Iran: November 10, 2001


The war in Afghanistan is having a substantial effect on Iran. While both conservative and moderate leaders condemn the American operations in Afghanistan, president Khatami has strongly condemned bin Laden's terrorism as "not representative of Islam." This puts him at odds with the religious conservatives, who have long trained terrorists and supported terrorism in Iraq, Lebanon and Israel. The religious conservatives currently have the support of only about a quarter of the population. To make matters worse, more young people are becoming openly pro-American. There are several hundred thousand Iranians living in the United States. Some of these exiles have established an Iranian language  satellite TV channel. The programming is largely entertainment and news, and it can be picked up in Iran. Satellite dishes are illegal, but many Iranians have them. A particularly striking commentator on the American based channel is the son of the former Shah. Like many other Iranian-Americans, the Shah's son represents the freedom and prosperity that young Iranians see denied them by the religious conservatives. The movement away from religious conservatism grows and Iran many be liberated, as well as Afghanistan, because of American operations in the area. 


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