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Although all flag carriers are to some extent entwined with the vagaries and fortunes of their home government, few will have their course through history as profoundly and irrevocably altered as Iran Air.
From its founding as Iranian Airways in 1946 up until its rapid expansion in the 1970s, the airline was considered an early success story for Gulf aviation. It became one of the first carriers to operate the Boeing 747SP – deploying it on daily nonstop flights from Tehran to New York – and had even placed an order for two supersonic Concordes.
But halfway through its history, the 1979 Islamic Revolution completely reconfigured Iran's standing on the international stage. Iran Air came to be seen as a dangerous wing of a hostile government by America, and its route network began contracting in tandem with its list of overseas partners...