LOOKING OVER HIS SHOULDER: While the Monitor's Scott Peterson was covering the Republic Day celebrations in Tehran, Iran, yesterday (page 1), he became aware of someone following him. "He was walking right by my shoulder, trying to listen as my interpreter translated parts of [President] Khatami's speech. It was unnerving," he says.
Scott says he's been hassled by plain-clothes police and security agents at big public events such as this in Iran, but they usually pull journalists aside and identify themselves. This fellow looked like a security agent, but Scott started to wonder if the man might belong to a vigilante group in Iran, which have been known to beat those with "incorrect" or "unIslamic" views. "Finally, my translator accosted him. 'Who are you and why are you following us?' He stammered, then said he was a businessman who wanted to invite us to his shop. We told him we were journalists and didn't have time. He demanded to know what paper we worked for. My translator told him to leave us alone and he left."
"I wondered if the translator had been too rude," says Scott. "She said he was probably a policeman, but if he wasn't going to produce identification, she felt justified in telling him off."
LONG-DISTANCE DEDICATION: To report today's story on the Peace Corps in the Muslim world (page 1), the Monitor's Cameron Barr spent a few hours with American volunteer Peggy Greene in her village in Jordan, which is about a 20-minute drive from the nearest main road. Not exactly the North Pole, but the hinterlands in Jordanian terms. After the interview, Cameron and his taxi driver gave Ms. Greene and another volunteer a ride into the nearby town of Madaba. "Wow," said the driver, a former airline pilot who keeps his skills sharp in retirement by driving a taxi. "Those people are heroes to live all the way out here."
- David Clark Scott