First broadcast September 2006
Iran is often presented as a fanatical yet repressed population railing against the Great Satan.
It is less well known that British and Iranian modern history is inextricably linked. Iran had the Middle East's first democratically elected government, which in turn was toppled by Western powers.
In this three part series, John Tusa charts the making of modern Iran. He journeys through Iran's turbulent history, to understand the paradox at the heart of the nation.
Part One: Revolution
This programme looks at how the liberal values of the Constitutional Revolution of 1906 soon came into conflict with imperial powers who had other plans for Iran - and whose interference would plant the roots for a century of revolution.
Iranian hsitory boasts the first charter of human rights - the Cyrus Cylinder, a 2,500 year old cuneiform cylinder with the revered words of the ancient King of Iran, Cyrus the Great.
It is part of the complex Iranian identity - which also incorporates Shi'ite Islamic culture, modernity, Westernisation and a language and culture which sets it apart from its Arab neighbours.
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