I have flown out of Tehran four times. Iran is a pleasant and friendly land, haunted by past wars and repression, run by a government out of step with its citizens, and proud of an imperial past.

The faces of those fallen in the war are everywhere. Giant figures on the end walls of apartment blocks, small memorials in parks, and on every street a small blue and yellow box where passersby may leave contributions to the welfare of the maimed or the families left behind.

The friendliness and hospitality of the people astounds me. They have a smile for visitors, the schoolgirls cluster around we westerners, taking selfies, and showing off their English, and eager to instruct an ignorant Westerner in how to count in Farsi, or the best way to tie a headscarf.

I am so sorry that Don Trump chose to wind back progress in ending sanctions and allowing Iran back into the congress of nations. They are a rightfully proud people, and they will not forget these latest gratuitous insults.

I would return in a heartbeat. I must see Isfahan again: that great square, the two sublime mosques, the beautiful old bridges over the river, the shaded, flower-filled parks, noisy with children, lovers strolling in pairs, shyly taking each other's hand.

I would love to look into the museums and historic places again. Persepolis has a grandeur two thousand years after Alexander the Great destroyed it, and the final folly of the last Shah stands in tatters nearby: a tent city where heads of state rested between lavish feasts and parades.

Iran is a beautiful and welcoming land, and I regret the popular perception of a rogue and extremist state filled with fundamentalist terrorists. If only more people could see for themselves.

Thank you for sharing your memories.

Britni

Britni Pepper has always enjoyed telling stories. About people, places and pleasures.

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