In brief the issues are that someone I know went to Iran who was born there.
They are a Christian with family still back there.
Over the years he has gone several times, the last visit being about 7 years prior.
His last trip showed the country was massively radicalized with people who are all like the insurgents we fight in Iraq.
Conversations with Iranians were scary for him. They all wanted to convert him to Muslim, were trying to force the Koran on him. They were all saying (outside his own family in Iran) that they wanted harm and death to the west and America.
This person said this was a massive change from the Iran he had visited even ten years ago. Things are massively radicalized there.
It was predicted that we would for sure need to be at war with Iran within the year.
This same person also found when he came back to America some Iranians near the beach area of California that were a cell planning to do 9/11 types stuff here in America and he reported that and his local mosque to the FBI.
I need no more convincing of how bad Iran is today.
PS, this last trip was less than a year ago.
All I can tell you is, according to people who live there now and/or have families who live there now, what's changed is the gov't cracking down and the people rebelling more. That's why we're seeing more strikes and demonstrations. And more arrests and more hangings.
Last year was the election. I don't know what month your friend was there, but I can imagine things were different at that time than even 6 months prior.
I don't doubt your friend had an unpleasant experience compared to when he was last there, but to think that the country is "massively radicalized with people who are all like the insurgents we fight in Iraq" goes against all the reports I've seen, heard and read from others who have been there.