So Iran is open for business, for tourists, is it?
This is strange, one moment Iran is public enemy no.1, the next the country is flavour of the month.
This was in the Evening Standard magazine on Friday the 24th of January 2014
On the rails in Iran
Iran’s rogue-nation days may soon be over. President Rouhani opened the country’s doors to UN nuclear inspectors in December & although a UK Foreign Office advisory warning is still in place, this Aladdin’s cave could prove too enticing for intrepid tourists to pass up. This October, the Danube Express is running its ‘Jewels of Persia’ tour, taking in the ruins of Persepolis, which in on the UNESCO World Heritage List & the cities of Shiraz, Tehran & Yazd. Demand & prices are high (from £8,695pp, Danube-express.com)
This was on both Nasrin Sotoudeh & Jafar Panahi’s Facebook page
United Nations human rights experts are calling on Iran to halt what they call an “abrupt surge” in hangings in the country since the start of 2014. The call is contained in a joint statement from the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, and the UN special rapporteur on summary executions, Christof Heyns. The statement described Iranian authorities as carrying out the death penalty on prisoners with “alarming frequency.” The statement said at least 40 people have reportedly been hanged in Iran in the first two weeks of January, with at least 33 executions reported in the past week …
It seems that it is ok to ignore human rights abuses & go ahead & visit the country as though nothing is wrong. Iran seems to be successfully hiding the truth.
The idea of visiting a slaughterhouse like Iran as though nothing is amiss is wrong unless the tourists (for such they are) know nothing about the situation. Iran has been viewed in something of a positive light ever since the revolution in 1978 which overthrew the Shah. In part this is because the Shah was undoubtedly ripe for the picking. The Iran Iraq war was started by the evil Saddam Hussein. Iran was the victim of Iraqi aggression. Saddam Hussein undoubtedly thought he could march through Iran unopposed or at least almost unopposed.
From this has emanated the perception that there is nothing much wrong with the system in Iran. Or at least I think this must be the reason.
Iran has an image of being a cuddly soft toy which is much misunderstood. This shows, in part, how little people know (in spite of all the information available) It is also because of the history of Iran, the history of Persia. I remember seeing a film about Iran – probably several decades ago – about Iran. It was about a tribe who migrated twice a year. They took all their animals, goats & horses & so on, with them, across plains, through rivers. There was something wonderful about it. It seemed pre modern age. This image of Persia exists. Persia makes up a part of Iran but mostly the words are used interchangeably.
It happens. Much ideology gets in the way of the truth. It happened in the early years of the Soviet Union. Eminent people such as G.B Shaw went to the country & came back with glowing reports of the place. G.B. Shaw said I have seen the future & it works. The truth is that people were absolutely desperate for a better World & for this reason (amongst other reasons,) allowed themselves to be duped. Under Stalin, millions perished in the Gulag. But the country was still courted by much of the left. Many left the party after the Hungarian uprising (mis-named the Hungarian Revolution – it was not a revolution – A revolution would have resulted in the system changing – it didn’t – it resulted in the forces of oppression re-asserting themselves.) The Russian Revolution was a true revolution – it did change the system – completely.
The Iranians have had their revolution. But they are attempting – with some success to hide the truth of it from the World. They are aided & abetted in this by such useful idiots as Galloway, Jack Straw & Norman Lamont. In addition there are such journalists as Peter Oborne who is an apologist for Iran, at least on the nuclear issue.
There is a certain amount of compassion fatigue in the World. There are bad things going on all over the place. In all 4 corners of the World there are injustices. Most of them are apparent. Apparently human rights abuses in Iran aren’t apparent.
President Hassan Rouhani has said that Iran is open for business. No doubt it is. No doubt in the modern World, the modern capitalist World, all that counts are innovation & the opportunity to make money.