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IPFS News Link • Iran

I Just Got Back From Iran

• Stephen Kinzer via The Huffington Post

"I just got back from Iran."

In today's America, that's a conversation-stopper. Those of us able to say it become temporary objects of fascination, like our grandparents would have been if they had visited China or the Soviet Union in the 1950s. Traveling to Iran makes one seem like a bold adventurer on a dangerous foray into enemy territory.

The reality is more prosaic. Although few Americans visit Iran, there is in fact no legal obstacle to doing so. I accompanied a group of American tourists on a thousand-mile, two-week trip through the country. We met no government or opposition leaders, but we were free to talk with ordinary Iranians, and did so at every stop. Because the government has made it difficult for Western journalists to work in Iran, traveling the country this way may now be the best way to gauge its people's mood.

The first thing that strikes Americans who visit Iran is how amazingly pro-American its people are. Nowhere else in the Middle East, nowhere else in the Muslim world, and almost nowhere else on earth do people so unreservedly admire the United States. Opinion surveys confirm this phenomenon, and I remembered it from previous visits. Nonetheless it was disorienting, in the heart of the purported axis of evil, to to be surrounded, as I was at Imam Square in Isfahan, by giddy female college students shrieking "We love America so much!" At a Persian garden in Kashan, I met a solemn elder whose only English phrase is "America very good," and who pronounced it with grave reverence.

4 Comments in Response to

Comment by Die Daily
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I find Stephen Kinzer's work meticulously well researched and right on the money, nearly all of the time. He is certainly not a commie, though he is a left-liberal. He represents the wholesome American values or non-interference, non-aggression and non-secrecy dear to our founders. His assessment of Iran's fate at the hands of foreigners quoted below in Mike's comment is dead-on and not even controversial. Iranian youths are massively positive about the US culture. They understand that our foreign policy is not the public will, that we are dupes and pawns of lobbyists know where. Still, they adore our culture. All we need to do is stand back and let them evolve internally. If we do so, they will become the flower of the middle east, the most America-like, pro-US country in the ME bar none. As soon as we stop creating and propping up Radical Islam, it will collapse under it's own hateful stupidity. Were it not for US/raeli interventions, there would be hardly any Radical Islam in existence.

Comment by Mike Renzulli
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Stephen Kinzer is nothing more than a liar and might also be a communist sympathizer too. His book "All the Shah's Men" repeats what the communists said about the election of Mohammed Mossadegh and the 1953 coup (which was a legitimate action). You can also see his communist sympathies from this paragraph from his own essay: "For most of the 19th and 20th centuries, Iran was ravaged by foreigners who subjugated its people and looted its resources. Whenever Iran has sought to modernize -- whether by building a steel mill in the 1930s or by nationalizing its oil industry in the 1950s -- outsiders have intervened to block it. This has made Iranians as sensitive to foreign intervention as any people in the world. It leads them to reject political forces that they see as sponsored, supported, or encouraged from abroad."

Comment by Found Zero
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Yeah people are peaceful. Take French Canadians for expample. They are peaceful in exactly the same way as an ice pick or a chainsaw is peaceful. Or perhaps a semiautomatic shotgun.

Comment by Ed Price
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Seems that back during and before the cold war with Communist Russia, the Russian people felt the same for America as the Iranian people do today. After all, wasn't Ayn Rand from Russia? Weren't her stories written against Communism, to protect the American people from it? Yet the favor which the Russian people had and the Iranian people have for us is being withheld from us by the news media and Government officials. It makes me ask the question of who our real enemy is.

Governments make war. People are peaceful.