He just got back from a month wonderful vacation in Iran. I never thought he would ever step a foot in Iran as long as the IRI was in power.
“Oh man it was so fun,” he says.
“One day we went for lunch at the well-known Alborz restaurant in Tehran, and we had to wait for more than an hour to be seated. Can you imagine that?” he continues.
“When we got our food, the length of the kebab we ordered was longer than my arm.”. He straightens his arm in our direction and he says, “So big. I don’t understand why Iranians complain! They have such great kebab!”
He is tall and has a long arm.
The rest of us in that small room during the birthday party for my friend’s son were sitting like school kids, following his lovely story about his first trip to Iran after 20 years.
“I am very glad you finally went to Iran,” I tell him. “Now you know how it is.”
“Iran has changed so much. It is much more modern than when I left, even considering the fact that they have not spent too much money on development of my home town Ahwaz. It was still very nice to see how beautiful Ahwaz is.”
Somebody says, imagine if all of that oil money was really spent in Ahwaz and the surrounding area instead of going into the mullahs’ pockets… Everybody shakes their heads.
“In the first days, when you are in Iran, everything is wonderful. You get to see people who you have not seen for a long time, eat good food, take a two-hour nap after every lunch, and at night drink from a bottle of whiskey that is finished in two minutes.” He puts his hand on his big stomach and says, “I am still the same size.” We all look at each other and smile. “But after couple of days you start seeing things different,” he tells us. Everybody was telling him, do not compare Iran to your lovely city in Holland. After 20 years he could not understand why he could not compare Ahwaz with his small city in Holland. He became mad like every other expat Iranian who spends more than a week in Iran.
What he saw after a week of visiting and eating was enough to make him angry. He was so shocked to see how Iran really was: all those corruption stories, tales of bad management in every aspect of life in Iran, lack of work for young people, the pressure the Arab Iranians face in the south, and the danger of new war.
“There will be no war. I am sure of it,” he says with confidence. “Iranians don’t believe US and UK would ever attack them.”
“This is all to make Iran scared so they would accept whatever the US wants,” another person says.
“The US is not in a position to attack Iran. They don’t have resources and the American people do not have stomach for it. They have lost too much in this war with Iraq and Afghanistan.”
I think: where have I heard this before?
“THEY CANNOT ATTACK IRANIANS because this government was put in power by the US AND UK.” I look around and give a dirty look to the nice guy who said that and respond with, “Oh please don’t give me that bullshit!” He starts laughing and telling us that he was just kidding.
“But don’t you think America had an even worse situation during the Vietnam war, yet they still attacked Cambodia?” I ask.
There is a silence in the room. The funny guy who speaks with a south-Iran accent yells from the back of the room, “Let us say, if they do attack, what would be the worst?” He walks to the front of the room where we are sitting and continues:
“Don’t you guys see who is running our country? Don’t you see that they are making every aspect of daily life miserable for everybody? What can be worse than this humiliation we are living with? Iran is a rich country with a lot of resources, full of smart and educated people who are very successful in the rest of the world when they get out, but we don’t have even the basics of human rights. I am not talking about human rights like we have here. I am not saying we have a government like the Taliban in Afghanistan, but if we cannot compare Iran to a modern industrial western government, we should also not say, oh we have it much better than a lot of other countries.” His face gets red.
The hostess says, “Take it easy. Eat some cookies.” She hands him an open beer. “Here, you drink this.” She looks at me and said, “I am sure you started all this.”
I shake my head, not sure if I disagree with him or her.
The discussion is getting hot. I really want to know what these Iranians think of war. It seems that a lot of my friends don’t dare to say what they really feel.
“We want a different government that’s for sure,” one says.
“Even if that means we will have to be attacked by the US arm forces?” somebody asks.
I say, “Iranians always want everything at the same time. But they don’t want to pay for it.”
“Oh yeah,” another says.
Ham khar mikhad ham gorma. (You want a donkey and dates at the same time.)
Everybody thinks that is funny.
I go out to smoke a cigarette. Most of the guys come out with me.
One goes to sit by the women’s table. Tori wants to be a part of our conversation and looks at me with a questioning expression of what is going on?
“I am against all wars, I feel really bad for the Iraqis. Iraq is not far from where I come from and when I see on TV how many people are killed everyday I get really upset and don’t want Iranians to be killed. But then when I am alone at home and think of the situation in Iran I am not sure if getting rid of this government is such a bad idea.”
“Americans would not kill Iranians even if they attack,” one guy says.
We are looking at him and thinking which f**king planet are you from? He also leaves the back yard and goes back to the room where the food is ready for us. “Come. Come the food is ready,” the hostess calls.
My friend who just came back from Iran let everybody to go first and tells me, the situation is really bad and I am afraid that the people in Iran are not ready for it.
They may have months of food stocked in freezers and kilos and kilos of rice stored in closets, but they still cannot imagine that war is at the doorstep.
A lot of people I talked to think Iran would agree with the international demands at the last moment, but I am not sure of it. I think an attack is imminent.
With Larijani’s resignation, I am now sure that there is no compromise. They see compromise as the end of their government.
Forum on Iran, Target Iran with lots of different opinions from people who rarely get to visit Iran
"The United States is in serious trouble, its economy is in trouble, the army is badly damaged, the morale of its soldiers is not exceptionally good."
A North American Affairs professor in Tehran quoted from Chris Gelken's blog and repeating the commonly held view that American cannot attack Iran.
Adm Michael Mullen, who took over as chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff three weeks ago, said diplomacy remained the priority in dealing with Iran's suspected plans to develop a nuclear weapon and its support for anti-US insurgents in Iraq.
But at a press conference he said: "there is more than enough reserve to respond (militarily) if that, in fact, is what the national leadership wanted to do".
The official US viewpoint quoted from the Telegraph.
About the problems of Ahwazi Arabs
Links to articles about war from us
Radio Open Source discussion of war with Iran.