Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Iran is paying a bonus for US and European tourists.

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.


Anonymous said...

My 'Big List of Countrys not to Visit' seems to have a theme to it. can any one guess what it is?

Heres a hint,
it starts with 'is', and ends with 'lam'

ps. glad I could contibute FF. (this is my blogspot nom de plume)

Anonymous said...

Call me a coldhearted bastard, but seems to me like anyone who's foolish enough to even go to a country like Iran is probably no good to us in America.

Let em get their hostages. Good riddance, I say.

Rosey said...

Ah Iran in the Fall...beautiful beaches, (?), filled with beautiful women in Burkas...Babaganoush to die for..literally...

Anonymous said...

ok, you're a cold hearted bastard.

those who speak of the ancient iniquities and richness of this civilization should explain why the people haven't evolved past the 8th century.
i think the mullahs should offer $20 for every iranian living in the US to return to the shit hole they call a country/civilization.
they won't get any takers. anyone who gets the money, leaves, and doesn't look back.

mr_papaya said...

"First of all, Iran is desperate for foreign exchange and any jobs tourism might create, as the rial is severely inflated and unemployment."

Catch a clue.

Iran has a POSITIVE TRADE BALANCE. Lots of expensive oil sold to the EU, you know. And tourist going to iran would create demand for the rial which would FURTHER inflate the it.

Freedom Fighter said...

Sorry Papaya,
You're incorrect.

What Iran has is not a `positive trade balance'but a huge cache of reserves in FOREIGN CURRENCY and reserves that they are hoarding in the event of possible sanctions. Aside from arms, Iran is able to buy very little and certainly not in the rial,which is one of the world's orphan currencies. Arms deals are carried out in foreign currencies.

They can't even buy updated equipment to pump oil or refine gasoline - which is relatively cheap but severely rationed in Iran.

They now have almost 30% annual inflation, an unemployment rate that the regime admits is at least 12.5% and more likely 15-20% and an unemploment rate in the 18-29 age bracket- the cannon fodder years- of over 30%.

Hardly a picture of a robust economy with a `positive trade balance'.

And BTW, much of Iran's oil goes to China and India, with a relatively small percentage going to the EU. Most of the EU/Iran trade is in consumer goods, food and manufactured products.

Next time, please be (a) more informed and (b) more polite when you come on this board.