Friday, November 25, 2005

New America Foundation : "A New Day in Iran"

New America Foundation : article -2252- "A New Day in Iran" "A New Day in Iran" -2252-

A New Day in Iran
The regime may inflame Washington, but young Iranians say they admire, of all places, America

By Afshin Molavi

Smithsonian Magazine
March 1, 2005

The police officer stepped into the traffic, blocking our car. Tapping the hood twice, he waved us to the side of the road. My driver, Amir, who had been grinning broadly to the Persian pop his new speaker system thumped out, turned grim. “I don’t have a downtown permit,” he said, referring to the official sticker allowing cars in central Tehran at rush hour. “It could be a heavy fine.”

We stepped out of the car and approached the officer. He was young, not more than 25, with a peach fuzz mustache. “I’m a journalist from America,” I said in Persian. “Please write the ticket in my name. It’s my fault.”

“You have come from America?” the officer asked. “Do you know Car . . . uh . . . Carson City?”

Carson City? In Nevada?

He crinkled his eyebrows. The word “Nevada” seemed unfamiliar to him. “Near Los Angeles,” he said.

It’s a common reference point. The city hosts the largest Iranian diaspora in the world, and homes across Iran tune in to Persian-language broadcasts from “Tehrangeles” despite regular government efforts to jam the satellite signals. The policeman said his cousin lives in Carson City. Then, after inspecting my press pass, he handed it back to me and ripped up the traffic ticket. “Welcome to Iran,” he beamed. “We love America.”

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