Discussing the rising U.S. exports of cigarettes to Iran recently, Senator McCain joked, “Maybe that’s a way of killing them.” We have seen the unfortunate impact that Iran has on the Senator’s sense of humor before (the famous “Bomb, bomb, bomb” song). But this essay is not about Mr. McCain or the election. It is about the circumstances that make it possible for him to voice the death wish: “our” deep ambivalence toward “them,” the Iranians. The Americans who travel to Iran, an average of 300 a year, find the country full of surprises. Before they arrive in Tehran, they know a thing or two about the country. They know that a religiously oriented government is in place and the constitution extends its tentacle deep into personal lives. They know that many young Iranians long for living in a more western society. Not an unrealistic assessment. But there is a lot they don’t know. Iran has a constellation of highly developed urban centers.