Iran’s Difficult and Changing Relationship with the West (1995)

Inside a Closed Nation (May 1995)
Shut off from the world, Iran is divided between its leaders and those who favour a more open society. Encroaching Western values are coming into conflict with Islamic ideals, especially as prices rise and not everybody is benefiting from this newfound affluence.

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Many Iranians regret the reputation of religious fanaticism that purveys the western world. Yet many still display anti-West fervour on special occasions, parading effigies of ‘Uncle Sam’ in the streets, although enthusiasm is waning. Relationships with the west are strained, especially after the fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, was condoned by Iran. Other issues, in particular rumours about nuclear weapons, further damage ties, even though one MP claims Iran seeks denuclearisation of the entire Middle East. Despite the changes Iran’s leaders still fear the libertine influence of the West. They seek a balance between ancient Koranic principles and 20th century realities. It’s an uneasy compromise.

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