Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Joshua's Army member Yamabushi earns a commendation for bringing this odd item to my attention. Apparently the government of Iran is is offering cash bonuses to travel agents for American and European tourists.
"Iran's tourism department will pay US$20 per person to those who attract European or American tourists to the country," said Mohammed Sharif Malakzadeh, deputy head of the department, according to IRNA (Islamic Republic News Agency),Iran's official government news agency.
The official spin on this is that it's Iran's attempt to reach out to ordinary Americans to show that its problem is with the U.S. administration — not U.S. citizens.
There may be some truth to that, but I think the real, underlying reasons are a little different.
First of all, Iran is desperate for foreign exchange and any jobs tourism might create, as the rial is severely inflated and unemployment. Inflation is in the high double digits and the `official' unemployment rate is almost 13%...around 35% if we're talking the 18-29 age group.
Second, this is an obvious attempt to attract human shields into the country to use as hostages.
Much as I can appreciate the delights of sampling horisht or chelo polo in Shiraz or exploring the ruins at Persopolis, I think that passing on an Iranian vacation would be a pretty smart move just now.
Not to mention a humane one, considering the regime vacationing Americans or Europeans would be supporting with their tourist dollars.
Posted by Freedom Fighter at 8:58 AM