The Iranian


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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


March 7, 2001

Did you visit the same country?

Having recently spent a few weeks back in Iran after a two-year absence, I was saddened to read Eli's account ["Not going back"] of her holiday in Iran.

I wonder if she even went to the same country as I did or that she just put on blinkers and was very selective with what she saw and experienced.

We were welcomed everywhere and by everyone. Although Iran is a very religious country, at no time did we have religion forced upon us - by people or the media.

Not everyone wore black out on the street and no one was looking at the white and blue Adidas trainers that my wife and I wore. I saw a good variation of ladies coats in different styles, lengths and colors -- many were shorter than usual, just over the hips. The head-scraves (rousari) were very colorfull and many ladies had their hair showing.

We had to visit two hospitals and a clinic when my daughter fell ill. The doctor's receptionist at the clinic wore make-up and nail varnish.

No concerts, no theatres, no movies worth seeing? No decent restaurants? You are unbelievable, what do you expect in Iran? Madonna in concert, Phantom of the Opera at the theatre, Hannibal at the cinema, followed by drinks and eats at TGI Fridays? Get with it!

As for music, I wonder if Eli had cotton wool in her ears or heavy deposits of ear wax. Iranians love music and I heard music in every taxi I rode in. They played Mansour, Black Cats and Siavash Ghomayshi. This seemed to be quite normal and no one made a fuss about it.

The idea that there is no tourism is laughable. Okay, Iran may not be to the taste of the 18-30 crowd who flock to Ibiza or Florida in their thousands, but there are still many Western tourists who visit Iran to take in the culture. I have seen many in Tehran and Isfahan.

I am sorry Eli, but yours was not an objective and fair assessment of Iran. To me it looks as if you are very blinkered and expect Iran to be something like Las Vegas or Paris.

The account of your trip is full of stereotypical Iran hating nonsense. I can assure you I would not judge American people to be crazy like those on the Jerry Springer show or gun-crazy idiots like the 15-year-old San Diego school-boy.

Farhad Nikkhah


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