This article is a glimpse of life in Tehran. The author has walked through miles of streets, alleys and bazaars, talking with local merchants. They aren’t happy.
The merchants who run the bazaar, together with the banking industry, are a powerful force in Iran. They helped finance Khomeini’s takeover in 1979. As the author says, they “can make or break a government. Right now they are not a particularly happy bunch.”
Like all business people, these merchants want stability and certainty, and this isn't being provided by Ahmadinejad. One merchant says “My sales are down by 50 to 60 percent. I’m very worried about sanctions. Things are going to get much worse than they already are.”
Referring to Bush and Ahmadinejad, another merchant says “Why don’t they just talk? This shouting does nobody any good.”
Ahmadinejad got elected by promising to improve the lives of ordinary Iranians and to distribute the country’s oil wealth more widely. It hasn’t happened. Inflation is officially 13% but everyone says it’s actually twice that high.
This article is a reminder (for those of us who need reminding) that Iran isn't just a spot on the map for us to invade. It’s not a one-dimensional demon that we need to exorcise. It’s a country with millions of real people, just like us; people who are living their lives, taking care of their families and trying to make ends meet.
Since Bush and Ahmadinejad are both belligerent assholes, maybe they could just step into the ring and beat the shit out of each other and leave the rest of us out of it. Or like the man said, “why don’t they just talk?”