Reporters on the Job

MULTIFACETED IRAN: Reporting on Iran often results in cases of political and cultural whiplash, says the Monitor's Scott Peterson. Take just a couple of recent days.

Scott's first stop was high in the hills of wealthy north Tehran to see a reformist vice president at the palace grounds of the former Shah Reza Pahlavi.

The next visit was to a think tank, to interview a former official who served a conservative government for 15 years. Then it was on to meet with someone from the reform-minded Foreign Ministry.

Scott capped the night with several Iranian friends, visiting one of Tehran's most luxurious pool complexes. They then drove him home in style: "It was more than I bargained for," Scott says. "They were former rally drivers, and, well, the streets were empty at 1:30 a.m...."

The next day took Scott to the Islamic Guidance Ministry - as well as to a heavy-metal band rehearsal. "I hooked up with some musicians who wanted to introduce me to the band," Scott says. Several energizing hours later, Scott retreated happily to another friend's place across town, for grapes, tea, and pizza - and an explanation of what it all meant.

EXTRA MEASURES: Since the Baghdad hotel in which a crew from NBC had been staying was bombed last week, correspondent Peter Ford has taken more precautions. He keeps the curtains in his hotel room drawn, since flying glass from an explosion can do a lot of damage. He is also careful to ensure that press conferences he attends have suitable security - once a colleague was killed in Costa Rica by a bomb hidden in the equipment of someone posing as a cameraman. But he says he feels safe enough on the streets, interviewing or shopping. And NBC has moved into the hotel the Monitor is in - perhaps a seal of approval for the location's concrete barriers, checkpoints, and other security installations.

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

Cultural snapshot

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