I had coffee with an acquaintance of mine who was born and lived most of her life in Iran. She just returned from a trip to Tehran, her first visit in the past 10 years. She was amazed at the changes she saw on the streets.
“It used to be that you saw lots of old people walking the streets or in the café’s,” she said. “Now you hardly see anyone over 30 on the streets.” What are they doing? I asked. “Just standing around…all these kids standing around with nothing to do.” They don’t have jobs? I asked. “No, there are no jobs for the younger generation.” Sounds like Russia, I said, from what I saw during my last two trips there…and it was winter.
I asked her what they thought about the war in Iraq. “They’re furious,” she said immediately. I thought I knew why…get those damn imperialists out of the Middle East…but to keep the conversation going I asked her why that was the case.
“They’re furious because the U.S. didn’t go into Iran, too. They’re furious because they know the opportunity is lost now, that if the U.S. would have kept the peace after the invasion they would have turned their attention to Iran. But that won’t happen now.”
Surprised, I said, “So they would have been OK with a shock and awe campaign in Tehran – the devastation, the lost civilian lives?”
“They were waiting with great hope for it,” she said. “Even that would have been better than how they’re living now. I know it's ironic, but it would have given them hope.”
I asked her if she thought Iran had a nuclear bomb. “I don’t know,” she said. “But if they do, I have no doubt that Israel will immediately try to take it out with precision strikes as soon as they find out where it is.”