"Making his first trip across the border, Abbas said he saw a different Iran from the dangerous, meddling power that Iraqi and US officials describe when they accuse the neighboring country of fueling the fighting in Iraq. Instead, he and many of his fellow pilgrims found a deep resonance with their Shi'ite faith, a social order they admired and, most of all, a respite from violence. "
"'We envy the Iranians for the way they live,' Abbas said on his fifth day in Iran. He felt a kinship with them, he said, that was growing stronger than his ties to Iraq's Sunni Muslims, who share his nationality, Arabic language, and ethnicity."
"One thing confused him. Despite Islamic rule, 'Iranians have less faith, are less religious than us. We don't know why,' he said. 'Saddam's regime tried to take these rituals from us, but could not.'"
|Building mural in Tehran|