So this guy started a small hotel empire in Iran, and now he wants to bring Disneyland there, too. Most of his biggest ventures are on the island of Kish (just off the southern coast of Iran). I had no idea this island was so much more liberal (a relative term, to be sure) than the rest of Iran – apparently no visas are needed to visit, and some of Iran’s strict social rules are more relaxed. There’s even a dolphin show with dance music:
Mr. Sabet’s 18 Ukrainian dolphins have become the island’s darlings. They perform with Persian dance music, even though dance music was declared un-Islamic, and illegal, after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It is produced only by Iranian expatriates in Los Angeles, and Kish is the only place in Iran where it is heard.
Islamic law, it seems, was powerless before the charms of the dolphins. “Even local authorities love them,” said an employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job. “The island’s cleric comes and visits them every week to make sure they are O.K. He keeps complaining that the music is not jolly enough and they might get depressed.”
I’m all for his attitude of bringing more of old Persia into Iran. I think there’s a big popular sentiment towards this movement, and hopefully there can be a gradual, peaceful, cultural revolution in Iran, rather than another violent, bloody one.