Iran, known as "Persia" until it came to encompass more cultures than just Persians, is a large country that is on the border between the Middle East and Central Asia.
As a non-Arabic country in a region dominated by Arabs, it has traditionally been viewed with suspicion by its neighbors. (Its neighbors are, of course, on fantastic terms with each other, because they are brother Arabs.) Like some other Middle Eastern countries, it has large
American oil reserves beneath its territory.
 Another version
This version has Iran being bordered by Arabs on one side, a couple of different former Soviet types on another side or two, Afghans elsewhere and Pakistanis somewhere else. Most of those are not Arabs, but many people (mostly Americans) have a difficult time with all of this. Yet another good reason to bomb them off the map?
 Islamic Republic of Iran
Iran is an "Islamic republic," having a theocratic government based on Twelver Shi'a Islam - the fact that the symbol on the Iranian flag looks a lot like the religious symbol of Sikhism therefore looks a bit suspicious. This government was founded by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after he deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1978-9. It is well-known for its particularly brutal treatment of homosexuals.  Iran's current president is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has drawn condemnation (particularly from non-Muslim countries and the sane) for his promotion of Holocaust denial. While he is the most visible part of the Iranian government, Ahmadinejad isn't the guy in charge over there. The "Supreme Leader," who pretty much has the power to do what he wants, is Khomeini's successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It's also worth mentioning that there's a twelve-man Guardian Council between Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Ahmedinejad. Effectively he's kind of like the Nick Clegg of Iran.
This is the same Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who, according to Al Jazeera, caused some amusement by making the bizarre claim that: "In Iran we do don't have homosexuals like in your country. In Iran we do not have this phenomenon." This might have something to do with hanging them from boom lifts.
 Hostage crisis
In 1979 a group of militant Iranian students stormed and took over the US Embassy in Tehran, holding 52 of the former occupants hostage for 444 days. This led to a proliferation of "Nuke Tehran" bumper stickers, and to difficulties for President Jimmy Carter in his bid for re-election in 1980. In a totally innocent coincidence, the hostages were released minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President. Later, he repaid the favor by illegally selling arms to Iran in order to funnel the profits to the Contras in Nicaragua. We say "allegedly" because such anti-American nefarious behavior is obviously outside the realm of possibility for such a "great" American President.
 2009 Elections
In Summer 2009 Iran held some rather remarkable "elections," in which A couple of facts have led people to wonder about the validity of the results.
- Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared Ahmadinejad the winner of the presidential election before the polls had even closed.
- It has been expected that it would take several days to hand count the 40 million votes. In fact, the "result" was released in two hours.
- Some constituencies reported turnout of well over 100%.
 Post-election protests
After the election results were announced, there were mass protests in Tehran and other Iranian cities, which ended in heavy crackdowns by the government. These protests were called the "Twitter Revolution," since it was claimed that the social media tool was being used by the Iranian protesters to communicate, but statistics by Sysomos later revealed that less than 20,000 Twitter accounts were based in the Islamic Republic as of June 2009.