Takht-e-Soleiman was like Persepolis without bas-reliefs, really. I loved the setting with the lake in the middle. I didn't really understand the significance of the place, but I bought a book there which should help. If you want to visit either of these places on a day trip from Tabriz, it will cost you about $US40 for a round trip, which is 500km or more in both cases. It is good value for foreign tourists!
The car situation in Kabul sounds similar to Tehran - a few are very rich, with the BMWs, Mercedes, and Maximas. (The Maxima had a terrible accident and became a Minima!!) Mahboubeh told me that the Afghan Health Minister Dr Saddiq makes about $13 a day (I think?) so I don't know what kind of government officials they are talking about in the article.
sorry if I didn't get to your email - spam and travel are distracting. another catch-up session soon!