“So, do you think there will be war?” This is the way Keivan starts every conversation these days.
There is a reason: for the third time since we came to Iran, people are seriously afraid of being attacked.
“Please, when you go back to America,” a spice salesman tells me, “tell them not to attack us.” He was probably doubly afraid because his shop is about a mile from a heavily guarded military-industrial site.
“Saffron was 335,000 tuman a kilo last week. Yesterday the price went up to over one million tuman.” Stocking up on saffron in case of war? I would have thought that tuna fish would be more appropriate.
“There are 18 million soldiers ready to go to war if we are attacked,” a taxi driver tells us.
“Where?” Keivan asks. “Where are they?”
Trust me, the West underestimates Iranian patriotism and overestimates the connection between the way Arab political leaders feel (fear of Iran) and the way Arab people feel (respect for Ahmadinejad and his stand against the West).
Israeli sources seem to overestimate the chances of an Iranian nuclear strike on Israel and underestimate the response to an attack on Iran. I think that despite the Shi’a- Sunni split, most Muslims would see an attack on Iran as further evidence of anti-Islamic furor. I am going on record as saying the attack will not make Israel or any of the Arab states or America any safer. I am willing to say right now that the opposite will be the case.
“I sure hope Iran doesn’t use any Shahab missiles. If they do it will be the start of WW 3,” a friend says.
“Why do you think that?”
“They’ll hit everything but their intended target. A missile aimed at Israel will hit Saudi Arabia or Russia or some other country.”
Everyone laughs. Everyone goes about their daily business: hoarding saffron and tunafish.