more neutral basis, Iran has higher ethical standards than the United States and deserves to be defended by global citizens.
The Shahanshah (king of kings) Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was a puppet of the United States and U.S. oil comanies. He ran a one-party state, which he terrorized with a police organization, SAVAK.
The Iranian revolution was a more complicated affair than is now generally remembered. I lived in Washington D.C. when this was happening, and clashes there between pro-Shah and anti-Shah demonstrators were common. Apparently Jimmy Carter was worried about the lack of democracy and human rights of U.S. allies including Iran, and as a result pressured the Shah to release some political prisoners and allow some freedom of speech. Jimmy Carter fell from power largely because the Shah fell from power and the revolutionaries seized the U.S. Embassy.
The question of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy is a difficult one. There are really good reasons for making embassies and their officials immune to punishment. On the other hand when a nation like the U.S., with a long history of crimes against humanity and war crimes, has used an embassy to support a criminal like the Shah, it is understandable that victims would demand justice and forget the rule of tolerating embassies. In the end the hostages were released.
I think it can be argued that the U.S., and in particular U.S.-based oil corporations, owes the Iranian people reparations for the period of the Shah's rule. However, I am going to fast-forward to the present situation.
First of all, it is clear that the Iranian government had nothing to do with the attacks on the U.S. in 2001. The Iranian government might like to lead the entire Islamic world, including Sunni's, but in fact the radical Sunni's hope to overthrow all Shiite power.
I know of no instance in recent history in which Iran has invaded another country. Unlike the U.S., which invaded countries willy-nilly whenever a President thinks his cronies will benefit. In fact Iran was invaded by Iraq in the 1980's largely at the behest of the United States (Jimmy Carter was still President when the war began, but Ronald Reagan was a more open backer of Iraq).
The U.S. actually launched military (naval and air force) attacks on Iran, notably in Operation Praying Mantis starting April 18, 1988. The U.S. also shot down Iran Air Flight 655 on July 3, 1988, which was a war crime against civilians of the same order of magnitude of the 911 attacks.
Today the U.S. government and oil corporations want us to forget the past and worry about Iran's support for Palestinians and Iraqis and about the potential of Iran getting nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
I am against nuclear weapons and nuclear power. But the U.S., my nation, is the only country that has ever actually used nuclear weapons; the Democratic Party is the only political party on earth that has actually used nuclear weapons. I think the U.S. should disarm. But while we are waiting for that, we cannot expect nations that are threatened by the U.S. to not take measures for their own self defense.
U.S. and Israeli threats against Iran simply give the current Iranian ruling class a rational for not allowing Iran to develop into a modern nation with full freedom of religion and other modern conveniences.
As to democracy, I note the Iranians allow elections. In the U.S. elections are pretty well rigged by corruption; you almost never see an incumbent politician at the national level defeated in an election. The U.S. ought to work harder at making this nation better rather than meddling in other nations.
Get all U.S. troops out of the mideast. Conserve oil. It is simple, but it isn't profitable to our rulers.