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Selfie sticks and holiday cheer in Tehran in December
Selfie sticks and holiday cheer in Tehran in December

Look no further than fried chicken for signs that American influence is returning to Iran in the wake of the deal to end sanctions in exchange for limits on the Iranian nuclear program.

That was the message from influential Republican Guards General Mohammad Hossein Sepehr, who cited the opening of a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Tehran amongst his warnings that "America wants to infiltrate our society, culture, clothes, food, conduct, distractions and the way we pray."

Never mind that the KFC branch in question may have been the one shut down in November, 24 hours after it opened, though it was never clear whether it was an actual franchise or a knock-off, which is anything but unusual in Iran. The KFC's owner had said his eatery was a "halal" version of the global food chain.

The Revolutionary Guards general insists that the West is waging a "cultural assault" on Islamic Iran and its values. It's been a longstanding leitmotif of Iranian public discourse that began with the 1979 revolution, and the message is back in force with a vengeance as Iran emerges from isolation following the international nuclear deal.

Sepehr's comments joined other such declarations in recent days, expressing hostility toward the United States and warning it to mind Iran's many limits.

Another Iranian general accused the United States of trying to "strike at" Qasem Soleimani, the Revolutionary Guards general running Iran's operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, though the report by the conservative Fars news agency did not clarify whether he was accusing Americans of plotting to kill him.

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Society

Jehovah's Witnesses Translate The Bible In Indigenous Language — Is This Colonialism?

The Jehovah's Witnesses in Chile have launched a Bible version translated into the native Mapudungun language, evidently indifferent to the concerns of a nation striving to save its identity from the Western cultural juggernaut.

A Mapuche family awaits for Chilean President Gabriel Boric to arrive at the traditional Te Deum in the Cathedral of Santiago, on Chile's Independence Day.

Claudia Andrade

NEUQUÉN — The Bible can now be read in Mapuzugun, the language of the Mapuche, an ancestral nation living across Chile and Argentina. It took the Chilean branch of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a latter-day Protestant church often associated with door-to-door proselytizing and cold calling, three years to translate it into "21st-century Mapuzugun".

The church's Mapuche members in Chile welcomed the book when it was launched in Santiago last June, but some of their brethren see it rather as a cultural imposition. The Mapuche were historically a fighting nation, and fiercely resisted both the Spanish conquerors and subsequent waves of European settlers. They are still fighting for land rights in Chile.

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