Western visitors arriving at Tehran International Airport are pleasantly surprised at the enthusiastic welcome evinced by ordinary Iranians. Iranians, of whom 50% are under 30 years of age, are very much pro-Western.
Iran wants to be considered as part of the Iran/India/China triangle of influence in Asia. Iranians are not Arabs, they are Persians with an historic, extensive Persian Empire. This area of influence is paramount to understanding Iran's standing in the world. The current fractious Middle East is dominated by the Sunni/Shia civil war where Shia Iran supports Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hezbollah, the Party of God, defeated the Israeli Defence Force during their 34 day war in southern Lebanon 2006, the IDF had been deployed against Palestinian civilians and lacked the fighting experience to destroy a well armed Hezbollah who unexpectedly stood and fought; al Assad in Syria, where he was almost defeated by the 2000 armed groups opposed to his regime until the Russians intervened in 2015; the Houthi rebellion in Yemen where US armed Saudi Arabia is winning; the Shia war against Sunni ISIS in Iraq. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard, General Qasem Soleimani is clearly and currently observed directing military operations near Mousul, Iraq. General Soleimani took charge of the Bin Laden family and the al-Qaeda leaders in Iran when the Tora Bora mountain refuges in Afghanistan were bombed by the US. This is contrary to US/UK military intelligence, an oxymoron, at the time when Iraq was falsely so accused. When the reformist Iranian government offered Bin Laden &Co to President George Dubya Bush, he labelled Iran the 'axis of evil.' Saudi Arabia promotes Wahabbi sect Salafist Jihahidst thinking from the Phillipines through the Middle East to North Africa with attacks against westerners a consequence. The Shia have the power and money yet the Sunni are more numerous. The US/UK illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 resulted in a Sunni dominated state becoming Shia which is now allied to Iran. The balance of power favours the Shia. The balance of power now favours Iran in the entire region.
Iran was used to western interference in its internal affairs with Prime Minister Mossadegh deposed by an American CIA plot in 1953. The Shah of Iran replaced him with a military man Zahedi, this contributed to the eventual overthrow of Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi in 1979.
When Rouhani was elected he immediately sought accord with the West and a nuclear non-proliferation treaty was signed in 2015. Rouhani was re-elected with a significant majority, the resounding electoral victory May 21, 2017, ensures the entire Iranian political apparatus supports him. Many had not voted since the election of Ahmedjinedad in 2009 and, with the repression of street protests, now admitted their anger has subsided and they will support Rouhani. Iran is changing. Since July 2015, on signing the nuclear accord, industrial infrastructure is being developed and banks are lending to small businesses. The release of political prisoners opposed to Ahmedjinedad and the easing of sanctions unrelated to the nuclear treaty so that international investment may proceed are priorities for Rouhani's new administration.