Iran is offering travel agents a $20 incentive — one hesitates to use the term “bounty” — for each American tourist they can entice to the country. And, the Iranians point out, that $20 is double what they’re offering for tourists from most other countries.
Iranian tourist officials have apparently sensed that they have a hard sell on their hands with Americans. Go figure.
Perhaps it’s because just last month a crowd in Tehran happily chanted “Death to America” when it said Israel would be wiped out and we might too if we tried to prevent it. Perhaps it’s because for the last 38 years the government has referred to us as the Great Satan. Perhaps it’s because the government keeps mentioning us in reference to its duplicitously developed nuclear weapons capability.
Perhaps it’s because just last month the U.S. State Department issued a warning that “American citizens may be subject to harassment or arrest while traveling or residing in Iran.”
Perhaps it’s because ordinary Iranians can enjoy pleasures — dress, music, films, TV — that we take for granted only behind high walls for fear of the religious police.
Perhaps it’s because in 1979 they took 52 of us hostage and held them in barbaric conditions for 444 days. Somehow Iran just doesn’t seem all that, well, welcoming. But $20 is a start.