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Iran In Danger Of Losing "Most Evil Nation" Status (G)

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The U.S. warned Iran today that it is in danger of being dropped from the three-nation "Axis of Evil" after a lackluster 2002 in which the purportedly evil country was largely missing in action.

"When it comes to remaining in the A.O.E., Iran is just hanging by a thread," one State Department source said today.

While North Korea and Iraq were both front and center in 2002 with their headline-grabbing evildoing, Iran for the most part stayed on the sidelines, jeopardizing its evil status, the source said.

Remaining in the Axis of Evil is a high priority for Iran, since membership in the A.O.E. results in billions of dollars of free publicity and news coverage every year.

Partly for this reason, the head of Iranís Ministry of Evil in Tehran today disputed the State Departmentís assessment of its less-than-evil performance, arguing that his nation had done many evil things in 2002.

Evil Minister Farid Mesghali said that Iranís links to terrorist groups, as well as its firing up of its nuclear facility in southern Bushehr, had gone largely unnoticed and were overshadowed by such stories as the Trent Lott controversy and the Winona Ryder shoplifting trial.

"We were really, really evil last year," Mr. Mesghali said. "We just need to do a better job of getting the word out."

But time may be running out for Iran, who faces expulsion from the A.O.E. if they do not "strut their stuff, evil-wise, pretty darn soon," the State Department source said.

"Without evil, Iranís got no juice at all," the source said. "They might as well be Belgium."

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