[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM Persian]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]
[Newspaper:] Nedaye Hagh
[Date:] 15 Shahrivar 1334 [7 September 1955]
[Issue No.:] 256
What is Pepsi Gola (sic)?! And the Rumours Related to this Mysterious Drink!
We should first point out to the dear readers that [for some time] in Iran, and particularly in Tehran, anything with a foreign name has received tremendous and unparalleled attention. As long as that item is described as foreign or called a foreign name, the public rushes to spend money and consume it immediately and unquestioningly, without any research into where it has come from, what is its [recipe], whether it is clean or impure, permitted or forbidden. As soon as it is said that it is a custom abroad or it is declared that it is nourishing, appetizing, tasty and thirst quenching, people rush blindly to pay for it and consume it, even though the product has not yet arrived; neither has it been investigated.
Now, in addition to all the European and American beverages we had in Iran and in the capital of the Islamic country, another beverage has filled the market in Tehran, which has become well-known as (Pepsi Cola). The newspapers have publicized it with extensive announcements on their pages and promote this beverage from every aspect. We have heard that one million tumans credit has been allotted for its promotion in Iran (the responsibility for this is on the reporter).
Now, you judge as to how much the tremendous profit and the uncounted income of this god-forsaken beverage is, that one million tumans are spent in Iran for its advertisement! You may understand the whole story just from this account.
However, another method of promoting this strange beverage is that a considerable amount of this drink has been given to all stores free of charge, and starting from the next day, three and a half rials are paid for each bottle that is sold for five rials. Whoever sells fifty bottles will get ten free bottles, and whoever sells one hundred bottles will get twenty free bottles, and in the same manner they give considerable discounts. And this is the other method of its advertising and earning unlimited profits!
There are many rumours in Tehran about this new drink, and we do not yet know the elements of which it is made. These days, the newspapers in the capital have written a lot about this drink—some have complained about its excessive price and have determined its price to be around fifteen shahi or one rial per bottle—and due to the cost of its advertising, they may not have reduced the price—some believe it is a mixture of cinnamon, for [its] color and aroma, and one spoon of baking soda and sugar, and others consider it as a sparkling version of our own mixture of vinegar and sugar.
However, we hear that this drink contains alcohol, and the cause for its digestion and absorbency is that same unclean and forbidden substance, but we have not been able to accept that in the capital of an Islamic country a company attempts to make a beverage which fills the market and the streets when it contains alcoholic, unclean and forbidden substances! On the other hand, as we observe that we are quite unrestricted in all matters, it can be expected that the mysterious foreign hands will decide to indirectly give a taste of this venomous poison to all Muslims and gradually entertain all the Shiites with this pure alcoholic drink. As it is famously said, these snakes are capable of doing anything you can imagine!
However, another issue which has considerably concerned and upset us and has made us to be interested in these publicities and rumours, is the existence of a few disruptive, perverse people, who oversee the sensitive tasks of this company. We have received a list introducing each of them, which has made us suspicious and doubtful about the activities of this company and the production of such a high quality and beneficial beverage.
We are very much interested in having the heads of this company provide convincing explanations about the making and production of this golden beverage, to free us and those other people who fight against the forbidden, unclean and nasty beverages from doubt and suspicion, to reduce the intensity of the public’s protest and criticism and to clarify the state of this beverage among people, as soon as possible.
If it is proven that this beverage is permissible and does not contain alcoholic substances, they should reduce its price substantially, not plunder the people’s fortunes, and as it was mentioned above, not sell each bottle that costs one rial for five rials and make thousands of tumans of profit each day from the pockets of these poor, frail people.
They should provide necessary and convincing information to the public and the newspapers regarding the heads of this company, which clarifies that the employees and directors of this company, who every day steal thousands of tumans from the people’s pockets, should not be the inglorious Bahá’í individuals and masked enemies of our religion and country who make their living from the wages of the Muslims.
And you have, of course, heard the story of the fire at the Pepsi Cola production plant and the controversy it created. A bunch of wood and junk produced such mayhem and importance, and the accusation was made that they planned to destroy the production plant and our capital and other propaganda!
By the way, you heard from the heads of the company that the substance of this liquid is a paste which comes from the United States of America! And the main point is this. Where does this paste, or, according to someone, (powder) come from; what rubbish makes its composition and whose hands fill the bottles?! And woe to us if we become accountable later, according to Islamic teachings.
In this issue, we merely [make do] with this and will wait to see to what extent the heads of this company are willing to give the necessary explanation to interested people, and clear the doubts and ambiguities so that we can later share our opinions and information with our esteemed readers!