It is getting really late here in Tehran but a friend at work had sent me a request asking me to write a few things about what I'm doing.
I've been in Tehran now for the last two days, and besides reading the local papers, eating Persian food, and visiting with my parents, my grandmother, my aunts and my uncle, I had a chance to get out a bit. Earlier today (3 am California time), and along with my family and my brother and his family (visiting from Turkey), I took the Tehran Metro from the Beheshti station, near my parents' home to the Sa'di station. Ticket price for all seven of us: less than $2. Objective: to travel to the electronics bazaar near Sa'di square to buy a new home phone system for my parents, to buy a new fax machine for my dad and to pay a short visit to Cafe Naderi, for cappuccino, ice-cream and cake. (The cappuccino could be better but the Turkish coffee was excellent. Incidentally, Panasonic rules the phone and fax market here, and the choice was rather quick given the abundance of supply.)
The Tehran Metro Art is quite astounding and the continuous improvements in the last few years in passenger management, traffic and ticketing (including RFID installations) are quite nice to see, and of course, what might impress some visitors most would be its cleanliness.
||Ali Mehdi Heidari
The only problem is that Tehran can use scores of other stations and many more lines (see the current map), and unfortunately, at one point, I did read in The Washington Post that the large Chinese conglomerate which originally supplied some of the electric powered wagons used in the Tehran Metro was subsequently, and very soon, put on the sanctions list by the U.S. This was about 3 or 4 years ago, I believe. I did read later, somewhere in the Iranian media, that Iran is now making these wagons in the country but I'm sure it will always be much more convenient and timely to use some of the production capacity in China or elsewhere to supply the lines and more capital investment can surely help with building the remaining lines and stations...but Persians, like all traditional and rooted cultures (and that just happens to be a good starting definition for any culture), are a patient people and will always value honor, commerce, justice and generosity more than threats and hand-outs.