Diplomatic ties between Iran and the United States may not be as frosty as they were 12 months ago, and much of the credit goes to last November's nuclear agreement in Geneva. What led Iran to concede its hardened stance on the subject is something that baffled everyone.
But an image (see above) making the rounds on Twitter these days attempts to explain this ideological shift on Iran's part.
Tweeted out by Iranian-American writer Reza Aslan, the image shows that "Iran currently has the highest number of U.S. college alums serving in any foreign government cabinet in the world."
Out of the 23 Iranian cabinet members visible in the photo, at least eight have degrees from American universities, which imply that the pro-Western sentiments might be brewing in the country's top brass.
Historically speaking, exposure to Western education and culture hasn't necessarily cultivated democratic beliefs among traditionally despotic elites of third world countries. In fact, it's a common practice for such individuals to get higher education from renowned American and European universities and then return back to their homeland to continue propagating the existing system riddled with corruption, inequality and hard-lined policies. The examples of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, Gambian president Yahyah Jammeh and many others hammer home the point.
Based on these experiences, it's probably not wise to expect a handful of foreign taught politicians to transform the country's anti-Western mindset. However, couple that with the fact that Iran agreed to roll back its nuclear project just a few months after this new brigade of politicians came into power in August 2013, and Aslan's pictorial notion starts to make sense.