Iran: The Bast Seekers

When an Iranian wants to be safe from the police, he reverts to an old custom called bast, or asylum. The recognized sanctuaries are Parliament buildings, mosques, the royal palace and stables, and, curiously enough, telegraph offices. As Iran last week reeled through its second national election in seven months, citizens were scampering in all directions seeking bast.

Eleven National Front politicians dodged into Teheran's modernistic, $9,000,000 Senate building. Sharing their bast was a local cook, famed for his delicious tchelo kabob (tender lamb strips, rice, raw egg, melted butter), who had brought them food and now could not leave without...

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