Morning Report: May 16, 2004

- Seeing Iraq in the economy? (Byron York) In Friday’s National Review Online, Byron York suggests that Americans’ perceptions of the war in Iraq may be influencing their responses to poll questions about the economy. Despite Bush’s low approval rating, however, the incumbent President still retains a slender lead over challenger Kerry, according to figures cited by York.
- Iranians clash with regime forces in Toos, Shahinshar. (SMCCDI) Demonstrators clashed with security forces in the northwestern city of Toos on Friday, after the forces attacked a peaceful protest demonstration, according to SMCCDI. The incident followed an official commemoration of Ferdowsi, the Iranian nationalist and author of the epic Shahnameh, in the poet’s hometown. Dissidents say the regime, which was previously hostile to Ferdowsi’s legacy, is now trying to co-opt the poet’s memory to its own advantage. On Friday evening, violence broke out in the industrial city of Shahinshar, located in Esfahan province in central Iran, after several women were arrested for alleged infractions of the Islamic dress code. In order to regain control of the city, security forces had to close off an entire neighborhoood – ironically, an area named after Ferdowsi.