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By Behrouz Bahmani
November 15, 2003
The Iranian

Dear Amoo George,

Now that the war in Iraq is under control, and the North Koreans are back in their pen, and Iran has willingly agreed to open up it's "power generation" nuclear program to inspection, I was wondering if we could address another small matter. Now that you have the time of course.

This is the matter of the possibly forgotten current embargo on Iran.

As you must know, the only items allowed in or out of Iran from or to the US is Pistachios and Persian carpets that are less than 100 years old. Personally, I'm sick of pistachios, and I wouldn't carpet the White House with a Persian carpet younger than 100 years old. Wait, nevermind, you already have a beautiful one in the main ballroom.

The idea behind the embargo was originally a sound one although hatched.. er.. I mean implemented by your nemesis.. er.. predecessor Bill Clinton. The idea was that through economic pressure of an embargo, just like Cuba, Iran would be forced (via the undue pressure of an economic blockade), to mend their wicked ways and bend to the will of the US and the West. As I will illustrate, this clearly has not happened. Alas the reverse has ocurred.

But enough words. I know you do not like to read a lot, so I will present the next portion of my argument in pictures and captions. As you will see below, the Iranian urban population is doing quite well. Rural Iranians have been so forgotten, they thank each day the Shah doesn't show up to collect his taxes.

Let's start off with winning the hearts and minds of the people. Well actually, let's begin with winning their stomachs first.

Advances in Iranian culinary habits has never been so great as today. Restauranteurship leads the way as second incomes go. Thanks to American Iranians who visit summer, spring, fall and winter, with fistfulls of dollar bills and the family and kids in hand, everything is abundant and available.

And almost everything goes better with Coke. Hey wait a minute, isn't Coca Cola an American company? Then how come they can still bottle and distribute in Iran? Must be their wholly (holy?) independent European division. Phew! That's convenient.

CK70cm I highly recommend you try this snack one day. As a Texan I'm sure you appreciate good beef. Look familiar? Nevermind that, look at the USA T-Shirt! Ahhh! The Jumbo Pack! It's the better deal than the regular size.
Do you think Burger King knows that they're finally number 1 in at least one market in the world? Adidas? Been there. Puma? Done that. Wilson? Now that's quality American sportswear! Note the state of the art dental plan. Maybe the US should get one. Also notice the U of Maryland Terrapins T-shirt. That's what I call painful!
These brickmakers exhibit unusual strength on the job. That is why their shirt of choice is EVERLAST! Apple is finally bigger than IBM with Epson running a close second. Goggles, 25000 tomans, scuba gear for the day, 180000 tomans, diving with your younger brother Saman who's balder than you, Priceless! (Note the OK sign!)
Iranian teens even have the bratty sister who unplugs your PC just as you were about to destroy your nemesis in Holland with a sorcerer's spell and hell's fury combination spinkick! Movie poster for the 13th warrior. Antonio sure is one handsome man. Clearly a favorite among the Mullahs, for his devout beliefs, of course. Hills that is, Tehran hills. Y'all stay out now. Ya Hear?
Yodelay-hee-hooo! Chalet's in Iran? You Bet! You can almost see the for-hire dog walkers coming down the sidewalk. Is that what I think it is? It is! This mansion's gate comes complete with stealth bomber motif!
Don't you hate it when you park your mercedes under a tree and the birds get to it? I hate when that happens. Mansion sweet mansion! But you know, it's the little things in life that count. Lots and lots of little things. What do you think would go nicely in the tower? Billiard room? Media center? Freaky bedroom? You naughty dog!

So, as you can see life in Iran is far from painful for the top echelon.The intention of the embargo has backfired miserably. Nations of the world, primarily the ones we count in our "coalition", flagrantly violate the embargo. Domestically I would guess maybe 11 US customs guards and one dog, with chips on their shoulders enforce the current law.

Tehran's cops tool around colecting bribes in the latest Mercedes patrol cars, and ride BMW motorcycles more advanced than the US Highway patrol rides. Danke shoen, Heinrich!

The consumer food packaging industry in Iran (fruit-yogurt, milk, snack foods, soft drinks and fresh food shrink wrapping machines) is having it's best years ever, thanks to modern shiny new automated plastics packaging machinery imported from such loyal and devoted US friends as Japan, China, Korea, and now the Eastern European industrial gangs. Heck, they're probably using US development money to establish this market!

But I'm sure you already knew all this. You probably knew that GM has light truck assembly plants, and that Jeep and Honda build cars and motorbikes in Tehran. Judging from the number of Schwing concrete pumping trucks in Tehran, I'm sure there are even a few US construction companies sniffing around town.

There are plenty of signs that we have a long way to go towards achieving a secularist victory in Iran. And that is the blatant disrespect for women that is still evident. They are beginning to loosen their religious controls a bit and the head scarf known as the hejab is beginning to slip further and further back on the heads of beautiful Iranian women, who more and more display their beauty by wearing more and more Western makeup each day. Some however, hold onto the old ways, by refusing to allow women to swim for example. I will argue that if you have ever seen an Iranian woman in a bathing suit, that the prohibition of this is in itself a great crime to humanity, albeit the male side.

I sincerely hope that you have benefited from this brief tour of modern day Iran and that the proof that the embargo has failed and is failing every day, will convince you to support doing away with it altogether.

Clearly evidenced by Iranians' desire for American consumer products, one can argue that the best way to de-stabilize the current regime in Iran would be to flood the country with every mass consumer product ever created by America. One quick solution would be to dump the entire contents of a Super Walmart over downtown Tehran during lunch hour (currently from 10am-3pm).

I look forward to your earliest response.

Sincerely and very best regards,

The Only Iranian Republican.

cc Tom Friedman, New York Times

Photo credits

-- Kodak moments, by Poriya Moazzami
-- Can't beat that, by Kaveh Bazargan
-- Not too shabby, by Yashar Zhalehdoust
-- Break by brick, by Yalda Moaiery

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