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The ultra-motive
To attract foreign tourism and investment.

By Bahram Nassehi
February 20, 2002
The Iranian

Once upon a time irrespective of governments in Tehran, Iranians and our country, if not honoured or respected, were at least not degraded. No matter what the domestic circumstances, we were considered as an ancient people with a long history, culture and art. Darius the Great had once prayed to Ahura Mazda for Iran to be protected from "Enemies, Droughts and Lies".

Today, however, thanks to the Islamic Republic drought is ravaging our fields, lies have crept all over the land for over the past 23 years and enemies -- the Islamic regime, has transformed Iran into the realm of the devil -- spreading death within and without our borders.

A recent article by Cyrus Kadivar, "We are awake", brought fascinating discussions on Iranian's pages. While reading the various comments for and against Mr. Kadivar's report on an event, which took place just over thirty years ago, I was astonished by some of our compatriots' lack of respect for our history. Despite individual political beliefs, as a nation we share the same history and culture. Denial or an attempt to disregard any part of it, including the Islamic Republic's, will make us loose any sensible argument right from the beginning.

In "We are awake", the writer had sat with a man from many men and women who had played a role in part of our history. A man, who was involved in a celebration that beside its lavish appearance, had an ultra-motive.

In 1971 when Iran's population was less than 36 million, inflation had not yet reached today's triple figures, income from our oil had started to pour into the country with prices and production greater than ever, when unemployment was far from the realities of many advanced countries of the time, in circumstances where Iranians lived far better than any of our neighbours and many nations in the third world, the Iranian elite -- our fellow countrymen, who had the responsibility of improving Iran's image as well as increasing her wealth, decided to invest in an activity which cost far less than any other means in order to market Iran on a global scale to attract foreign tourism and investment.

Mr Ansari has given the figure of US$22.5M as the cost for the 2500th anniversary of Iran's history. This cost included many other constructive projects such as expansion of Iran's roads and airports, communication networks, tourist resorts and hotels, schools, health clinics, as well as the introduction of numerous seminars and conferences around globe on OUR past and OUR country. The exhaustive list of those projects can today be a valuable book for future generations.

If the costs incurred for the 2500th anniversary of our nation's history was to be replaced by a public relations, advertising and marketing activities on a global scale to reach the public that the celebrations had reached -- to promote Iran and attract foreign investors as well as the wealth tourism brings to a country, the above figure could have not even cover a public relations cost in a dozen European countries.

What amazes me; at least on is that not many people have taken the trouble of criticising the current regime that spends billions of dollars of our wealth for its destructive extra-territorial activities. Budget that pours out of our national coffers into various international terrorists organizations surely does not improve the image of one of the oldest civilizations on earth.

Peter Goodspeed of National Post in an article last year said; "Ayatollah Khomeini's tomb costs more than the annual budget of Tehran, a city of 12 million people, to build. When completed, the tomb complex will have cost about US$2.5-billion and will include a university, seminary, hotel, shopping mall and subway station."

US$2.5 billion to build a tomb for a man who helped us to have an eight year war, who when he died left us over a million dead, handicapped and executed after eight years of pointless war and eleven years of his destructive republic. With unemployment and poverty ripping the fabrics of our society. With prostitution and drugs reaching the highest level in our history.

In July 2,000, BBC's Reza Azam reported on a survey published in a newspaper in Iran, produced by Mohammad Ali Zam, the head of Tehran's cultural and artistic affairs. It stated that, "There are up to two million drug addicts, some of them school children, with an estimated five tonnes of narcotics consumed every day in the capital, Tehran".

The same report adds that; "Drug addiction is the rage among school children, prostitution has increased 635% among high school students and the (growth) rate of suicide in the country has exceeded the record by 109%." In the same report Mr. Zam say, "12m people live below the poverty line, and huge numbers are flocking to cities from villages."

After twenty-three years that destroyed our country, it is time for us to unite for one cause, freedom of our nation. For the first time since 1979 the world seems prepared to listen to our nation's cry of freedom. Yet, some of us have still not learnt what democracy means!

Democracy will only prevail in our country when we have learnt to tolerate our opposing views. Those who deny the rights to any political faction, including those supporters of the current regime or any other social or religious minorities have no right to claim to be democracy lovers while accusing others as non democrats.

It is time for all us to rid ourselves from pointless accusations. We Iranians are masters of finding faults, however, hardly one of us is prepared to find solutions. If we are all claiming to be for democracy for Iran's tomorrow -- something that we have enjoyed in our host nations in the past 23 years, then its time we come together and unite for liberating Iran.

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment for the writer Bahram Nassehi


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