It is important to understand internal developments in Iran today in order to understand why this country is the focus of such continued hatred by U.S. corporate power...The significance of oil production and oil reserves in Iran is well known. Every news article, analysis or politician's threat makes mention of Iran’s oil. But the impact of Iran’s nationalization of its oil resources is not well known. The corporate owners in the U.S...use all the power of their media to demonize the Iranian leadership and caricature and ridicule the entire population, their culture and religion...The focus of media coverage here is to describe Iran as medieval, backward and feudal while somehow becoming a nuclear power.
It is never mentioned that...more than a third of the doctors, 60 percent of civil servants and 80 percent of all teachers in Iran are women. At the time of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, 90 percent of rural women were illiterate; in towns the figure was over 45 percent. Also ignored is the stunning achievement of full literacy for Iranian youth.
[The] World Bank, in its development report on countries admit[ted] that Iran has exceeded the social gains of other countries in the Middle East. According to that report, Iran has made the most progress in eliminating gender disparities in education. Large numbers of increasingly well-educated women have entered the work force. Iran’s comprehensive social protection system includes the highest level of pensions, disability insurance, job training programs, unemployment insurance and disaster-relief programs. National subsidies make basic food, housing and energy affordable to all.
An extensive national network going from primary health and preventive care to sophisticated hospital care covers the entire population, both urban and rural. More than 16,000 "health houses" are the cornerstone of the health care system. Using simple technology, they provide vaccines, preventive care, care for respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, family planning and contraceptive information, and pre-natal care. And they monitor children’s nutrition and general health.
Since 1990, Iran nearly halved the infant mortality rate and increased life expectancy by 10 years.
[W]omen’s education and employment...has alleviated the pressure to have many children to protect security as parents grow older. The fertility rate between 1976 and 2000 declined from 8.1 births per woman to 2.4 births in rural areas and 1.8 births in urban areas.
These social programs...should be compared to conditions in countries in the region that remain under U.S. military and economic domination. In Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, only a tiny part of the population has benefited from the vast profits generated by oil and gas resources... Millions are immigrant workers...who have no rights to any representation, participation or any social, health or educational programs or union protection...
In Iraq, which before U.S. attacks began in 1991 had some of the best conditions in the region for women, plus a high level of education, health, nutrition and social services, the conditions of life have now deteriorated...
[Under Mossadegh, and later the Islamic Revolution] the greatest source of wealth--Iran's oil and gas--was nationalized. Nationalization means the transfer of privately-owned assets and operations into public ownership. The exploration, drilling, maintenance, transport, refining and shipping of oil and gas became the national property of the Iranian people. Formerly this entire process was controlled at every step by Western imperialists, particularly U.S. and British corporations.
The [Iranian] constitution states that the government is required to provide every citizen with access to social security for retirement, unemployment, old age, disability, accidents, health and medical treatment--out of public revenue...
Years of U.S. sanctions and pressure on international financial institutions have had an unexpected result: Iran is free of the crippling debt that has strangled so many developing countries. According to World Bank figures, Iran’s external debt is one of the lowest for its size: $11.9 billion, or 8.8 percent of the GDP. From the point of view of the imperialist world bankers, this means the loss of many billions each year in interest payments to them.
The current leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's first non-cleric president in 24 years, was elected in 2005 in a landslide victory after promising to extend social security and pensions, improve the subsidies for food and housing, deal with rising unemployment and guarantee a monthly stipend. The Iranian people are determined to protect the substantial gains they have made since the revolution. They are not interested in any effort that turns the clock back.
A Wall Street Journal Commentary by Francis Fukuyama on Feb. 1  was unusually frank in explaining the growing problem faced by U.S. corporate power on a global scale:
“What is it that leaders like Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez have in common that vastly increases their local appeal? A foreign policy built around anti-Americanism is, of course, a core component. But what has allowed them to win elections and build support in their societies is less their foreign-policy stances than their ability to promise, and to a certain extent deliver on, social policy--things like education, health and other social services, particularly for the poor….The U.S. and the political groups that it tends to support around the world, by contrast, have relatively little to offer in this regard.”
[Most of the remainder of the article dealt with the impacts of sanctions on Iranian society.]