For close to two and a half thousand years, Iran has been a great nation. Five empires, from the Medians to the Safavids have risen and fallen, at their height stretching from Libya to Eastern Europe to India. It is telling that though Arab armies dominated a strip of land from west Africa to the Indonesian archipelago, Iran has never long been ruled, aside from by the brief Mongol occupation, keeping its own language, Farsi, and its own Shi’ite form of Islam. Iran is a fiercely independent Nation; it remained a truly independent country until the Shia safavids fell and the new powers of Britain and Russia began imperial jockeying for power. For a long period Iran ceased to be a real state, becoming a theatre in which European, and later American, proxies (political parties, militias and kings) could vie for power, trade and influence. Iran proves that there are few things more troubled than a great nation fallen. Pride is a hard thing for people to let go of.