Iranian Governments: All the women in the cabinets

Madi Jahangir – “The appointment is a good step in battling the discrimination felt by Iranian women in the workplace” said Shahla Ezazi, a sociologist in Tehran while President Rouhani named law professor Elham Aminzadeh to the influential position of Vice President of the legal affairs. Rouhani cited her abilities, experience and moral merits as the reasons for the appointment.  Continue reading

International Iftar: Tasting the World Food in Tehran

Amene Hasanova* – The other day, i was invited for an Iftar ceremony held in Tarbiyat Modarres university for international students studying in Tehran. It is the first and last Ramadan that i am spending in Iran. I am from Tajikistan and we have so many traditions for the month of Ramadan. However, this Ramadan fell in summer time and most of my fellow Tajik citizens were back home. There is a famous dish in Tajikistan named Ashpolo which i would like to present in the international iftar table. But I was alone with another Tajik friend of mine and it was so diffucult to cook  in dormitory just the two of us and we could not find the related ingrediants to cook so much food. Instead i enjoyed alot the eye catching and mouth watering food from the rest of the world which were beautifully decorated on the tables.  Continue reading

Golafarin: My First Homecoming to Iran

Golafarin Razi *- “Che ehsasi dari?” (What is your feeling right now?) my mother asked me. “Nothing.” I replied. We were standing aboard an Iran-Air flight, it was the summer of the year 2000. I was eighteen years old, arriving back in the country of my birth and ancestors after having left when I was just shy of five-years of age. I didn’t want to tell her how I was feeling. I couldn’t answer her question just then. I stared ahead steadfastly, and suddenly the doors opened. We were in the middle of Mehrabad airport, it was the pitch-black of night. I stood for a second and looked around before I made my way down the stairs. I didn’t know what to make of this place just yet, but here I was.  Continue reading

Ayd Instone: My adventure in Iran

Ayd Instone *-  Last week I was walking through the streets of Tehran. There was a turquoise domed temple behind me and a large snow peaked mountain range in front. Other than that it could have been any (slightly run-down) area of London. But it wasn’t. It was Tehran, in Iran. A place that the UK has no diplomatic relations with. On the British Consular website it says in large unfriendly letters ‘Do not go’.

So what was I doing there of all places? Continue reading

My Iranian Guardian Grandma

Audrey Scott * – There seems to be an unspoken rule in this part of the world (and by this part of the world, I mean Central Asia, the Caucasus and the greater Middle East) that if you are a female traveler, local women – especially older women – will seek you out and make certain you are taken care of.

It just seems to happen. And so it did with our flight to Tehran.

We find our seats next to an older Iranian woman clutching her purse and wearing a dark headscarf (I begin to wonder, “Is mine too light?”). She gets up and waits for us to squeeze in, but she’s eager to engage the moment we’re settled in.

 “Allemagne?” she asks. (Are you from Germany?) Continue reading

ME Trip: Arriving in Tehran

Amalia– After what seems like the most boring 15-hour transit experience ever, my plane arrives in Tehran. I am finally here, in Iran. Today, 17th of December 2011, marks the start of my Middle East trip. The trip that I have always been waiting for. One dream can soon be checked off the list. I feel excited, thrilled, and nervous at the same time. Yes, I am alone here, at this moment. One part of me screams that I am insane. What am I doing in this totally strange place alone? The other part of me applauds myself for having the courage to do this. Well done, you have finally conquered your fear! Continue reading

The Teapot I Found in Tehran

Gaku Homma – I am not a Muslim, and was concerned that my entering the mosque might be bad manners. Out of respect, I tried gently decling entering with Ali Sensei. “Don’t worry” I was reassured, “Everyone is welcome to enter here” Ali Sensei said as he invited me inside. I was shown how to correctly perform the ceremony called Daret, by washing my hands, mouth and feet before we entered the mosque. I was surprised to find that I was free to take photos inside.  There was an area for women only to pray, but most of the space was reserved as an area for men and women to pray together. Between prayers, people were reclining naturally on the carpets, sometimes napping, sometimes playing with the children that were running to and fro between the devotees. “Wont the children be scolded fro playing in here?” I asked. “This is a family place” came as the answer to my question. The scene around me was unusual in my experiences of religious places. Continue reading

Reflections on My Visit to Iran

Gaku Homma – I am not a priest or a politician. Nor am I an activist. I could be described as one who makes dust by repeatedly hitting the mat. That’s what my family used to say anyway.

When I told people that I was going to Iran, my statement was usually met with wide eyed shock. “What!! Why?” was a common response. Honestly I too was a little nervous. Most news reports I had seen on Iran here in the United States were not very positive. News reports on the major networks talked of nuclear armament, military supplies in other countries,humanitarian problems, sanctions against Iran etc. Not the most supportive commentary by any means. Continue reading

A Sip of Caffeine and Lull in Daricheh Café

Samaneh Mohammadzadeh – Tehran isn’t all about a crowded city, winter air pollution, Iranian political and economical capital and hectic days. Like any other mega capitals in the world, Tehran has a tender and soft heart behind his face. There are hundreds of cozy places to take shelter after the busy days of work or school, to refresh your soul and mind alone or with the company of a close friend. To name some, Shemiran’s alley gardens, restaurants with live music, Shahr-e Ketab book stores can be wise options. Continue reading

My Visit to Golestan Palace: part 2

Morten Hjertholm – In the Palace complex there are many different buildings and museums. When I was there it was not possible to go inside of any of them, except for the open-air parts. In Iran, buildings of historical and cultural value are well preserved in general, but also very accessible for the public and tourists.Since 2009 to 2010 there was a massive change in protection and reconstruction all over the country. Considering how common it is to see other countries not taking care of monuments of former rulers, its refreshing to see how in Iran these places are well taken care of. The construction was initiated by Nasser al-Din Shah (16.7.1831 – 1.5.1896) who was assassinated and his tomb is now on display in Golestan Palace. Last ruler to be crowned here was the self-proclaimed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi who had his coronation in 1941. The most spectacular building in the palace complex is for me of course Shams-ol-Emareh. Continue reading

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