Iran: May 12, 2004


The Islamic conservatives running the country gave another vivid example of why they are so unpopular. The new airport opened 45 kilometers south of the capital. The new airport cost nearly half a billion dollars to build, and several Turkish firms were involved in the financing and construction. But the Turks were competing with companies owned by the religious conservatives that have veto power over the government, and control the military. There were complaints from Iranian companies controlled by the Islamic conservatives. So on the new airports first day of operation, the army drove truckloads of armed troops onto the runway and closed the airport. The Turkish firms at the airport were ordered out, to be replaced by the Iranian companies with the right religious connections. The government scrambled to placate the Islamic conservatives (who are too inept to compete with the Turkish firms), while still honoring the contracts with the Turks. This sort of thing, naturally enough, discourages foreign companies from doing business in Iran. And most Iranians have figured this out. 


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