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Strange, all this time I haven't been treating it that way (and unfortunately all of my earlier versions of the FRCS' Characters chapter have the rule written that way, so I can't see if it was ever written a different way). The rule as stated makes for some poor choices.
Here's my suggestion: The above (bold) limitation should only apply to regional equipment, not regional feats. If you're from a region, you can take that region's regional feats at 1st level (assuming you meet all of the other requirements).
Otherwise some things make no sense. For example, Magical Training is a
feat for Halruaa that lets you cast three cantrips as if you were a
wizard; it reflects the rigorous testing that this wizard-heavy land
does on all of its children to see if they have the aptitude to become
a wizard. The feat is almost useless for Halruaan wizards (if you're a
wizard, are three more cantrips per day really worth a feat to you?),
but right now Halruaan wizards are the only ones who can take the Magical Training feat at 1st level. The feat is designed for
non-wizard Halruaans, and they're not allowed to take it until after 1st
level! It makes no sense that their childhood study of cantrips
wouldn't be available at 1st level but they could take it with their
next feat at 3rd level or later. (There are other regional feats that
have this problem, but I won't give a long boring list of them.)
(It has been pointed out to me that Magical Training is even worse, because you can only take it at 1st level! So no non-wizard can take it under the present rules.)
This never was a game balance issue; the regional prereqs for regional feats are not a balancing factor in designing the feats, and the preferred-class-only-at-1st-level limitation was purely for flavor, not balance. So there's no reason why you can't lift this limitation on the feats.
(It should stay in place, though, for the regional equipment, as that
reflects a real tangible benefit for study or training appropriate to a
region, and the equipment doesn't have the real-world nonsensicalness
of the Magical Training problem described above.)
Fortunately, they address this problem in the upcoming Player's Guide to Faerun, and I think people will like the updates to the regional feat system.