The Ayatollah’s Disarming Wit

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Every tourist who visits Iran has three common observations: The women are stunning, the traffic is maddening, and, after oil, humor is the major industry.

On the streets and in taxicabs, political jokes abound. No one, especially the leadership, is spared, and no perspective is more telling or reliable than the anonymous satirist’s. A popular joke during the last presidential election invited Syrians also to vote: “After all, our president will be your finance minister, too!”

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