Sweating Out the Truth in Iran
By MAZIAR BAHARI
WORKING as a journalist in Iran embodies the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again without getting any results. That’s how I felt at the height of the conflict in Lebanon, when I asked officials about Iran’s relations with Hezbollah, bearing in mind that posing such questions can be a futile, dangerous and sometimes even lethal exercise.
How was Iran helping Hezbollah? Did Iran really start the war to divert attention from its uranium enrichment program (which it vowed this week to continue)? Was Iran, as Hezbollah’s ally, if not patron, willing to put its money where its mouth was and enter the conflict?
Questions, questions. Of course no one answered.
So as a good Iranian, I indulged in fantasy. Fantasizing has become something of a national sport here. Our president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, predicted that the national soccer team would finish third or fourth in the World Cup. He also thinks we can become a nuclear powerhouse, even though we have a hard time manufacturing safety matches or making light bulbs with life expectancies of more than two weeks. By the way, the soccer team didn’t make it out of the first round.