Wednesday, December 08, 2004

It’s all a big mistake…
A friend of mine that I will call "Jeff" wrote to tell me of a dream he had about Iran’s uranium enrichment program:

Your blog got me thinking and I remembered a dream I had some time ago.
I dreamt that the whole uranium enrichment program was a big misunderstanding – what the Iranian government was really embarking upon was an Iranian Enrichment Program. I'm not sure what that would be– some sort of cultural exchange, I suppose.

Iranians are tough negotiators. It’s clear to me that they understood that the EU was the more desperate of the two parties. The EU was desperate to show America that it could negotiate a treaty with Iran. Iranians had to have known this going in.

And what should Iran be desperate for? Iranians may be desperate for improved relations, but their government is not. They would like relations to be bad enough to keep them in power and good enough to keep their consuming citizens happy (or, should I say, complacent). Believe me, these guys are smarter than we are. I think that most people think that the regime is idealistic instead of what it really is: realpolitik-al (is that a word?)

Do they really think that we want to drink this stuff?

Last night I went to the pharmacy with K’s nephew. He needed some things, and I wanted some rubbing alcohol. They handed me a tiny bottle of rubbing alcohol. “Don’t you have anything bigger?” I asked. “Or is rubbing alcohol really expensive here?”

“No it’s cheap,” the woman answered and then called to her manager, “Should I get a bigger bottle for them?”

The manager came out to look at us. K’s nephew said, “Don’t worry, we’re not going to drink the stuff. We have something much better at home.” This comment made the whole store full of people start laughing.

“I can give you two small bottles,” our clerk told us.

“Look, I just want to clean my ears with the stuff,” I said. I turned to my partner in crime and asked: “Do they really think we want to drink rubbing alcohol?”


“You’re joking.”

“Iranians do.”

“Well,” I responded, “I have often felt that I was being served rubbing alcohol. Now I know that it’s true.”

Anybody know where you can buy cat litter in Tehran?

Contact me:


A couple of friends of ours have been picked up for violating the Islamic dress code. (Which is what? I have been reading the Koran and so far the only thing I have read is that a woman should hide her private parts and her ornaments. What exactly does that mean? Isn’t the definition of “private parts” more social than religious? The whole hijab thing is seeming more like a fetish to me than any religious doctrine. It’s just like the injunction against eating pigs. Why make such a fuss over some parts and not about others? At this point, however, I have not completed reading the Koran, and I am *not* an expert.) They had to attend a class on hijab. I got the sense that it was kind of like driving school after being ticketed. “There were at least a 1000 people there. There was even a 14 year old girl. I mean, she was just a little girl,” our friend told me. “Everybody had at least one relative with them and some people brought there entire families. They showed us a film, gave us a lecture, and sent us home.”

The other night, I was stopped by one of these guards of Islam who did not realize that I was a foreigner. “You can’t dress like that,” he told me. I was baffled. I was wearing loose fitting Levi’s, a men’s baggy windbreaker, and my scarf. Without the scarf, they would have assumed I was a man. Only in a country like Iran could I have been accused of provocative dress.

K came to my rescue. He was livid. He really cannot abide anyone telling anyone else how to dress. The two other times that someone had the nerve to tell me that too much hair was showing, K really let loose with verbal abuse. “If I were to accept their comments and say nothing, this place would really be Hell,” he told me. “It’s none of their business.”

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