A kiss is a promise that I'm not going to overthrow any democratically-elected government


by siamak vossoughi

"Wait," the young man said. He was Iranian and he had told the girl, who was American, that he was Iranian and not Persian. They had kissed once and then he'd stopped.

"I have to tell you about Mossadegh."


"Not what, who. Mossadegh was a man. He was the prime minister of Iran in 1953. He was overthrown by an American coup. I have to tell you about him because I shouldn't be the only one thinking about him when we kiss."

"I would rather not be thinking about him when we kiss. I would rather you not be thinking about him when we kiss."

"I don't mean thinking about him. I mean he's part of the picture. As long as I am Iranian and you are American, he is part of the picture."

"It's just a kiss."

"Sure. Of course. But a country is just a country too. It's the same thing."

"I'm just going to feel bad if you tell me about it."

"That's all right. Feeling bad is part of kissing. I feel terrible about it. I felt terrible about it a minute ago when we kissed."

She looked at him like now that was just too much.

"I look at it like this," he said. "A kiss is a promise that I'm not going to overthrow any democratically-elected government just for something like nationalizing the oil industry. And I'm not going to go along with anybody else doing it. It's a message to the Dulles brothers that I'm not a part of any of that."


"The Dulles brothers. John Foster and Allen. They were the ones behind it. Eisenhower was just along for the ride."

"You don't think the Dulles brothers kissed their wives?"

"They probably did. I haven't quite figured that out yet. But I think they meant something different when they kissed. I don't think they saw a kiss as a time to be very soft and very hard at the same time. I don't think they saw it as something that was theirs alone and everybody's at the same time."

"I'm going to cry," she said.

"That's all right. Crying is a perfectly reasonable thing to do."

"I feel as though even though I didn't know their names, I knew about Mossadegh and the Dulles brothers. I mean I knew that that was probably what happened. And I knew that you would know their names."

They didn't say anything for a while.

"All right," she said. "I want to hear about it."

He told her about the Shah, about the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, about the poverty of the people who worked in the oil fields, and about the Shah again after the coup.

"Wouldn't you rather kiss an Iranian girl who already knows about Mossadegh?" she said.

He laughed. "Knowing about Mossadegh isn't the only attractive quality a girl can have."

"What is another one?"

"Well, being willing to listen to the story of Mossadegh, for one."

"I'm willing to listen. But I feel like there are so many of those stories that I'm never going to get to all of them."

"That's all right. You can never get to all of them. But you can get to enough that you can have a sense of who you are in the world."

"I don't know if I can get to enough for that."

"Well, one story a day is a good start, if you're willing to listen in the right way."

"What is the right way?"

"The right way is the way that lets a kiss be a kiss, that lets a kiss be all it is. If you feel fearful that you're not going to get to enough of those stories, you should kiss with that fear. You should kiss with some forgiveness of yourself too, but you should kiss with that fear."

"I don't know how to do that. A kiss isn't the time for being fearful."

"A kiss is the best time for being fearful. Think if the Dulles brothers had been able to do that. Think if they had been able to admit that they were fearful of a world that they didn't control."

"What would have happened?"

"I don't know. But they would have been honest about it at least. Maybe their wives would've said, 'It's all right. Let Mossadegh nationalize the oil industry. Iran will survive. England will survive. America will survive.'"

He smiled, and it was the saddest smile the girl had ever seen.

"They would've survived, wouldn't they?" the girl said.

"Yes, they would've."

They kissed, and it was just a kiss, but something was surviving all along the kiss, long and steadily, from its beginning to its end and afterwards too.


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Hi kheili azeezam American Wife :)

by Mini (not verified) on

It is your sweetness that you found me sweet :) no no so sweet!

But still i would say it is your goodness that you are acknowledging me with kind words..

you can use any of the words that i wrote....they belong to the universe just the way i do...and way everybody else problem with that...

Well you are close on that..though i am not a britisher..but we have a close relation with britishers..they ruled India for good number of years...but i used jolly....that word got incorporated on its own i dont its not part of my vocab that much but i used it..:)) that was jolly good! :) More precisely i am a Punjabi ..:)

Making opinions, reading between the lines, analysing men and manners, psychoanalysis..its a great thing to do..its lovely actually.....very very helps resolve many conflicts of day to day life and help us get rid of hatred for so many things and people..observing and making opinions is a very humane thing to do actually means bettering our understanding....but it should be backed with intelligence...or

Well i could not find your mail id...i tried so sincerely but could not you have to help me find a solution to this problem!! i know you will :)



by American Wife (not verified) on

You are so sweet!  Not something anyone will ever call  Too opinionated.  Not sweet but extremely fair and loyal.  I value those qualities in others as well.  Unfortunately, on the internet it's easy to loosen up and "fire at will".  I LOVED the way you described it..."Irish pride complimenting and supplementing Persian pride".  I hope you don't mind if I use  But I always give credit where credit is due...:-)  And yeah... it certainly can be lethal!!! 

In "jolly", can I infer that you might be British?  Isn't it funny how with just a word, one can form an opinion?  I of all people should be more careful of

I look forward to talking with you on a personal level as well!  You can go to my contact and get my e-mail address.

Have a great day!


Hi dear American wife :)))

by Mini (not verified) on

i wrote something for you..which is not being published..again it is not understandable to me why...they were my thoughts and they were just fine...

anyhows!! i liked reading what you wrote...and its always good to see two cultures mingling into culture of love..Happyness ever!


hello dear american wife:

by Mini (not verified) on

You loved writing it and i loved reading it..pretty interesting to know that ya got an irish background..i am interestd in irish people as well as associated pride...heard about them as well read about it in "Gone with the Winds".. Now in your case irish pride must be complementing and supplementing persian pride and vice versa...pride not to be confused with ego :)..its cultural pride i know...But sure Irish and Persian is a lethal combination..i mean a jolly good one...Great!!

happy to hear you are having a happy life..

meanwhile if you can mail me at i can be in touch with you and learn more about persian stuff & irish as well..i would love to be friends with you seem to be a good and generous source of information that i seek! :)



by American Wife (not verified) on

So glad that you understand me better now!  First, my comment regarding the relationship experts was MASSIVELY sarcastic.  I disagree strongly with some of the advice and opinions of some of the single and married women on  Not to say my way is right by ANY means.  I just feel pretty strongly about some issues.  Most are a result of personal experience.  These are MY opinions and just as I'm not trying to force feed anyone else, I don't care to hear that I'm "this or this" because I disagree.  Agree to disagree is my motto...:-)

I agree with your comments about sharing stories/experiences BIG TIME.  I love to listen to my husband talk about stories from his childhood.  He is very close to his family and I can simply HEAR the affection in his voice when he talks to them.  I think it's important to be able to share as much of his experiences as possible... plus it just plain gives him pleasure!

As far as my own personal Persian experiences, they have been overwelmingly positive and encouraging.   Ironically, our differences are less than cultural and far more of a personality nature.  We came from fairly similar backgrounds... large family, lots of brothers and sisters... fairly strict parents... same kind of interests (reading, music, sports).  So the basis of our relationship is a commonality of the "structure" of our backgrounds. 

As far as personalities... WHOA!  Many TOO many similarities  Both type "A"... stubborn... opinionated... pretty dominating... passionate.  We will forever toe the line of compromise.  It's a constant learning process. 

I've only had major interaction with a Persian community since moving to southern California.  There was ZERO where we lived on the East coast.  I was concerned when we first got married that he might experience some "distance" from the small southern town we lived in.  Unless I'm mistaken, there was NEVER any sign whatsoever... maybe some curiousity but never animosity.  I was equally concerned when we moved here... would they look at me as "farangi" and resent his marrying an American.  And again, unless I've missed something, NO. 

Actually I think we have an excellent blend of cultures... you'd know immediately our home was a Persian one when you stepped inside... as much from my efforts as his.  I LOVE ebay and the internet and have found many Persian items to surprise him with.  Equally he takes pride in my Irish background and we display my heritage just as  It's not lip-service either.  I think we both honestly enjoy each other's heritage.

Sorry for the rambling... I like talking about my


Hello Dear American Wife ...:)

by Mini (not verified) on

Actually i thought you were in love with your Persian husband to start with and he was patient with his american wife to start with..:) and then later on you found the differences were too many..which you could not find earlier coz you were naive or what!...i am sooo sorry for my silly interpretation...:)

"from the relationship experts. Please, let's not encourage them, K." i could not understand the context of this statement also...

Actually Nassery's comments are eluding me more than yours...did you understand what she has tried to say...she is happy with her husband then what is the problem she is talking of...If a guy tells his girl some stories which he values and which are dear to him and which mean soo much to his matter what those stories are..and if his girl is getting influenced..and they can feel each others emotions..whats wrong in it..and anybody would prefer a person who understands you more...

well ..i have a great penchant for persia and persians...i would like to hear from you your say on persians...

Anyways thanks for your prompt reply!



by American Wife (not verified) on

I'm not sure what you're not understanding... does that make sense or is that a double

I hope you're not thinking I was being critical in any way... I loved the story!

If it's in regard to certain experiences with Persian idiology or whatever, I'd be more than happy to talk about them.  I was referring to some of our first conversations when we were getting to know one another.  Maybe that's why I loved the excerpt from the new book by the author of "Laughing in Farsi"... I think that's the name of it.  I can't wait to get it and compare some of the inter-cultural experiences they had to ours. 

For the record... I'm damn proud of my Persian husband and feel honored to be his American Wife...:-)


Dear Nassery and Dear American Wife!

by Mini (not verified) on

The story is intriguing...everybody is understanding it differently...seeing it differently...but the attempt is very innovative..and Dear Nassery and Dear American Wife...i am really sorry i am finding myself incompetent to understand what you are saying..about persian ideology...your comments are very intriguing for the moment...maybe i catch up with them sometime..Now anybody will be what he is and where he/she belongs to..we dont have much choice.. unless or until we are much travelled much educated or wise and brainy enough to make our own opinions and gutsy enough to hold to them..after all this too excercising ones free will and fresh ways again depends on where we are positioned in general individuals cannot be blamed to be acting the way they do....i guess Humans in everyday life cannot keep a conscious check on their ways with respect to the world and their own thinking..Majority live for the convictions and faith that they were taught to live with since they were born...other just care for themselves...What we are is just not because of ourselves so many things makes us people from different places are bound to be different but very very few can be blamed for what they are..and they are the ones who know things and still do them or dont do them even when they have the capacity to change for better!!! i think people dont understand coz they are too lost in themselves..

Well...i am kinda lost on the subject...its funny...but yes i re-iterate the story is well done and i liked the dialogue part between the two.....

[this one that follows for a joke]...and definitely the story is Very Touching..after all thats what Kissing is about!


Oh yeah... more pearls of wisdom

by American Wife (not verified) on

from the relationship experts.  Please, let's not encourage them, K.

I decided not to read anything very significant in the article itself... just enjoyed the very well-written little tale of a kiss.

I remember some of my first conversations with my Persian husband... was I naive or WHAT!  He was patient... I was in love.

K Nassery

Kiss of death to any relationship with that guy.

by K Nassery on

I was a newlywed during the Iranian Hostage taking of the US embassy staff.  Was I supposed to hold my husband and the father of my brand new daughter responsible for that? 

I think this shows a callous way of approaching the relationship with an American woman.  I've seen this before. Use them and dispose of them in favor or someone who really understands you.  It's inot a unique Iranain trait, but it's there often enough to get the Iranian seal of approval.

My stream of consciousness doesn't "run in sync" with this author.  I'm sure my husband is very glad for that.  The key to any relationship is respect.  Iranian marriages fail just like American and I think Iranian woman are beginning to demand the respect that they deserve finally.

Where are those relationship helpers on this site when  you really need one?


Very touching!

by Mini (not verified) on

Very innovative style of writing...Siamak making somebody's stream of consciousness run in sync with yours actively is a tough have depicted that brilliantly..Superb and very touching story indeed...

and the one who is telling are wise too..he's/she's got a point to tell..lovely that too :)


What a ...

by Anonymous user (not verified) on

What a jerk!!! Just kiss the girl, man.