IRAN: After the Abadan Fire

The mullahs and the modernists collide

Commemorating the death of Caliph Ali (A.D. 600-661), who is revered by Iran's 34 million Shi'ite Muslims as the only true successor to Muhammad, is always a solemn occasion. But last week's observances were especially subdued. Tehran was tense and quiet. The Club Discotheque, normally a place of frenzied activity for Iran's newly rich upper middle class, was shuttered. Hotels and restaurants decreed a four-day prohibition of alcoholic beverages. Television stations broadcast readings from the Koran and Islamic sermons in place of Cannon and Police...

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