The New York Times (February 21) carried an article introducing the travelling exhibition of “The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia” to the U.S. at the Smithsonian, Metropolitan Museum, Asian Art Museum, Getty Villa and Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts.
The Cyrus Cylinder was made soon after Cyrus of Persia captured Babylon in 539 B.C., and was called the first bill of human rights in history. The author and op-ed columnist Roger Cohen concludes the article with the phrase:
My theory, by the way, was this: It may just be possible to write a column about Iran without using the “N” word.
My understanding of “the N” word is associated with racial discrimination. However, thinking of recent turmoil concerned with nuclear development and possible armament of Iran, N can be associated with Nuclear.
What does “N” stand for in the above statement? Can "N" word mean something other than racial discrimination?
For your reference, the ending line is preceded with the following sentence, but it doesn’t seem to give any hint to my question:
“National conventions include the ceremonial form of intention-veiling flattery known as “taarof,” and the sacrifice of truth to higher religious imperative known as “tagieh” (The Shiites, like the Jews, have been lonely in the Middle East; lying was often a means to survive.) The third “T” of the Iranian psyche is “tazieh,” effectively a synonym for dramatic lament and epic resistance.”