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Shahin & Sepehr

Sehaty Foreign Exchange

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The Iranian Features
Feb 22-26, 1999 / Esfand 3-7,1377


* Elections: 200,000 seats


* Bureaucracy: Come back tomorrow
* Tourism: Waking the friendly giant
* Oil: Oil & foreign policy
* Hygiene: What's that smell?
* Cover story: The self-made king|

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

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February 26, 1999


200,000 seats
First local council elections in photographs

    People went to the polls to elect 200,000 city and village council officials. Here are photographs sent by news agencies in the last three days of the campiagn and on voting day: ... GO TO FEATURE

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February 25, 1999


Come back tomorrow
Running around in government offices

    By Shahin Shahin

    Two days into my visit in Iran, a friend of mine from college days in Europe called and asked whether I would accompany him on some errands. Sure, why not. Little did I know that it would turn into a mission, an almost impossible mission.

    Inside the taxi, he explained that he wanted to change the deeds of a house the family owned into his brother's name. We went to see an attorney.

    The attorney was a very nice man, who did not laugh at us simple, naive souls. He began to explain the process and procedures. To me they seemed so complicated, that my head began to spin. Behind the attorney's head I saw a vision of a slow fuse, a lighted match lighting the fuse, and him saying to us, "should we accept the mission ...and the tape would self-destruct in five seconds". The theme music from Mission Impossible was ringing in my ears ... GO TO FEATURE

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February 24, 1999


Oil & foreign policy
Short-term need for cash prompt excuses

By Guive Mirfendereski

The ultimate objective in penning "Just pretend we have no oil" was to provoke debate about the debilitating nature of Iran's dependence on revenues from international sale of oil. The essay elicited a range of feedback, some brutally unkind, but most raised issues which are worth exploring further on this occasion.

In an atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion, the government seems to favor a "pump it or lose it" policy because of its short-term need for cash and excuses the "pump it" policy anyway on ambiguous geological grounds. In effect, the failure of the government to foster good neighborly relations impedes mutually beneficial exploitation of a shared reserve. The "pump it" oil policy therefore perpetuates, encourages, subsidizes and finances failures in foreign policy. This observation holds true and applies equally to Iran and any other neighboring country seized by its peculiar brand of myopia ... GO TO FEATURE


Waking the friendly giant
Why is our tourism industry so dead?

    By Khodadad Rezakhani

    Economic issues have always been a big subject of controversy in Iranian circles. Time and again we have been told that oil reserves will dry up one day and we will become dirt poor. Family "economists", aka grownups around the sofreh on lazy Friday afternoons, always had all sorts of opinions. The most popular was: If this country is to get anywhere, we better close the oil wells (dar-e chaahe nafto bebandim). Sounds good, but how? There have been countless commentaries by economists and experts, both in support and against this idea. I am neither supporting nor opposing, just offering a possible alternative.

    I know that many people talk about Iran and tourism, almost as often as they talk about oil. We have beautiful beaches, amazing art, and ancient buildings. And everybody wonders why we don't even have a fraction of the tourists other countries attract every year ... GO TO FEATURE

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February 23, 1999


What's that smell?
This was the smell of America. But what was it?

    By Shahriar Zahedi
    February 23, 1999
    The Iranian

    It was August 25, 1975. The Iran Air jumbo jet landed at New York's JFK airport, and I set foot on American soil. Wearing a three-piece suit custom made by some tailor in Laleh-Zar, I must have looked pretty third world-ish, but I didn't care. Heck, I didn't even know our worlds were numbered like that! Upon entering the immigration and customs area on that hot and muggy day, a strange odor hit my hypersensitive nose.

    "Wow! What's that smell?" I asked myself (in Farsi) ... GO TO FEATURE

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February 22, 1999

Cover story

The self-made king
With a little help from the British

    The following excerpt and photos are from Cyrus Ghani's Iran and the Rise of Reza Shah, (1998 I.B. Tauris Publishers):

    Little is known about Reza Khan prior to the coup [of 21 February 1921]. He was born in the village of Alasht in the region of Savad Kouh in the province of Mazandaran. Alasht was an isolated village some 6,000 feet above sea level and at the turn of the century its population did not exceed 1,000 ... GO TO FEATURE

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