A Bush supporter ... in Iran?
The rhetoric between Iranian and American officials is rising, and rising fast. So today, we decided to head into the streets of Tehran, Iran's capital city, to see what ordinary Iranians think of America.
We started our day in a shopping area in the northern part of Tehran, which is where more affluent and more liberal Iranians reside.
One man, off-camera, told us he was a fan of President Bush because he had gotten rid of Saddam Hussein. Iran and Iraq fought a bloody 8-year war in the early 1980s. But when we turned the camera on, he didn't want to touch that subject. It's a glimpse at some of the difficulties in getting people to truly open up to a Western television crew.
We also met a few Iranian women who were willing to talk. They said they separate the American people from the American government and had great things to say about American society. One even said she models herself after what she considers the best parts of being American -- working hard and working well with others.
From northern Tehran, we traveled south, toward the more conservative part of the city, where we interviewed people at Tehran's biggest market.
People there said they aren't very aware of Americans, because they get very little information from the local media. One shop-owner warned us that as long as the American government continues to pressure Iran, Iranians will say, "Death to America." But not to the American people, he added.
Many of the Iranians we spoke to have split views of America. They say great things about the American people, but reserve harsh words for the American government.
These harsh words manifest themselves in some rather public ways. Off a main highway in Iran, there stands a government-sanctioned mural that reads "Down with America" on a U.S. flag dotted with skulls and bombs. And just days ago, a few hours outside the capital, there were celebrations marking the 26th anniversary of a botched U.S. rescue attempt to save Americans being held hostage in Iran.
The nuclear dispute is clearly heating up between Iran and the United States. But from the handful of Iranians we spoke to, they are hoping the two peoples can connect even if their governments cannot.