If you want to keep up with what's happening in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Michael Rubin performs a public service in National Review Online's Corner by offering periodic updates. This morning's post contains, among others, these items:
-- Ahmadinejad tells war veterans and families of martyrs of the Iran-Iraq war: "Development of this country is dependent on us showing the ethos and principles of the martyrs." . . . "Pressing need for martyrdom culture."
-- Filmmaker held in Iran after stumbling upon mass grave of prisoners executed by regime.
-- Interior Minister: "Our nation resists imported ideas . . . such as liberalism and moral decay . . . Japan and China have lost their traditional values and have become Westoxifated . . . but Iranian women resist the ugly temptations of liberalism."
-- Madrasa, a quarterly journal reflecting views of moderate religious intellectuals such as Mojtahed Shabestari and Abdol Karim Soroush, banned.
It happens that just after glancing at one of Rubin's dispatches the other morning, my sixth-grader drew my attention to his homework assignment. He was to read an article about Iran in Junior Scholastic magazine and answer questions about it. You surely recall Junior Scholastic from your own school days. It's been around for 85 years and reaches about 25 million children.
The Oct. 1, 2007, issue featured a cover story titled "Iran: The Other Side of the World?" The piece begins by introducing Mohammad Reza Moqaddam, a 15-year-old resident of Qom, who "speaks quietly and respectfully" and prays five times a day. "A lot of young people these days have distanced themselves from religion," he relates. "I would like them to be much closer to it." Mohammad pays close attention to the news though, and offers the view that "Even if Iran wants nuclear weapons, it's none of the other countries' business. Some of them have nuclear weapons themselves."
Okay, so when do we get to the part where it is explained that even if young Mohammad wants a neutral take on the news, he cannot get it in Iran where the press is rigidly controlled by the regime? Nowhere. Where does it explain that Iran is the world's fourth-largest oil supplier and therefore scarcely in need of "peaceful nuclear power"? You won't find that either.