The reason that the Western politicians and press don’t like Iran is very simple. They have taken sides in the eternal Sunni Vs Shia conflict and have come down on the side of the Sunni’s huge oil production and their huge purchases of Western weapons. So Sunni, barbaric, uncivilised Saudi and Bahrain were our friend and civilised, educated Iran became our enemy.
What has changed can be expressed in one word: Fracking. With fracking we don’t need the filthy Saudis and their filthy oil. The USA is now self sufficient for oil and gas and Western Europe could easily be if we ignored the stupid NIMBYs.
Iran has one of the world’s oldest civilizations, beginning in 3200–2800 BC. It became the dominant cultural and political power in the region. Iran reached the pinnacle of its power during the Achaemenid Empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC, which at its greatest extent comprised major portions of the ancient world, stretching from parts of the Balkans in the west, to the Indus Valley in the east, making it the largest empire the world had yet seen.
From 651 AD Iran played a vital role in the Islamic Golden Age, producing many influential scientists, scholars, artists, and thinkers. The emergence in 1501 of the Safavid dynasty marked one of the most important turning points in Iranian and Muslim history. Starting in 1736 under Nader Shah, Iran reached its greatest size for a millennium, possessing the most powerful empire in the world. When it’s Middle East neighbours were little more than primitive tribal goat and camel herders.
It is a little known fact that Iran last attacked a neighbouring country in 1795. Compare and contrast that with another country, Israel, which has attacked and stolen land from every single one of its neighbours during its short life.
Then take nuclear weapons. Israel has more nuclear weapons than Great Britain has, including sophisticated neutron bombs, they also have powerful ballistic missiles to deliver them around the Middle East. Saudi Arabia also has a plentiful supply of nuclear weapons, manufactured for it by Pakistan, and it has bought the missiles to deliver them. Iran has no nuclear weapons.
A side issue is that Iran, quite rightly, opposes a Zionist state in the Middle East built on land stolen from Palestine. Compare and contrast that opposition with the genocide and ethnic cleansing that the Israeli state continuously carries out against non Jews. There is no moral equivalence.
Some say that Iran sponsors terrorism, and it is true that they stick up for the Shia cause around the region. But this pales into significance compared with the immense sponsorship of terrorism by Sunni Saudi Arabia. Islamic State is their baby. And 9/11 was committed by Saudis, financed by Saudis and organised by Saudis.
Since the 1979 revolution the West has behaved despicably towards Iran. What happens inside sovereign nations is largely their own business and our politics throughout the whole Middle East has been laden with hypocrisy and stupidity. Now we have a chance to make a new start with the wonderful, civilised people of Iran. It is a great opportunity for us and a great opportunity for them.