Iranian society has always been relatively secular, multi-ethnic, tolerant and open. The regime of the orthodox Ayatollahs has never fitted especially in the cities. Modernity simply has gone into hiding but lived on in living rooms and amongst friends often quite openly. There’s not much ‘western’ about this, to call it ‘western’ really is to empower the monologue of the group surrounding Khamenei who want to brand it and reject it as such.
The most overt manifestation of modernity was the green revolution in 2009 when millions of Iranians took to the streets to protest the election of Ahmedinejad. The regime violently suppressed them. Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi the other candidates remain under house arrest to this day even as we laud the new President’s reform-mindedness.