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Shopping in Tehran

Normal domestic politics has resumed in Iran after the recent US declaration that Iran gave up its nuclear weapons programme in 2003. Ahmadinejad's many opponents will now try to make him pay for his economic failures

For many in the west, George Bush’s 2002 “axis of evil” speech was instructive because it revealed the stark, vengeful thought processes guiding the US administration in the wake of the attacks of 11th September. With the “axis of evil” ringing in your ears, it was possible to make sense of the subsequent invasion of Iraq and the threats issued against Iran, not to mention that most intolerant and narcissistic of fantasies: to make the middle east anew, and to make it look as far as possible like America.

Inside the axis, reactions were less detached. Saddam Hussein developed his…

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