Persian Culture and Iran’s Defiant Diplomacy: A View From Tehran

Persian Culture and Iran’s Defiant Diplomacy: A View From Tehran

TEHRAN -- I decided to move to Iran after having spent seven years living in and writing about the Arab World, where foreigners are generally handled as a rare and privileged species. As such, I approached reports of Iranian impudence in dealings with the West and Westerners with suspicion. Were these reports just another case of anti-Iranian Western propaganda?

The steady stream of reports coming out of Iran about Westerners being arrested, summarily tried and jailed on spying accusations did make me wonder, however. Iran is the only country in the region where this is a regular occurrence. This doesn't mean that Arab countries don't suspect that foreign spies operate within them; just that the Islamic Republic is the only state willing to throw them in jail and ignore the international repercussions.

Still, I had my doubts. Surely, I said to myself, the Iranian approach to Europeans and Americans couldn't be all that different from the gracious -- sometimes excessively so -- approach of Arab peoples and governments.

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