Did Iran Just Try to Smuggle in a Tiger in a Suitcase?

One of Iran

One of Iran's Tigers on Exchange, (Photo by Hemmat Khani courtesy IWPR)

A Thai woman was caught with a sedated tiger cub in luggage she had checked on a flight to Iran, Traffic reports. Alert security workers at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport X-rayed her “oversized” bag and saw a cat skeleton amidst a bag full of stuffed animal toys. Wildlife officials are still trying to figure out where she got the tiger and where it was supposed to go. Could Iran itself have wanted another Siberian tiger–either for its tiny, odd breeding program or for the Tehran’s Eram zoo, where those tigers first stayed?

The 31-year old Thai national was scheduled to board a Mahan Air flight destined for Iran when she had trouble checking in her oversized bag. She was flying on Iran’s own Mahan Airlines, whose only flight from Bangkok that day was a five and half hour journey headed directly to Tehran, where it arrived at four in the morning. Thai nationals can get a tourist visa to Iran pretty easily.

By fatwa Iranians aren’t supposed to have any (cats might be ok, but dogs, especially black ones, are as verboten as mullets). Who knows if they have the same problem we do of big jerks wanting big cats as pets? But I can’t imagine anyone trying to smuggle a tiger into Iran, then keep it without authorities knowing.

They don’t have any native wild tigers. The native Caspian or Mazandaran tiger (Panthera tigris ssp. virgata) has been

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