LIMASSOL, Cyprus -- Earlier this year, U.S. President George W. Bush granted Iran a membership card in the "axis of evil" -- a triad of nations so iniquitous that they deserved to be cast out of the world community.

There were reasons for Bush's judgment. Iran had attempted to ship a freighter full of weapons to Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority -- arms that would have helped terrorists step up the murder of civilians in an already bloody land. And Iran's government has sought to develop nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction.

Still, the "axis of evil" didn't quite make sense, unless it was just a dramatic way to point out some disparate bad guys. Iran, Iraq and North Korea are in no way allied, and compared to the homelands of Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il, Iran is a complex place. Moreover, recent developments in Iran show exactly why there is more hope for that nation's future than hawks in Washington would allow.