A few years ago I spent a month traveling overland in Iran from Astara in the north (we started in Azerbaijan - that’s a story in itself) to Bandar Abbas in the south (and then on to Dubai). What a country. An incredible country - the history, geography and the people. I’ve been lucky enough to have lived in half a dozen countries, and visited around 80. Iran is my favourite.
The historical sites alone are worth several books, and there are many. But the people are what makes a place, and the Iranians are an amazing people. Like everywhere else I’ve traveled people are have relatively simple needs, keep their family safe, be reasonably comfortable and have a laugh and a drink with your friends. In the cities, the moms pickup their kids from school in minivans and drives them to soccer matches. It seems that the majority of folks have (illegal?) sat TV and watch American and European shows. They know what’s going on in the world. Many are (carefully) very critical of their government. They are intelligent and thoughtful debaters. In mosques, churches and even synagogues, people made time for us, patiently answering our western-biased questions without judgement.
There’s obviously a religious element in everyday life, though in our limited time there it didn’t get in the way. We had a run in with the Republican Guard and our friends told us, no jokes, be serious, these guys can cause real headaches. We treated it like a border crossing (be courteous, honest, and only answer exactly what’s asked) and it was no problem. We also met a guy who I suspect was secret police, but as tourists we were treated well and with respect and were invited to his house to have dinner with his family - again for another time.
I’m not a naive traveler, and like to follow the twists and turns of a journey. I’ve not experienced anywhere like Iran and especially the people there. They are the most western of the eastern countries, and many of the folks I spent time with shared many of our values - unlike the current rhetoric from official channels in the US and UK would have you believe.
I recommend going and making your own mind up, and yes, the music was amazing.
The problem with travel - travel begets travel...
Spoiler alert: not at all positive.
A Separation is among the best dramas I've ever seen, period. It's been years since I've seen Children of Heaven but I recall very much enjoying it too.
Panahi worked as assistant director for Kiarostami and his earlier work “The White Baloon” (also strangely not on that list) won him international recognition. He has a very fresh eye.
(Tehran) Taxi - Awarded the Golden Bear at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival:
The White Baloon - winner of the Camera d'or at Cannes in 1994:
A Moment of Innocence, Close-Up, Where Is My Friend's Home?, and Persepolis are next up on my watch list. A Moment of Innocence is a bit hard to find and seems to be available only on DVD.
I thought A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night was pretty entertaining. It was made in the U.S., but by an Iranian-American and its setting is fictional (“Bad City”) with Persian dialog. It has a Jim Jarmusch feel to it.
I lead tours in Iran, you may find this interesting: at the end of each tour, I warn my guests that when they return to their own countries, a large proportion of their friends/families just won't believe any of their Iran stories.
Personally, it took my mother several years to believe me that Iran was safe for tourists. Each time I returned, she would say something like "well, you were lucky because I heard on the news that Iran was dangerous". People still don't believe me, and I've been coming and going to Iran for about 8 years.
Iran does really attract the best tourists: people with a sense of adventure, no crippling fear of the unknown, and a love of humanity.
Those bits of artifacts and archeological sites that do date to 8000 years ago are pre-Elamite and Elam and Susiana were themselves not not an Iranian people. Iran is not a geographic construct: it is (and remains in the current diaspora), true to its nomadic Aryan roots, a portable civilization of mind, heart, and spirit.
Proto-Iranians date to 2nd millenium B.C. The Medes were the first Iranian urban civilization in the Iranian Plateau and they date to 3000 years ago. The Pars ("Persians") - a related Iranian tribe (Achaemenid Shahanshah Cyrus's grandfather was the king of the Medes) - followed. Subsequent to Alexander, there was a period of Greek occupation, followed by 2 lesser known, but actually culturally more influential than Achaemenids, Iranian empires: the Parthians and the hugely influential Sassanian.
Seleucids (Greek occupation):
Parthian (of the Parthian 'shot' fame):
I sued to hang out on motorbike forums and I remember that it seemd that the two places people raved about travelling through were Iran and Syria. It is a funny world.
BTW the BBC last year did a series by the awesome Samira Ahmed called the Art of Persia. It is stunning.
Whenever am article about Iran is written, no matter what the topic (in this case, simply Iranian music), if the article paints something about Iran in a positive light there will be a comment regarding either:
c) tourist hostages
These comments are almost exclusively written by Iranian expats, children of Iranian expats, Israeli's, or people who have never been to Iran. Almost always, the comments are provably wrong, blown out of a proportion, or define Iran by standards that are not applied to other countries.
Iran is the best country on the planet to be a tourist in, like another poster on this thread I have also visited around 80 countries, and returned to Iran countless times.
I assume good faith and hope others return the favour, so I won't be backhandedly blaming people for running a campaign. It's an open forum, not a social bubble, we should expect to find people with different opinions here. Some of them are even wrong on the internet!
Cheers, all in good faith here.
I remember these arguments from the Iraq War, and there was the same flaw: They ignore how one avoids risk.
You avoid risk in Chicago by trying not to visit crime-ridden areas, rather than treating them as a tourist attraction. You avoid risk of being taken hostage by the Iranian regime by trying to avoid areas it controls.
100%, you're Israeli, and not commenting with the good faith you previously claimed.
Is this why many movie piracy sites are hosted on .ir domains?
That goes with sanctions; as a result the Iranian warez scene is actually vital to their economy.
Hayedeh, Mohammad Shajarian and, more recently, his son Homayoun Shajarian are also amazing singers. Chera Rafti is very popular introduction to Homayoun.
My starting point was Hossein Alizadeh and Masters of Persian Music (which also features Mohammad and Homayoun Shajarian). Unfortunately their albums come and go a bit on streaming services.
I found that the first person's name is commonly spelled Kayhan Kalhor, with an "a" instead of "o" in the first name.
There is an instrument played in Iran, possibly more widely which is a huge Tambour, like the Irish Bodhran, but with chain all round, which makes a rich swoosh sound like brushes on hi-hats. I noticed it in a lot of her music. Its a Daf or Taf I think
And, the Oud. Great sounds.
For people who want a deeper dive into the geo-political issues and growing secularism movement across the Middle East, I'd highly recommend the provocatively titled 'Secular Jihadists' podcast. The hosts are both ex-pat apostate Muslims, one from Iran, one from Saudi Arabia, and they have interesting insights into West Asia, and secularism in general.
No I am not. I was making a salient legal point. The OP recommended visiting and making up your own mind. I pointed out that for many people that would be dangerous and illegal.
I have sympathy for the Iranian people who have a wonderful culture but are held captive by a repressive fanatical regime.
> Since 2017, the government has provided transgender persons financial assistance in the form of grants of up to 5 million tomans ($400~ USD).[failed verification] However, Iran is not a country tolerant of nonbinary genders or non-heterosexuality. They sanction funds for sex reassignment surgery in order to fit all of their citizens into the category of either male or female. Those who get these surgeries performed are subject to social stigma from their families and communities
Everything you mention can be worked around, should you chose to go down that path. I met folks from each of your classifications in Iran. True, not easy for them, but, you know, wasn't easy in the US or Europe that long ago either. Tolerance isn't equally distributed, as we all know.
It's our planet, dammit, and we should be able to go where we want based on our own risk profile. None of those problems you mention are unique to Iran.
Nothing of what you said takes anything away from the people of Iran. Flawed leadership and policy - yes, again, something we're all probably familiar with no matter where we're born or where we live.
You can see the IDF soldiers harassing people in the checkpoints, catcalling the women and giving nicknames to people.
The objective seems to be to put as many obstructions to normal life as possible, so people just give up and move somewhere else.
Harass people until they protest, and once they protest just shoot them all. Starting by the paramedics.
Harass people in every form possible. Harass the fishermen with artillery shots, make people spend 4 hours every day in checkpoints, kill the olive trees, sabotage the water towers so they have a putrid smell, demolish the schools, send people to some kangaroo court and seize their property, burn children with white phosphorous, etc.
Why does Israel have so many armored bulldozers? (D9) What are they for? We all know what they are for.
I respect the Jewish people and the Jewish faith, I am part Jew myself although not religious. But what Israel is either doing or allowing to happen is not the way.
I have no idea what this means. We're making up identities so quickly it's hard to even keep up with the jargon.
Have you been to Iran, or are you Iranian?
You seem so positive about Israel, and interestingly enough I view that country as modern apartheid state, with racist laws an policies.