“A Few Cubic Meters of Love” an award winning movie produced by two Afghan refugees that fled to Iran 30 years ago

“A Few Cubic Meters of Love” is a drama on migration and love directed and produced by Afghan brothers Jamshid Mahmudi and Navid Mahmudi who have lived in Iran for the past 30 years.

The story of the film is set somewhere in the outskirts of Tehran, where a small factory illegally employs Afghan asylum seekers, who live with their families in old containers or modest shacks in nearby shanty towns. Saber, a young Iranian worker, secretly meets Marona, daughter of Abdolsalam, an Afghan worker. A love story unfolds.

“A Few Cubic Meters of Love” is Jamshid Mahmudi’s debut film, which premiered at the 32nd Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran in February 2014. The film won him the Simorgh for best director in the New View section of the festival.

“I would have felt bad had we not won any award at this event,” Jamshid Mahmudi said during the review session.

“Because we did our best to make the film be warmly received,” he added.

The film is currently on screen at Iranian movies theaters.

“The reason behind why Iranian people like this film, is that it is a real-life drama,” Jamshid Mahmudi stated.

The film was selected to represent Afghanistan at the 87th Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category, but was not nominated.

UNHCR about refugees in Iran:

Iran is host to one of the world’s largest and most protracted refugee populations. […]

The global economic downturn, removal of subsidies, and intensified international sanctions have caused hyperinflation, affected the delivery of basic services, and resulted in a dramatic rise in living costs in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Some 24 per cent of registered refugees are considered vulnerable, a rate that is expected to increase due to the economic situation. […]

Sanctions also continue to negatively impact UNHCR’s ability to provide humanitarian assistance in an effective and timely manner. High inflation rates have substantial consequences for both the operation and partners.

Comparison: Refugee numbers – GDP (nominal) per capita with richer and bigger regional neighbor country

Country GDP (nominal) per capita in US dollars
Number of hosted refugees
Iran   6,363$ 868,242
Saudi Arabia 25,962$ 550

Must read regarding Afghan refugees in Iran:

http://theotheriran.com/tag/afghanistan/

Sources:
Payvand News of Iran
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
The Guardian

Photo gallery: Iranian football fans at the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia

The 2015 Asian Cup started on January 9th and ends on January 31st. Iran reached the quarterfinals but lost to Iraq on penalties in a nerve-wrecking match.

As a goodbye to this year’s Asian Cup a compilation of photos of Iranian fans:

Sources:
mostafagraphy.tumblr.com
Iran beat Bahrain in 2015 Asian Cup opener – in pictures
Asian Cup – The fans of Iran
Bing Image Search

Photo gallery: Exhibition showcasing ancient Iranian artifacts returned from Belgium

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has opened an exhibition at the National Museum of Iran showcasing hundreds of ancient Iranian artifacts returned to the country from Belgium after decades of legal battles.

The antique collection was returned to Iran on Thursday Dec. 24. This came after an appeals court in Belgium’s eastern city of Liège ruled in September 2014 that the country’s authorities restitute 349 smuggled artifacts to Iran. The legal process has lasted 33 years.

Praising the efforts made by the Iranian legal team in returning the valuble antiques, Rouhani said the move showed the resolve of the government in “safeguarding the rights of the Iranian nation.” He noted that such cultural exhibitions can help “defuse Iranophobia” in the world.

The stolen artifacts comprising of 221 clay and 128 bronze antiques had been discovered in Khorvin, Savojbolagh County, Alborz Province, 80 kilometers (49 miles) northeast of the Iranian capital and date back to the end of the second millennium and the first millennium BC and are some 3000 years old.

In 1965, a French woman who had acquired an Iranian nationality due to her marriage to an Iranian professor and had been living in Iran for some 18 years, with the help of a Belgian diplomat began to gradually transfer to Belgium the collection.

After the Iranian government was informed of the existence of this antique collection in a Museum in Ghent, Belgium, it filed a lawsuit in the Belgian courts in 1981 and made the claims that these artifacts had been illegally transferred out of the country, belonged to Iran, and as such must be returned home.

Following Iran’s demand in 1981, a Brussels court ordered the seizure of the pieces and their preservation at the Museum of Brussels University, pending a final verdict. The court of first instance ruled out Iran’s claims as the rightful owner in 1998 and again in 2012 the claims were rejected due to pass of time. Iran made an appeal to the Belgian court and finally in September 2014, the court of Appeals established Iran’s ownership of Khorvin’s collection of antique artifacts and ruled that they be returned to Iran.

Iranian officials have filed several other lawsuits in courts in Britain, France, Turkey, and Pakistan for the return of smuggled artifacts over the past years.

Sources:
Press TV
Mehr News Agency
realiran.org
Photos by E. Naredipour for IRNA

Photo Series: Winter in Iran – Marivan, Kurdistan Province

Snowman Festival in Marivan – With the first snowfall of this year’s winter in Marivan, people gathered to celebrate a snowman festival.

Marivan is a city in Kurdistan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 91,664 inhabitants. The native language of the city is the central dialect of Kurdish (Sorani) with a minority of Hawrami dialect. The religion of the people is Shafi’i Sunni.

Marivan lies close to the Iraqi border and due to the official border market of Bashmaq which is between the Kurdish region of Iraq and Iran, it serves a destination for shoppers in neighbor provinces.

Lake Zarivar lies west of Marivan. With a length of 5km and a maximum width of 1.6km it is a major touristic attraction in the region. The lake’s water is fresh and has a maximum depth of 6m.

Sources:
wikipedia
Mehr News Agency

Iran’s Ancient City Nishapur in Razavi Khorasan Province

Nishapur or Nishabur from Middle Persian “New-Shabuhr” (meaning New City of Shapur, Fair Shapur, or Perfect built of Shapur) is a city in the Razavi Khorasan Province, in northeastern Iran, situated in a fertile plain at the foot of the Mount Binalud. It has an estimated population of 239.000 (as of 2011). Nearby are the turquoise mines that have supplied the world with turquoise for at least two millennia.

The city was founded in the 3rd century by Shapur I. Nishapur later became the capital of Tahirid dynasty and was reformed by Abdullah Tahir in 830. In 1037 it was selected as the capital of Seljuq dynasty by Tughril.

It reached the height of its prosperity under the Samanids in the 10th century, but was destroyed by Mongols in 1221, and further ruined by other invasions and earthquakes in the 13th century.

Quotes on Nishapur
If you wanted to travel to only one city in the world, I have no doubt that the city of Nishapur. I think the secret is all in the same universe   —Jorge Luis Borges

Nishapur is Miniaturized Damascus   —Ibn Batuta

Two things make men free from sorrow Travel
Morning of Nishapur and Sleeping in Baghdad.   —Middle eastern proverb

This Nishapur on my view is greater iran compressed   —Mohammad-Reza Shafiei Kadkani

After that time, a much smaller settlement was established just north of the ancient town, and the once bustling metropolis lay underground—until a team of excavators from the Metropolitan Museum arrived in the mid-twentieth century. They worked at Nishapur between 1935 and 1940, returning for a final season in the winter of 1947–48.

The excavators had been drawn to the city because of its fame in the medieval period, when it flourished as a regional capital and was home to many religious scholars. It was also known as an economic center—Nishapur was located on the Silk Road.

The city was an important center for the manufacture of glass, metal, and stone vessels. The distinctive ceramics produced in Nishapur were traded around the region, and have been found at Herat, Merv, and Samarqand.

In addition, Nishapur was a source of turquoise and a center for growing cotton, producing cotton textiles as well as several types of fabric incorporating silk. One of the most unusual products of Nishapur, however, was its edible earth, which was believed to have curative properties.

Images of some artefacts found in Nishapur during the Metropolitan Museum’s excavations there:

Sources
wikipedia
Mehr News Agency
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Iran’s West Azerbaijan Province: Saholan Cave

Ghar Saholan is situated in the West Azarbayajan province of Iran near to the village of Saholan that lies some 43 Kilometres east of the city of Mahabad. Situated in a small hill of limestone the cave has two entrances at an altitude of 1,780m. The cave has a total surveyed (mapped) passage length of 771.1m and a vertical range of 45.8m.

Geomorphological evidence within the cave would strongly suggest that it has been formed under phreatic conditions by still water and not by flowing water. Originally the cave would have been completely flooded. In the latter stages in its development the water levels have dropped to create airspace within the chambers and passages and further passage enlargement would have been stimulated by the gentle rising and falling of the water table and subsequent water level. Throughout the cave there are horizontal ledges of calcite deposits along the walls that are indicative of former (higher) water levels.

Sources:
Tasnim News
www.caving-in-iran.org