I am not a spy. I do not work for any company, agency, or country.
Let’s get that out of the way, so no one will make any incorrect assumptions about what follows. I do not want a SWAT team to show up at my door, to be the target of a sniper, or to have a fatwa declared against me.
I have always enjoyed views from above, whether in a tree, from a mountaintop, or riding in an airplane. Because I like to learn about people and places, I majored in geography. In an airplane, I watch the ground pass below and try to imagine life based upon imagination or what I have read and seen in films or television.
Iran has been in the news a great deal lately, but for all the wrong reasons. (NB. If anyone wants to understand why Iran hates the United States, then I can recommend a book called All The Shah’s Men. As with many countries in the world, the supposed “good guys” foiled democracy and supported a dictator, only to have its machinations backfire.) If one ignores politics, religion, and bluster, then Iran would be an interesting country to visit. I am a big fan of Persian rugs, which I find to be a marvelous art form, and would seriously considering visiting the country’s great architectural achievements. Because that will never be possible in my lifetime, I must settle for photographs, film...and the chance view from an airplane window.
The flight path of our trip from Dubai to Frankfurt surprised me. I have made this trip several times, in both directions, and each time the plane flew more to the east over Iraq and Turkey. I did not mind the deviation, because clear skies gave me the opportunity for a glimpse of land I will trod. Surprisingly, much looked very similar to landscape I have seen from a plane, when crossing western United States.
Each time I peered out the window, I wondered what a military analyst would see and how military planners would rationalize his or her conclusions about such inhospitable terrain. I was an armor officer and learned a bit about tank warfare. I would not want to be a soldier on the ground in Iran--with or without a tank. Military hardware might have improved, since I played at war, but geography still plays a role.
If so inclined, gaze at the photos below and form your own conclusions about the folly of invasion. If not, enjoy a look at tiny bits of a country you will never visit. You might even wonder, as I did, what farmers and goat herders think about all the saber-rattling--if they even know about such matters--beyond fearing suffering again, as they did during the Iran-Iraq war. (Quiz: Which side did the US supply with weapons?)
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.