I was working on a story where a narrator living a thousnd years in the future writes about the IRI dynasty. In the fog of history he confuses the IRI with the dynasty that briefly ruled Iran just before Darius IV founded the neo-Achaemenids. reunified the Persian speaking world and annexed Los Angeles. But never mind all that; the historian is describing the famous "Ahmadinejad dilemma." Legend has it that this Grand Vazir knew nothing of politics or economics. So during a tense period of ethnic uprisings, with foreign "Tooranians" at the gate and with Iran's back against the wall, he decided to pull an Arash e Kamaangir. Since he was not skilled with the bow he decided to use the only talents he had: legend has it that the held a doctorate in kaashi kaari--or something like that--and he was really good with Microsoft Paint.
So one day he climbed a podium, tore off his clothes, and rashly announced to the world that he could color the Iran map using only red, white and green, and if he failed the Sepaah and Baseej would stand down and let the "Tooranians" take what they want. Of course he had learned in Kaashi kaari class that any pattern--even provinces on a map--can be colored using only four colors such that no two neighboring provinces have the same color. But maps where fewer colors are needed are imaginable. So, on the otuside chance that Iran was one of those maps where only three colors were needed, he stupidly risked the country which beloged to seventy million Iranians.
Of course Ahmadinjead failed miserably, but an old man with real Arash potential appeared from Khorasan province and negotiated a deal at the UN where Iran could keep whatever territory Arash could color using only red, white, and green. If a fourth color was needed, that province was lost. It is said his solution was the best that could be done. Well, "best" is a matter of opinion. Do you try to keep the most land or the most valuable resouces? Or do you try to keep the country as ethnically homogenous as possible...? Anyway, the above map is a "land grab" solution where Iran kept some provinces and lost some (purple).
Here are the questions the historian from the future wants our help with:
Most important question: which provinces did we lose?
Puzzle question: Can the coloring be improved so Iran keeps more provinces? More land?
"Get your mind out of Tehran and oil" question: Was Arash wise in his choice of which provinces to keep and which to sacrifice?
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