TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - A look at how Iran has changed since the last visit of
a British royal, in 1971:
THEN: Prince Philip, the
father of Prince Charles, and Princess Anne attended $500 million celebrations
marking 2,500 years of the monarchy in Iran, amid the ruins of the ancient
capital, Persepolis. The guests, a who's who of world
leaders, wined and dined on peacocks, truffles, 2,000 pounds of caviar, and
vintage champagne. More than 180 chefs and helpers were flown in from Maxim of
Paris. Philip was given two thoroughbred stallions.
NOW: Prince Charles meets
in Tehran with President Mohammad Khatami for an hourlong
discussion. Later, he visits the ruins of a devastating earthquake in the city
of Bam and is offered dates by survivors.
THEN: Iran was at the height of its military
and economic power. Though a top oil producer, many lived in poverty.
NOW: During its 1980-88 war
with Iraq, Iran launched an arms development program
to compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored
personnel carriers, missiles and a fighter plane. Last year Iran introduced the Shahab-3 missile,
with a range of about 800 miles.
Although Iran is the second-biggest oil producer
after Saudi Arabia in the Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries, revenues aren't what they were in 1971. Many Iranians have
to hold two or three jobs to make ends meet.
Iran's population has more than doubled, to 66.5 million.
THEN: Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was pro-Western and close to the United States. Three years earlier, he had
crowned himself and taken the title of "King of Kings, Light of the
NOW: The shah was toppled
by the 1979 Islamic revolution led by anti-American clerics. The hard-liners
promised democracy but rule with an iron hand. Reformers, who hold the
presidency and parliament, have their hands tied by a system that requires
final approval from the hard-line system. Government corruption is rampant.
THEN: Miniskirts were the
rage among women and sexy cinema posters were ubiquitous in Tehran, although many considered them
offensive. Alcohol was available.
NOW: Women must cover
themselves from head to foot in public to abide by an Islamic dress code. No
racy advertisements. Islamic laws prohibit alcohol consumption, and none is
available for purchase. Homemade booze, or smuggled alcohol, is secretly
delivered to homes by bootleggers.
THEN: In the streets of Tehran, the Peykan,
an Iranian-assembled car modeled after the British Hillman Hunter, was king of
NOW: The streets of Tehran are still clogged with Peykans, but most are dented and barely running.