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Our Trip to IranRalph E. Stone Salem-News.com
Our visit was during the “liberal” presidency of Mohammad Khatami and a “liberal” Parliament. It was a more relaxed time in Iran.
(SAN FRANCISCO) - I read with interest "Iran was not what we had Thought" by Kourosh Ziabari. I agree with Mr. Ziabari that Iran is a beautiful country with a rich history and well worth a visit. My wife and I traveled to Iran in November 2002, visiting Tehran, Shiraz, Persepolis, Bam (before the earthquake devastated this famous site), Kerman, Yasd, and Esfaham.
Why Iran? Because there are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world. This means that one in five persons is a follower of Islam. Thus, we feel it is important to try to understand this religion and countries with a Muslim majority, especially since this is one of the world’s current hotspots. We have also visited Syria, Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia (and Israel).
At the time of our visit, America was officially Iran’s worst enemy. Maybe it still is. Among our crimes is a CIA and British Intelligence planned coup of the elected government of Premier Mohammed Mossadeq, which had nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company; restoring Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to the throne; bolstering the Shah with millions of dollars in arms sales; tilting toward Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war; shooting down a civilian Iran passenger plane in 1988, killing all 290 passengers (the warship’s commander was not punished; he was given the Legion of Merit); and an economic embargo against Iran, including blocking much needed loans from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Of course, Americans cannot forget the 1979 seizing of the American embassy in Tehran and the holding of Americans hostages followed by the ill-fated attempt to rescue them. In addition, Iran is suspected of complicity in the 1983 bombings of the U.S. embassy in Beirut killing more than 60 people; and later that year, bombing a U.S. military compound killing 241 American service men; supporting the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah; aiding “terrorist” activity in the current Iraq war; and finally U.S. concern about the possibility of Iran developing nuclear weapons. And many Americans abhor the stridency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's current president.
Our visit was during the “liberal” presidency of Mohammad Khatami and a “liberal” Parliament. It was a more relaxed time in Iran. Later of course, Khatami was replaced by a very conservative regime. It seemed that every other Iranian we met had a relative living in the United States. We walked around without fear; everyone was extremely friendly and curious about us and about America. We have found in our many travels that although many of those in foreign countries disagree with U.S. policies, for the most part, individual Americans are treated with courtesy.
We are also long-time fans of Iranian cinema.
We second Mr. Ziabari's invitation to "take the risk of traveling to Iran to behold in person the concealed and withheld realities of a magnificent Iran."
Salem-News.com writer Ralph E. Stone was born in Massachusetts. He is a graduate of both Middlebury College and Suffolk Law School. We are very fortunate to have this writer's talents in this troubling world; Ralph has an eye for detail that others miss. As is the case with many Salem-News.com writers, Ralph is an American Veteran who served in war. Ralph served his nation after college as a U.S. Army officer during the Vietnam war. After Vietnam, he went on to have a career with the Federal Trade Commission as an Attorney specializing in Consumer and Antitrust Law. Over the years, Ralph has traveled extensively with his wife Judi, taking in data from all over the world, which today adds to his collective knowledge about extremely important subjects like the economy and taxation. You can send Ralph an email at this address firstname.lastname@example.org
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