Iran: The Grand Vizier

Out for an early-morning horseback ride in Teheran on one of his Arabian stallions, Iranian Premier Assadollah Alam came across some building laborers who were grumbling about their low pay. The workers did not recognize Alam, and when he asked them why they had left their villages for the capital, one replied: "Well, we heard the Premier on the radio promising that workers would get a raise to 100 rials [$1.33] a day." Replied Alam, "Don't you know that all Premiers lie?" and casually trotted off.

A man of sardonic urbanity and quick, quizzical intelligence, Alam, 45, is a British-educated...

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