Iran's oil-fueled prosperity tends to undercut another still-prevalent idea in Washington and European capitals: that with yet one more set of U.N. sanctions Iran will give up its nuclear program. Even many reformers who despise Ahmadinejad and his clumsy defiance of international opinion say that's not going to happen. America's confrontational approach to Iran, says S.M.H. Adeli, Iran's former ambassador to London, "has already gone on for three decades, and it hasn't worked. Why should it work now?" U.N. sanctions are shrugged off by most Iranians as a cost of doing business, adding about 6 percent to prices in general.
To me, six percent sounds like a lot; I feel like a politician proposing some policy initiative likely to generate an across the board six percent price increase would be doomed. Maybe that's just me. Hirsh's description of the actual conditions of Iranian life are interesting.