Claims about Iran (from the comments)

I’ve chatted with a lot of Iranians online in the past few years (they’re in Iran). Some of their takes (always subject to the “plural of anecdote is not “data”)…

1. Islam is seen by younger people as the doctrine of a failed government staffed by a bunch of crooks.
2. And it’s a foreign, Arab imposition, while the “real Iran” – the Achaenemids – were Zoroastrians, but quite willing to allow non-judgemental religious pluralism.
3. The IRGC is staffed by redneck losers, or by non-Iranians. (Iran has a separate “regular army” that all Iranian men must join as conscripts.)
4. There is a rather vast city-country divide, with people in the big Iranian cities largely non-religious or dabbling in Zoroastrianism, with the last stronghold of Islam being rural areas, particularly near Afghanistan (and around some of the religious cities).
5. The Iranian government is surprisingly weak in places like universities, where numerous people are openly hostile to it.
6. It also is pretty weak in its ability to control the Internet; it shuts down the entire Internet occasionally, but it doesn’t have much of a “great Chinese firewall” in place to selectively filter.
7. Many younger Iranians can read and write – and often speak – quite a lot of English, and they have access to Western websites.
8. Booze and drugs are highly available in Iran.

My impression from my chats with them is Iran is far from the Islamic North Korea it’s often made out to be.

I don’t myself have a good sense of those issues, but I thought this gjk comment was interesting enough to pass along.


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