Hugs From Iran
NEW YORK TIMES Op Ed by Nicholas D. Kristof: “We love America!” gushed a former military commando, now a clothing seller, my first evening in the spiritual center of Mashhad. He was so carried away that I thought he might hug me, and although he acknowledged that his business was suffering greatly from Western sanctions, he said he blamed his own leaders.
That was far from a universal view. I encountered many Iranians — especially in the countryside — who strongly support the Iranian authorities and resent what they see as American government bullying. But while Iranians are far from monolithic, one feature was ubiquitous: the warmth of Iranians when they discovered I was American…
To me, Iran feels like other authoritarian countries I covered before they toppled. My guess is that the demise of the system is a matter of time — unless there’s a war between Iran and the West, perhaps ignited by Israeli strikes on Iranian nuclear sites. That, I sense, would provoke a nationalist backlash and rescue the ayatollahs. More on what I found on my journey in forthcoming columns… (more)