Oh I don’t know, they’re one of the few countries in that part of the world that shares at least some of our western values.
Iran used to be a good ally, too. Iranians are Persians, not Arabs. They were fully modern people who adopted many western culture traits and combined it with secular Islamic values. Many of which I even get and respect. It was a beautiful country, a steadfast US ally, and a good vacation spot for Americans until 1979 happened.
Then the nutters who followed Khomeini got too big for their britches and decided to forcibly take power. Shah wasn’t a great dude, but he was nowhere near as ruthless as the Mullahs.
One side chants “death to America” before each parliamentary meetings the other doesn’t. Then there is the whole fatwah thing going after westerners for the past 50 years for not saying the right the about the prophet.
Khomeini and his crowd were far more brutal than the Shah’s government ever dreamed of being.
I mean, they were executing Air Force personnel during the revolutionary consolidation period. Imprisoning the rest. They were too tainted by western values since most of them had been exchange pilots in the US Air Force for years. They were lucky that Iraq invaded and the Islamic government got desperate and decided they needed them whether they were tainted or not.
Never said the CIA was justified in what they did.
Also, while the majority of the Iranian population were fed up with the shah, the Khomeinists were a small minority. Mostly radical clerical students. They could have just as easily ended up with a communist government, since they were revolting at the same time.
And it pains me to say this, but the communists probably would have been the better of the two options. At the very least they would have most likely collapsed in the future since communist intellectuals tend to fail spectacularly when forced to transfer theory into economic practice.
Would have certainly been better for us in the long run. Communists can be negotiated with.