Category Archives: Women

Iranian illustrator Hoda Hadadi wins gold at the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards

Hoda Haddadi won the award for her illustrations for Drummer Girl, a book written by Pakistani-Canadian author Hiba Masood and published by Daybreak Press in the United States. The Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards are designed to bring increased recognition to exemplary children’s books and their creators, and to support childhood literacy and life-long reading. The contest is open to authors, illustrators, and publishers of children’s books written in English or Spanish for the North American market.

About Hoda Hadadi
Hadadi is an Iranian illustrator, poet and writer born in February 1977 in Tehran. She graduated with a M.A. in Graphic Design from Art University, Tehran. She teaches at the Association of Iranian Illustrators.

In 1998 Hoda Hadadi started writing and publishing her illustrations for magazines. Her first book as an illustrator was published in 1999 and her first book as a writer (My cloudy day -Shab Aviz) was published in 2000. Since then, she has illustrated more than fifty books published in Iran and around the world; in English i.e. Deep in the Sahara (Penguin Random House, 2013), Drummer Girl (Daybreak Press, 2016), A Rainbow in My Pocket (Tiny Owl, 2016) and forthcoming Just like me! (Tiny Owl, 2017).

Hadadi creates unique collages, balancing delicate materials and textures; she layers gauze papers, stitches, pencil and paint to create beautiful images. Depending on the text they take a more abstract or descriptive form. A Rainbow in My pocket, e.g., was a poem and required a more conceptual style.

In 2003 she directed and animated How is a good girl?, a 4-minute animation. The UNESCO calendar printed her art work in 2004. She has hold more than ten group exhibitions in Iran, India, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Russia, along solo exhibitions in Belgrade, Serbia (2009) and in Tehran (2007).

Other awards
New Horizons of Bologna (2010, Italy)
3rd Prize Teatrio Festival (2008, Italy)
Noma Encouragement Prize (2002 & 2008, Japan)
Defa-e Moghaddas Special Prize (2008, Tehran, Iran)
Grand Prix of Belgrade (2007, Serbia)
Golden Plaque of BIB (2007, Biennial of Illustration Bratislava, Slovakia)
1st Prize of Kanoon Book Festival (2005, Tehran, Iran)
2nd Prize KATHA (2005, India)

Sources: Moonbean Awards, Tehran Times, Tiny Owl Children’s Book Publisher, Wonderland Illustration Group, Saatchi Art, Facebook @hodihadadi, Twitter @hoda_hadadi, Instagram @ludlowgallery

Collage exhibition by five artists at Tehran’s Vista Art Gallery (Photos)

Shirin Ettehadieh, Tooran Zandieh, Talieh Kamran, Minoo Asaadi and Fereshteh Ghazirad presented their works at an exhibition titled “Singing Pieces” hosted in Tehran by Vista Art Gallery.

Sources: Honar Online, Vista Art Gallery

Rio 2016: Zahra Nemati – Iranian archer

Born in April 1985 in Kerman, Iran, Nemati took up taekwondo when she was only eight. Ten years later, in 2003 she suffered a spinal injury during a road accident and both of her legs were paralyzed. After spending two months in the hospital, she returned home in a wheelchair. This would have been the end of a sporting career for most people, but not for Nemati.

On Friday August 5th, 2016, Nemati lead Iranian athletes as flag bearer during the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She is the only Iranian woman ever to have won a Paralympic gold medal and the only Iranian athlete who has qualified for both the 2016 Olympics and the 2016 Paralympics.

She is also the only Iranian athlete who has received the coveted Sport Accord’s Spirit of Sport Individual Award in 2013 and the first Iranian athlete to be named athlete of the year by the International Olympics Committee.

Nevertheless, she is not the first woman from Iran to participate at the Olympic games as flag bearer, as stated in many news articles. In fact, in 1996 at the Atlanta Olympics, sports shooter Lida Fariman was the first woman to lead Iran’s contingent. At the time, Fariman was the first woman from Iran to participate at the Olympics since the Islamic revolution of 1979.

In 2008, at the Beijing Olympics, rower Homa Hosseini (women’s single sculls) also led the Iranian delegation, as well as alpine skier Marjan Kalhor (slalom and giant slalom); she was Iran’s flag bearer in 2010 at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Related article:
The Guardian | Trail-blazer Zahra Nemati wins hearts and minds with stirring effort in archery

I am posting daily updates on Iranian athletes’ performances and events at Rio 2016 Olympics here: The other Iran | Iran in Rio 2016

Sources: IranWire, Hindustan TimesBUSTLE, NBC Olympics, NBC News, worldarchery.org

Leila Peykan Pour wins national rally championship (Photos)

Leila Peykan Pour, racing driver from Isfahan, won a national rally championship in KIA Pride Class Standard in Tehran’s Azadi Sports Complex. Forty six drivers from eight provinces competed in four classes.

Sources: fararu.com, Azad News Agency (ANA) 1, ANA 2

Rio 2016: Mahsa Javar – Iranian rower (women’s single sculls)

Mahsa Javar, born 1994 in Zanjan, is competing in Women’s Single Sculls at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on Saturday, August 6th (9:30am local time).

She won a bronze medal in Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Sculls at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea and a silver medal in the same discipline at the 2013 Asian Championships in Lu’an, China.

Photos: Mahsa Javar training for the Olympic Games at Azadi Sport Complex, Tehran – July 2016

Sources: ISNA, Wikipedia | Mahsa Javar (in Persian)

Photos: Women’s cross country competition in Shiraz, Iran

Athletes in adults and youth categories competed in Shiraz, Fars Province to qualify for a place in Iran’s national team.

Sources: Young Journalists Club (YJC) 1, YJC 2, IRNA 1, IRNA 2, ISNA, iribnews.ir, Mehr News Agency, Borna News

Rio 2016: Iran secured three table tennis spots (Photos)

The 2016 Asian Table Tennis Olympic Qualification Tournament was held this April in Hong Kong, with a total of eleven places available in each of the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events, divided into East Asia, South East Asia, South Asia, West Asia and Middle Asia Zones.

Neda Shahsavari and Nima Alamian got two direct spots to Rio 2016, as winners in the Middle Asia Zone. Noshad Alamiyan had to face his brother Nima in the finals and lost. However, in the second stage, he recorded a 4-1 success over Hong Kong’s Jiang Tianyi, securing Iran’s third Olympic spot.

Rio 2016 will mark Nima Alamian’s first appearance at the Olympic Games. Noshad Alamiyan and Neda Shahsavari will participate for the second time. Shahsavari became in London 2012 the first woman to represent Iran in table tennis at the Olympic Games.

Earlier this year, the Iranian women’s team surprised many as they got the gold medal in the third division of the 54th World Team Table Tennis Championships in Malaysia. The trio formed by Mahjobeh Omrani, Neda Shahsavari and Maryam Samet recorded a three matches to nil win against Uzbekistan.

The World Team Championships are played on a “Division” system with 24 teams in each of the first three divisions while all other teams form a 4th Division. The first division is also the Championship Division as only teams in this division can compete for the title of World Champions.

Photos: Iranian table tennis players at 2016 ITTF Asia Olympic Games Qualification Tournament and Iran women’s table tennis team at 2016 World Team Table Tennis Championship in Malysia

Sources: Mehr News Agency (MNA) 1, MN 2, ittf.com 1, Flicker | ITTF World, hktta.org.hk, ittf.com 2MNA 3, ittf.com 3, IRNA, perfectwttc2016.com.my

Iranian students win 3rd place at FISU World University Chess Championship (Photos)

The 14th FISU World University Chess Championship (WUCC) was held from April 9th to April 15th, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Eight students represented Iran at the tournament. The women’s chess team consisted of WGM Atousa Pourkashiyan, WGM Mitra Hejazipour, WIM Ghazal Hakimifard and Khalaji Hanieh. GM Pouya Idani, IM Amirreza Pourramezanali, FM Nima Javanbakht and Ali Faghirnavaz formed the men’s team.

In the women’s division all three best placed players attained 6,5 points. WGM Ni Shiqun of China won gold, WIM Ghazal Hakimifard won silver, Iran’s best result at FISU WUCC 2016, and WIM Anna Warakomska of Poland bronze.

GM Hovhannes Gabuzyan of Armenia won the men’s gold medal with 8 points. GM Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia secured silver (7 points) and GM Pavel Ponkratov of Russia got bronze with 6,5 points. Iran’s best player in the men’s division, IM Amirreza Pourramezanali, finished in sixth place attaining 6 points like Serbian IM Marko Nenezic (4th) and GM Samvel Ter-Sahakyan of Armenia (5th).

WIM Alina Bivol placed fourth to complete the three best results for the team award for Russia. Her result combined with those of Fedoseev and Ponkratov garnered the first place team trophy for Russia (19,5 points). The Armenian team of GM Gabuzyan, GM Ter-Sahakyan and WIM Maria Gevorgyan won the runner-up trophy (19 points). The Iranian team of WIM Ghazal Hakimifard, WGM Mitra Hejazipour and IM Amirreza Pourramezanali won third place (18,5 points).

Sources: chess-results.com, FISU | Chess, iusf.ir (in Persian), Borna News

Photos: Spaghetti bridge competition in Tehran

The 3rd National Spaghetti Bridge Competition, organized by SBC, was held at Tehran’s Milad Tower. 670 students in 108 teams participated at the event.

A spaghetti bridge is a small scale model bridge made of spaghetti or other hard, dry, straight noodles. The aim is usually to construct a bridge with a specific quantity of materials over a specific span, that can sustain a load. In heavyweight competitions, the bridge that can hold the greatest load for a short period of time wins the contest.

Iranian civil engineering students ranked second in 2004 (load held: 19.17kg) and 2010 (load held: 184.3kg / 406.31lbs) at the Heavyweight Contest organized by Okanagan College in British Columbia, Canada. This competition, that started in 1983, is open to contestants around the world, however the rules state that contestants must be full-time secondary or post-secondary students.

Sources: Wikipedia | Spaghetti bridge, IRNA, Okanagan College 1, Okanagan College 2 (pdf), Azad News Agency, SBC (in Persian)

Iran ranks first in IPC Athletics Asia-Oceania Championships

IPC Athletics Asia-Oceania Championships 2016 was held in Dubai, UAE. Iran was ranked first with a total of 23 gold, 10 silver and 7 bronze. China finished second with 16 gold, 9 silver and 5 bronze. India was third, Japan finished in fourth place and the UAE took the fifth spot.

The event brought together about 300 athletes from almost 30 countries. A total of 29 athletes, 23 men and 6 women, represented Iran at the 2016 IPC Athletics Asia-Oceania Championships.

New Asian records set by Iranian athletes
Amini Nogourani, Mahnaz – Women’s Shot Put F57 (Result: 8.10m)
Motaghian Moavi, Hashemiyeh – Women’s Discus Throw F56 (Result: 20.83m)
Amiri, Hamed – Men’s Shot Put F54 (Result: 9.69m)
Arekhi, Nour Mohammad – Men’s Discus Throw F11 (Result: 35.16m)
Mokhtari Hemami, Alireza – Men’s Shot Put F53 (Result: 7.61m)

Medals won by Iranian athletes
Women
Amini Nogourani, Mahnaz – 1 gold medal: shot put F56/57
Kermani, Faezeh – 1 silver medal: javelin throw F34; 1 bronze medal: shot put F32-34
Motaghian Moavi, Hashemiyeh – 2 gold medals: javelin throw F55/56, discus throw F54-57
Sedghi Saghinsara, Marziyeh – 1 gold medal: shot put F52-55
Soltani, Maryam – 1 gold medal: javelin throw F34
Men
Abdolpour, Amin – 1 gold medal: 1500m T37/38/46
Aliasghar, Seyed – 1 gold medal: shot put F35/36
Alikhani Faradonbeh, Ahmadreza – 1 bronze medal: 200m T37
Alizadeh, Mehdi – 1 gold medal: shot put F32/33; 1 silver medal: javelin throw F33/34
Alvanpour, Mohammad – 1 gold medal: javelin throw F55/56
Amiri, Hamed – 3 gold medals: javelin throw F53/54, shot put F53/54, discus throw F54-56
Arekhi, Nour Mohammad – 2 gold medals: shot put F11/12, discus throw F11-13; 1 silver medal: javelin throw F11-13
Asghari, Mahdi – 1 gold medal: shot put F42/44
Beit Sayah, Sadegh – 1 silver medal: shot put F40/41
Doolabi, Ramezanali – 1 gold medal: shot put F46
Elahi, Ali (Guide: Marghashi, Javad) – 1 gold medal: 1500m T13
Eslami, Hamid (Guide: Salehimanesh, Hossein) – 1 silver medal: 5000m T11
Golpasandhagh, Parviz – 2 bronze medals: shot put F55/56, discus throw F54-56
Hashemzadeh Shadyari, Mahdi – 1 silver medal: discus throw F46; 1 bronze medal: shot put F46
Jokar, Abdolreza – 1 silver medal: javelin throw F53/54
Khosravi, Arash (Guide: Marghashi, Javad) – 2 gold: 100m T11, 200m T11; 1 silver: 400m T12
Lotfi, Arian – 1 silver medal: shot put F11/12; 1 bronze medal: discus throw F11-13
Mokhtari Hemami, Alireza – 1 gold medal: discus throw F51-53; 1 silver medal: shot put F53/54
Moradikoochi, Mahdi – 1 bronze medal: 100m T13
Ojaghlou, Ahmad – 3 gold medals: 100m T47, 200m T47, 400m T47

Sources: Wikipedia | IPC Athletics Asia-Oceania Championship 2016, paralympic.org, Press TV, parasport-news.com, Facebook | IPC Athletics, Instagram @saaiy_92, Instagram @dcduae, insidethegames.biz, paralympics.org | Medalists by event, paralympics.org | Records

Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) honors Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamed-Arya

The 2015 edition of Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) has awarded Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamed-Arya during a ceremony held in Brisbane, Australia. She received the event’s Special Mention for the Best Performance by an Actress for her portrayal of a nurse in ‘Avalanche,’ directed by Iranian filmmaker Morteza Farshbaf.

Kirin Kiki won the award for Best Performance by an Actress for her role in “An” from Japan while the award for Best Performance by an Actor went to Jung Jaeyoung for his role in “Right Now, Wrong Then” from South Korea.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul from Thailand received the best film award for “Cemetery of Splendor” and Alexey German Jr. from Russia won the best director award for “Under Electric Clouds”. The award for best cinematographer went to Mark Lee Ping-bing from Taiwan for his collaboration in director Hou Hsiaohsien’s “The Assassin”.

The 2015 APSA International Jury was presided by South Korean filmmaker Kim Dong-Ho. He was joined by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki (Bangladesh), Zhang Xianmin (China), U-Wei Bin HajiSaari (Malaysia), Alexei Popogrebsky (Russia) and Negar Javaherian (Iran). Javaherian won the UNESCO Award at the APSA in 2013 for her performance in Maziar Miri’s “Painting Pool”.

Established in 2007, APSA is an international cultural initiative to honor and promote the films, actors, directors, and cultures of the Asia-Pacific region, under the auspices of UNESCO and FIAPF – International Federation of Film Producers Associations.

About Fatemeh Motamed-Arya
Born in 1961, Fatemeh Motamed-Aria is one of the most significant Iranian actresses, who has won numerous national and international awards, including the Best Actress Prize of the 2011 Montreal Film Festival in Canada and the Prix de Henri-Langlois award of the 2012 Vincennes International Festival in France. ‘Once Forever’ (1993), ‘Blue-Veiled’ (1995), ‘Gilaneh’ (2004) and ‘Here Without Me’ (2011) are among the films she has performed in so far.

Sources: Tehran Times, Payvandasiapacificscreenacademy.com, Instagram | apscreenawards, taghato.net

Iranian artist Pariyoush Ganji honored with Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun

Iranian artist Pariyoush Ganji has been honored with the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government. She received the “3rd Class, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon Order of the Rising Sun” at the Embassy of Japan in Tehran.

The 70-year old artist was commissioned by the Japan Foundation to conduct research in the city of Kyoto on Sassanid-era designs, which had been transferred via the Silk Road and appeared on the kimono, the traditional Japanese female costume, and the belt obi.

In addition, Ganji, who has been teaching in Iranian art universities, has long promoted the Japanese art of sumie (Japanese black ink painting) and shoi (traditional Japanese architecture) in her classes. She has had a big share in introducing and promoting Japanese art in Iran and has also helped elevate the artistic exchanges between Iran and Japan.

The Japanese government honored 89 foreign nationals on November 3rd, 2015. Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami also received the Order of the Rising Sun in 2013.

The Order of the Rising Sun was established by Emperor Meiji of Japan in 1875 and was awarded in nine classes until 2003. The badge features rays of sunlight from the rising sun. The design of the Rising Sun symbolizes energy as powerful as the rising sun in parallel with the “rising sun” concept of Japan (“Land of the Rising Sun”).

The order is awarded to those who have made distinguished achievements in international relations, promotion of Japanese culture, advancements in their field, development in welfare or preservation of the environment.

Sources: Tavoos Online, Embassy of Japan in Iran, Honar Online I, Honar Online II, Wikipedia | Order of the Rising Sun

Iran’s women win silver medal at the Asian Canoe Polo Championships in Hong Kong (Photos)

The 16th Asian Canoe Polo Championships have been held in October 2015 in Hong Kong, with over 200 players in four categories (Men, U21 Men, Women, U21 Women) from eleven participating countries (Brunei, China, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong).

Iran, Singapore, Chinese Taipei and Japan dominated the finals of the Championships. Each of them respectively won a championship in the end. Iran won a total of four medals (one gold, two silver and one bronze) and the top scorer titles in the U21 men and women categories.

Singapore’s women canoe polo team defeated five-time defending champions Iran 3-1 in the final, winning the title for the first time. Singapore had fallen to Iran at the final hurdle thrice (2005, 2009 and 2013). Iran’s U21 women team cut Singapore’s title hopes winning the final 5-1. Iran men won bronze after future champion Japan defeated them 7-6 in the semifinals. The U21 team lost 2-6 to Chinese Taipei in the final to settle for a silver medal.

Photos of the Iranian team during the championship in Hong Kong

The Asian Canoeing Championships are subdivided into three tournaments: canoe sprint, canoe slalom and canoe polo. Canoe polo is a combination of canoeing and water polo. The canoes that are used are lighter and shorter than a conventional one, for easier manoeuvrability. Two teams of five players attempt to score using a water polo ball in an area slightly smaller than an Olympic-sized pool. The game can be played in a swimming pool or a lake. The 20-minute game is divided into two halves, with a three-minute interval. The players score by sending the ball into a goal, which is suspended 2m above the water’s surface. Besides using the paddles, players can also use their hands to pass the ball, similar to the practice in water polo. Each player has to wear protective gear such as helmet, vest and face guard.

Sources: Wikipedia | Asian Canoeing Championships, The Straits Times, Asian Canoe Confederation, Iran Daily, Fars News, Sportsoho

Iran wins sixteen medals at the Asian Canoe Sprint Championships in Palembang, Indonesia

The 16th Asian Canoeing Championships, hosted in Palembang, Indonesia from November 4th to November 8th,  were attended by 500 athletes from 21 countries: Cambodia, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, North Korea, South Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam. Unfortunately athletes from Nepal and Pakistan were not able to attend the event due to a delay in their visas.

Iran had a very succesfull run winning a total of sixteen medals (five gold, five silver and six bronze). Kazakhstan dominated the tournament, grabbing the most medals.

Results – Senior
Women C1 200m Fatemeh Karamjani (Gold)
Women C1 500m Fatemeh Karamjani (Silver)

Men K4 1000m Ali Aghamirzaei / Babak Darban / Farzin Asadi / Amin Boudaghi (Gold)
Men C1 200m Adel Mojallalimoghadam (Bronze)
Men K1 1000m Farzin Asadi (Bronze)
Men K2 200m Ali Ojaghu / Seyedkia Eskandanihahosseini (Bronze)
Men K2 1000m Ali Aghamirzaei / Amin Boudaghi (Bronze)

Photos: Iranian canoe athletes at national and international canoeing competitions

Results – Junior
Women K1 200m Mina Abdolahi (Gold)
Women K2 500m Ebrahimi / Tahmasabi (Gold)
Women C1 200m Atena Raofi (Bronze)
Women K1 500m Mina Abdolahi (Bronze)

Men C1 1000m Nabi Rezayi (Gold)
Men K1 1000m Alireza Farmande (Silver)
Men K2 1000m Masoud/Sharifi (Silver)

Dragon boat races
Women 200m (Silver)
Women 500m (Silver)

Sources: Wikipedia | 2015 Asian Canoe Sprint Championships, palembantribunnews.com, antarasumsel.com I, antarasumsel.com IIantarasumsel.com III, The Straits Times, Mehr News 1, womencanintl.com, Mehr News 2

Bloomberg and IBT: Business women in Iran – Ready for take off!

Excerpts of “Women in Iran Are Ready to Show They Mean Business” from Bloomberg.com:

Women in Iran are ready to make career gains in a way few of their peers can in the Gulf Arab world.

Thirteen years after Mona Hajialiasghar started out as an asset manager in Tehran, she’s chief operating officer of Kardan Investment Bank, which oversees about $300 million invested in Iran. As her country edges toward an historic agreement that promises to plug it back into the global economy, she already sees more women joining her.

“The presence of women in Iran in the workplace and in higher education is much more serious now compared to when I first started,” said Hajialiasghar, 35, who has a master’s degree in business management. “With younger women entering the market, firstly their numbers are much higher, but also their confidence is much higher.” […]

Young couples enjoy a meal in a western style restaurant in Tehran. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Young couples enjoy a meal in a western style restaurant in Tehran. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Kardan’s chief executive officer, Majid Zamani, said that across Iran’s nine investment banks, the presence of women is high compared with other industries and in some cases it even outnumbers men like himself. “I’d say this is definitely the case in the capital markets in Iran,” Zamani said. “We’re looking for dedicated, committed people and contrary to what’s sometimes the public perception, women tend to be the strongest candidates in this regard.” […]

While women have been legally obliged to cover their hair and adapt Islamic rules of modesty in clothing since the revolution in 1979, they have never faced limitations when it comes to driving, voting and access to education. They also occupy some top political jobs – three of President Hassan Rouhani’s vice presidents are women.

Bloomberg - 2015.10.01 - Women in Iran Are Ready to Show They Mean Business 2

Employees work at the Tehran Stock Exchange in Tehran.
Photo by: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

The nuclear deal “means economic empowerment for women in Iran,” said Suzanne DiMaggio, director of the Iran Initiative at New America Foundation in New York, a not-for-profit research organization. “Already today there are more women than men studying at Iranian universities, and they also work for a living and can own businesses and vote, so once sanctions are lifted and Iran reintegrates into the global economy, that should help women.”

Government figures show 72 percent of working women in Iran are employed by private enterprises. That’s the area of the economy that’s set to burgeon after sanctions stifled business, according to Shahindokht Molaverdi, one of the country’s three female vice presidents.

While Iranian law protects equal pay in government jobs and there’s maternity leave of as long as 12 months in some departments, women in Iran face much of the same problems as they do in the western world. There are disproportionately fewer of them in the executive suite after making up more than half of university places. They also suffer from a higher rate of unemployment, which at 19 percent is more than twice the figure for men, according to Iran’s National Statistics Organization. […]

Fatemeh Moghimi started her trucking business in Tehran 26 years ago after finishing a degree at City University in London. She’s the first woman to be elected to the board of directors of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce and Industry and she employs several women as drivers.

“I was worried, because I wanted to start my business,” Moghimi, 57, said in an interview at her office at the Tehran Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where she spends her Saturday mornings mentoring dozens of mostly female entrepreneurs. “It took two years. I came across a lot of cultural barriers, with the mindset of people, rather than legal barriers.”

Excerpts of “Trendy Tehran – Meet the female entrepreneurs breaking boundaries in Iran” from the International Business Times:

Mahsa Rezazadeh started her café in Tehran seven years ago and now brings in a better wage than her husband, a lawyer. She attributes her success amid a sanctions-shattered Iranian economy to hard work and the fact that however bad things get in Iran, Iranians cannot resist the smell of a home-cooked meal and freshly brewed coffee. “People may cut other expenses but they don’t compromise their stomach,” Rezazadeh, a mother of two, tells IBTimes UK from her café Little House in central Tehran. […]

Like many Iranian entrepreneurs, Rezazadeh is hoping that the lifting of sanctions following the nuclear deal between Iran and the US will trickle down, so that those who frequent her café will have more money to spend on food and coffee. “If sanctions are lifted and my customers can pay more money and I will able to do more,” she said. […]

International Business Times - 2015.10.05 - Trendy Tehran Meet the female entrepreneurs breaking boundaries in Iran

An Iranian family look at bubbles as they shop at the main bazaar in Tehran. Photo credit: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty

Mona Mahpeyma, 25, is a graphic design graduate and aspiring fashion designer, who owns her own outlet in Tehran. […] “At first some thought that I as a woman could not make it but […] restrictions could not stop me. In business the restrictions for women are less than other areas like politics and sports,” she said. “The main restriction in doing business is financial, which is equal for men and women.”

The sanctions had been particularly problematic for Mahpeyma as they made the raw materials she needs far more expensive. She is hoping that Iran’s textile industry can now grow meaning her costs will go down. “At the time of the international sanctions imposed on us, the market for clothing and fashion was not money making. Now, if I decide to expand my business internationally without any sanctions I will have the opportunity to present myself as an Iranian designer internationally. Now I hope for a better change for women like me who have their own startups.”

Other interesting posts on Iranian women: https://theotheriran.com/tag/women/

Winners of Asian Women’s Futsal Championship welcomed in Iran (Photos)

Iran women’s national futsal team were received at the airport in Tehran by their families, fans, Football Federation officials and a number of media representatives after having been crowned inaugural champions of the AFC Women’s Futsal Championship in Malaysia.

Fereshteh Karimi was awarded AFC Women’s Futsal Championship 2015 Most Valuable Player after beating Japan 1-0 in a thrilling final at the Nilai Indoor Stadium. The 26-year-old scored six goals in the campaign but undoubtedly her most important was the one she notched in the final.

Sources: IRNA Photos, AFC | Iran crowned inaugural AFC Futsal Champions, AFC | Fereshteh Karimi attributes MVP accolade to team effort

Youth Music Festival 2015 in Tehran, Iran – Part 2: Winners (Photos)

Close to 250 young musicians participated in this festival which was held in two main sections of classical and traditional Iranian music. The competition was held in three age groups ranging from 10-27 years old.

In the classical section, the highest number of instrumentalists played the piano, violin and guitar, while in the traditional section santur, tar and setar were mostly present. Traditional Persian music was held in eight sub-categories, including seven instrumental and a vocal section.

Related article: Youth Music Festival Practice & Performance (Photos) – Part 1 https://theotheriran.com/2015/09/22/youth-music-festival-2015-in-tehran-iran-part-1-practice-performance-photos/

Sources: tavoosonline.com, MEHR | Photos, nay.ir

Youth Music Festival 2015 in Tehran, Iran – Part 1: Practice & Performance (Photos)

Close to 250 young musicians participated in this festival which was held in two main sections of classical and traditional Iranian music. The competition was held in three age groups ranging from 10-27 years old.

In the classical section, the highest number of instrumentalists played the piano, violin and guitar, while in the traditional section santur, tar and setar were mostly present. Traditional Persian music was held in eight sub-categories, including seven instrumental and a vocal section.

Sources: MEHR | Photos, nay.ir, honaronline.ir 1, honaronline.ir 2, Tavoos Online

Zohreh Abdollah-Khani: Iranian ice climber (Photos)

Abdollah Khani, Zohreh - Iranian ice climber - First Iranian female to win an international ice climbing medal 0Zohreh Abdollah Khani, born on September 30th, 1984 in Karaj, Iran. She is currently Iran’s ice climbing champion and Asia’s bronze medal holder. She became the first female ice climber to win a medal for Iran at an international venue, when she finished third in Women Speed at the 2014 UIAA Ice Climbing Asian Championship in Cheongsong, South Korea.

The photo gallery was taken during Abdollah Khani’s training by reporters of Borna News.

Below a video of Zohreh Abdollah Khani

Other posts about great Iranian women: click here

Sources: Borna News | Photos, everest51.blogspot.de, Ice Climbing World Cup | Women Speed Asia 2014, ISNA-Alborz | News

Iran’s women inline speed skating competition (Photos)

135 Iranian athletes, divided in juniors and seniors, participated during the first stage of women’s inline speed skating competition. The best athletes in the different disciplines were invited to Iran’s national team camp in Mazandaran and Borujen in August.

Other posts about Iranian women: The other Iran | women

Sources: IRNA | Photos, Iran Skating Federation | News, Iran Skating Federation | Photos, BORNA News Agency | Photos

Behnaz Shafiei: Iranian professional road racer

In the dusty hills of Hashtgerd, some 40 miles west of Tehran, a rider on a souped-up bike comes roaring along a rough-and-ready race track, braving steep jumps and dangerous turns. With a bright orange and black biker suit and helmet, the motorcyclist looks just like any other, until the helmet comes off. The rider is a woman.

“When people find that out, they stop and say damet-garm [Persian for ‘right on’],” Behnaz Shafiei told the Guardian. She feels welcome in an otherwise all-male motorcycling club, where she practises three times a week: “They offer help when I tow my bike with the car or when I run into a technical problem.”

The 26-year-old is among the first group of female motorcyclists in Iran to have recently obtained official permission to practise on off-road circuits, and the one and only Iranian female rider to have done professional road racing.

Women in Iran are still banned from riding a motorbike in public, and are not issued licences, although they are allowed to take part in other sports, from martial arts to car rallies. But things are beginning to change. Shafiei’s story has attracted a great deal of interest at home. A leading national newspaper recently photographed her at play and state-run television has broadcast an interview with her. Shafiei is hopeful that soon she will also be allowed to compete.

Men and women alike rub their eyes in disbelief when they see her on a motorbike, Shafiei said, but she added that reactions were always positive. “I’ve never seen a bad reaction to what I do. People here are fascinated when they see a woman doing such a physically demanding sport,” she said. “Everyone has something affirmative to say. Women wave hands and say well done, you are brave. There are people who can’t believe a woman can ride a motorbike but they’re generally thrilled and feel very proud.”

Shafiei, who was born and raised in Karaj, near Tehran, found her passion for motorcycling at the age of 15 while on holiday with her family in Zanjan province. “There was this young woman in a village there who rode a 125cc urban motorbike to travel between houses, like one used by the postman,” she recalled. “I like that a lot and told myself that I want to ride a motorbike too and in fact I learned how to ride a motorcycle for the first time during my stay there.”

With support from her family, especially her mother, Shafiei dabbled in motorcycling for a few years before pursuing the sport professionally. “I used to borrow my brother’s bike and ride in the city stealthily. It was such fun,” she said.

She saved money from her work as an accountant and bought her first bike, an Apache 180cc, four years ago. A couple of years later she went to a track race in northern Karaj to have a look. Male riders there, she said, encouraged her to come along regularly and offered to teach her what they knew.

These days, Shafiei has changed her bike to a 2012 Suzuki 250cc, focusing all her attention on motocross, but a ban on women riding in official race tracks means she can only practise in rudimentary clubs such as the one in Hashtgerd, where medical facilities are not available.

“We don’t have a single ambulance in the track. It’s an expensive sport and we have no sponsors. If someone has an injury, it might get even worse by the time the rider is taken to the hospital,” she said. […] “I want to be part of my own country’s team, I don’t want to go abroad. I want to bring pride to Iran and show that Iranian women can do this sport too.” She added: “Outside, Iran is depicted differently. We want to change that view. People ask if women are allowed to drive in Iran. Of course they are.”

Shafiei says she looks up to Laleh Seddigh, Iran’s most famous female car race driver, nicknamed “little Schumacher”, whose struggle to become the country’s first woman champion was the subject of a BBC documentary. “Laleh Seddigh is my idol, I hope that one day we will be allowed to race like her,” Shafiei said.

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, has called for gender equality since taking power and hopes are high, although he has yet to deliver on his promises. In 2013, he tweeted in support of Shirin Gerami, the first Iranian female triathlete to take part in a world championship.

Fariba Javanmardi, the deputy head of Iran’s motorcycle and automobile federation, speaking to the country’s SNN student news agency this month, said: “Culture has not been promoted in this field and many are opposed to women riding on motorbikes. At the moment, you can’t imagine a women riding on a motorbike in the streets. But we hope that the issue of their licences would be resolved. We are working on it.”

Shafiei was confident Javanmardi and her colleagues were doing all they could to help. She said: “The restrictions in Iran are problematic for us. My wish is that this sport becomes free for women.”

Related article:  Noora Naraghi- Iran’s female Motocross champion

Sources: The Guardian, Dailydot, Jamejamonline, Instagram | Behnaz Shafiei

Sara Khadem: Iran’s top ranked chess Woman Grand Master and Under-12 world champion

Sara Sadat Khadem-al-sharieh (born March 10, 1997) is an Iranian chess Woman Grand Master. As of July 2015, she is ranked world no. 4 girl player and no. 66 junior player. She won the Under-12 World Youth Chess Championship (Girls) in 2009. She played at the 40th Chess Olympiad in 2012. Her current ELO rating is 2412.

FIDE Titles
International Master (IM), 2015
Woman Grand Master (WGM), 2013
Woman International Master (WIM), 2011
Woman FIDE Master (WFM), 2008

Quick interview at the Olympiad in Tromsø 2014:

Sources: wikipedia | Sara Khadem, FIDE top women chess players of Iran

Works by Iranian artist Pariyoush Ganji on display in Tehran

The current exhibition ‘A decade of paintings” is a selection of works from Pariyoush Ganji’s Red, Night and Day Windows, Roses and Water series.

Over the past ten years Ganji has worked on several collections ‘Day, Night Windows’ (2012), ‘Day, Night Windows’ (2010), ‘Roses’ (2006), ‘Windows Red’ (2003), ‘Sumi-e, Ink Paintings’ (2000-2012) and ‘Windows, Memories of Childhood’ (1997-2007).

The exhibition will run until July 23rd at Aryana Gallery (No.9, Fayazi St.,(Fereshte St.), Tehran).

About Pariyoush Ganji
Pariyoush Ganji (1945 in Tabriz, Iran) studied painting from 1968 to 1975 in London (St. Martin School of Art, Sir John Cass Art School, Chelsea School) and Paris (École de Beaux Arts). Her research include ‘The History of Persian Textile’ (Italy, 2007), ‘The Influence of Sassanid Patterns on Kimono and Obi Patterns through the Silk Road’ (Kyoto, Japan, 1996) and ‘Saffavid tiles in Isfahan’ (London, England, 1974). She held exhibitions at Luci Makintosh Gallery (Switzerland, 2012), Bank Art Museum (Japan, 2006), Museum of Art and Science (USA, 2003) and National Museum of Tashkent (Uzbekistan, 1999).
A more detailed biography: Pariyoush Ganji | About or Caroun.com | Pariyoush Ganji.

Sources: Iran Daily | News, Art 360° | Ariana Gallery, Honaronline.ir | Featured

Iranian actress’ Motamed-Arya portrait displayed at UN exhibit in New York (Photos)

A portrait of the acclaimed Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamed-Arya is displayed besides 15 international figures at a multimedia exhibition titled ‘The Transformative Power of Art’ at the UN Exhibits in New York. The exhibition features sculptures and large fresco portraits of artists who have stood up for human rights.

Motamed-Arya, 54, is involved in humanitarian activities and helps raise funds for different charities. Her latest gesture is putting up her Crystal Simorgh award, presented to her for the role of best actress in ‘Gilaneh’ in 2005, on sale to support people deprived of a home in Iran. She has been nominated nine times for the best actress award at the Fajr International Film Festival and won the Crystal Simorgh four times. She had a role in Rakhshan Bani-Etemad’ celebrated film ‘The Tales’ and played the lead character in ‘Nabaat’, Azerbaijan’s nominee for the Best Foreign Language Film in the 2014 Academy Awards.

The objective of the exhibition – curated by painter and sculptor Fabrizio Ruggiero – is to demonstrate that art creates bridges where politics divide. It takes place under the United Nations “2015: Time for Global Action” campaign, primarily destined to raise awareness about climate change and our fragile ecosystems.

The sculptures are made of many natural elements and the 16 accompanying portraits represent people from all continents who, during their lifetime, contributed to the common good of humanity in one way or another and have transformed the way we think. The men and women who are represented never lost sight of the most vulnerable.

They are: Pierre-Claver Akendengué (Gabon), Maya Angelou (USA), Joan Baez (USA), Audrey Hepburn (UK), Vassily Kandinsky (Russia), Umm Kulthum (Egypt), Gong Li (China), Miriam Makeba (South Africa), Edgar Morin (France), Fatemeh Motamed-Arya (Iran), Okot p’Bitek (Uganda), Satyajit Ray (India), Sebastião Salgado (Brazil), Wole Soyinka (Nigeria), Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (Kenya), and Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan).

Sources: IRNA | News, United Nations | News

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: First Iranian artist to have a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim, New York

Farmanfarmaian, now 92, is a renowned Iranian visual artist known for her geometric style and mirror sculptures. She became the first Iranian artist to have her work featured in a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim; a retrospective, spanning four decades of work: “Infinite Possibility: Mirror Works and Drawings 1974–2014”, organized by the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, Portugal.

In 2011, Vogue — where she worked early on as a freelance illustrator — featured her when she was the subject of an art book. “Whatever time I have left, I want to make art,” she said in the Vogue interview. “And I hope it will be worthwhile to see it.”

Contemporary Iranian art has a decades-long history in the West — though artists are now exhibiting their work with increasing frequency in the United States and Europe.

From September 2013 to January 2014, the Asia Society in New York exhibited Iran Modern. The show featured a diverse body of work from numerous artists that spanned the three decades leading up to the revolution of 1979.

In January and February of this year, the Taymour Grahne Gallery presented Traveling Demons, a collection of colorful and haunting pieces by Malekeh Nayiny, who was born in Tehran and currently lives in Paris.

And while Farmanfarmaian’s work was at the Guggenheim, the works of famed sculptor Parviz Tanavoli was on display at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College. Like Farmanfarmaian, Tanavoli is also the first Iranian artist to have a solo show at that space.

Shiva Balaghi co-curated the Tanavoli exhibition, and is a visiting scholar in Middle Eastern studies at Brown University. As one of the few academics in the country who specializes in Middle Eastern art history, Balaghi is quick to debunk notions of an Iranian art renaissance in the U.S., despite its recent popularity in the American art world.

“A reemergence is not really true,” she told BuzzFeed News. “The fact that there’s a growing interest in the West is key, not that this art hasn’t been made before.” Balaghi’s theory is that art institutions are beginning to look beyond Iran’s current political climate and explore the country through its art.

“It’s almost like museums are taking on this cultural diplomacy role,” she said. “There’s a cultural life in that country that continues and flourishes, one that doesn’t have to do with nuclear negotiations.”

Related articles to Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian:
Iranian Roots | Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian – Iranian Artist (Bio)
The Huffington Post | 90-Year-Old Iranian Artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian Gets Her First Comprehensive U.S. Exhibition
The Guardian | Infinite Possibility: Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

Source: BuzzFeed News | This Iranian Artist Is Making History At The Guggenheim

Photos: Iran’s national rafting team qualifyers

According to the Iran Rowing Federation, the white water rafting competitions took place on the Zayandeh-Rood river, in Saman, Chahar Mahal & Bakhtiari Province, in order to select the members that will compete for Iran’s national team in the upcoming international competition in Turkey.

Sources: IRNA, Mehr News Agency, Tasnim News Agency, Fars News Agency, ICF (Iran Canoeing, Rowing & Sailing Federation)

Photos: Women polo competition in Tehran, Iran

The Shirin Cup, a four team women polo tournament, is taking place on May 14 and May 21 at the Qasr-e Firoozeh Complex in Tehran. The referee of the competition is Tomás Guillermo Asher, coach and international referee from Argentina.

On Thursday, Khargoosh Darreh defeated Norooz Abad 3 to 2 and Qasr-e Firoozeh lost against Kanoon 1 to 5. The final round, on May 21, will have Kanoon facing Khargoosh Darreh for the first place of the tournament, while Qasr-e Firoozeh and Norooz Abad will be competing for the third place.

Another tournament, the Adab Polo Cup, was organized in March 2014, between Qasr-e Firoozeh and Norooz Abad, to enhance the handicap of novice women polo players. Qasr-e Firoozeh achieved first place winning 5 to 2.

Sources: Mehr News Agency | Photos 1, Mehr News Agency | Photos 2, Polo Federation of Iran | News 2015.05.17, Polo Federation of Iran | News 2014.03

Photos: Graduation ceremony of Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran

The graduation ceremony took place this month at Tehran’s Milad Tower.

Sharif University of Technology (SUT) is a public research university in Tehran, Iran, known traditionally to be first choice of top ranked Iranian high school and university students in engineering and physical sciences.

Undergraduate admission to Sharif is limited to the top 1 percent of students who pass the national entrance examination.

The university was founded in 1966 with the name Aryamehr Technical University by Dr. Mohammad Ali Mojtahedi. At that time, there were 54 faculty members and a total of 412 students who were selected by national examination. Also only four departments were established: Electrical, Metallurgical, Mechanical, and Chemical Engineering. Following the 1979 revolution the university was named after Majid Sharif Vaghefi, a former student who was killed in 1975.

Today the university has grown to an elite school with over 9000 students, 700 of whom are studying for a doctorate, and over 500 faculty members in 15 main departments. Funding for Sharif University is provided by the government and through private funding. The main campus of the university is in Tehran and it has also an International Campus on Kish Island.

Sharif University is known for its large number of alumni who join the academic world. Maryam Mirzakhani, first woman to win the Fields medal (the ‘Nobel Prize’ of mathematics), is an alumni of Sharif University. Other notable alumni from SUT: Wikipedia | SUT | Notable alumni

Further read: The other Iran | Graduation ceremony at Amirkabir University of Technology

Sources: Tasnim News Agency | Photos, Sharif University of Technology, Wikipedia | Sharif University of Technology

Photos: Iran’s rowing team training at Azadi’s Sport Complex Lake

On another note, tests were held today to determine the best members of the kayak youth national team. After three competition rounds Mohammad Javad finished first with 37 points, second was Alireza Farmandeh (30pts) and third Mohammad Golpirah (29pts).

Below photos of Iran’s national rowing team training training at Azadi’s Sport Complex Lake:

About the Azadi Sport Complex
The Azadi Sport Complex (formerly Aryamehr Sport Complex) was designed by Architect Abdol-Aziz Farmanfarmaian and constructed by Arme Construction Company for the 7th Asian Games in 1974 with international criteria. It is located on a 450 hectares areal in West Tehran.

It is Iran’s national sports complex comprising following facilities: Azadi Stadium, Velodrome, Indoor Stadium, Swimming Pool Hall, Five Halls Complex (for indoor sports like Basketball, Volleyball, Wrestling…), Shooting Complex, Artificial Lake, Driving Court, Tennis Courts, Equestrian Court, Karting Court, Baseball Court, Azadi Football Training Pitches and the Olympic Hotel Tehran.

Sources:  IRNA | Photos, Wikipedia | Azadi Sport Complex, Wikipedia | Azadi Stadium | History, ICF (Iran Canoeing, Rowing & Sailing Federation) | News

Photos: International Equestrian Tournament for teenage jockeys in Tehran, Iran

Thirty eight jockeys competed in the 1st International Equestrian Tournament for Juniors (jockeys aged between 14 and 18) organized by the Equestrian Federation of Iran.

The tournament took place near Chitgar Park at Azadi Equestrian Complex, Tehran. Embassadors from Belgium, Belarus, Spain and Turkmenistan visited the event. The first place went to Sobhan Youssefi riding Fouravar, Arshia Tassafi riding Butterfly took the second place and Amir Azsalan Tambakoukar riding Jalisco the third.

In another competition, Salar Golestanian riding Anora won the first place, Mehrdad Ameri riding Karbeh the second and Sobhan Yousefi riding Fouravar the third place.