Tag Archives: Foreigners in Iran

German Jazz pianist and composer Joja Wendt performed in Iran

German Jazz pianist and composer Johan Wendt aka Joja Wendt performed in Iran at the 30th Fajr International Music Festival.

Check out the other performances in the Fajr International Music Festival here (lots of interesting photos)

Sources: Tehran Times, jojawendt.com, imdb.com, German Embassy in Tehran, IRNA | Photos

 

Theater Performance: “London, Tehran, Rome, Amsterdam” opened in Tehran, Iran

“London, Tehran, Rome, Amsterdam, Reconsider Your Image Of Me” will play from November 16 to December 12 of 2014, every night (apart from Saturdays), at 21:00 o’clock in the Hafez Hall, Tehran.

This performance, a co-production between the Virgule Performing Arts Company (Iran) and STET The English Theatre (Netherlands) is supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The opening ceremony was held on Sunday, Nov. 16 with the Dutch ambassador to Tehran attending the ceremony.

The performance examines a current topic between Iran and the West, namely what are the images that we have of ‘the Other’ and to what extent fears, fantasies and imaginations are based on truth. By initiating a direct meeting with the Other and listening to each other’s stories, this group aims to create new images, based on the stories of the people who wouldn’t usually make the headlines.

The piece is a multi-media, highly physical, speech performance. It includes the actors’ own stories, dialogue between the actors, video installations with short documentaries about daily life in the countries of origin of the actors and video collages of cultural milestones from these cultures. The physical form of the piece produces a third language.

The project has brought together an international cast to create this piece during a 2 month rehearsal period in Tehran. The company includes Dutch actress Marene van Holk, Italian actress Marta Paganelli, British actress Amy Strange, Iranian actresses Melodie Aramnia and Neda Jebreilli and Iranian actor Meysam Mirzaei, and the piece has been conceived and directed by Arvand Dashtaray.

The production will be performed in the Netherlands in the autumn of 2015.

Sources
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Mehr News Agency

Business Insider – Jewish Australian writer Ben Winsor about visiting Iran

There's a lot to see in Tehran, but make sure you get out to see the Darband waterfalls and the nearby ski resorts, all popular with the locals.

There’s a lot to see in Tehran, but make sure you get out to see the Darband waterfalls and the nearby ski resorts, all popular with the locals.

While Iran is seen by some in the West as a country full of crazy fundamentalists hell-bent on America’s nuclear destruction, the reality you’ll see inside the country couldn’t be further from the truth.

The fact is, the majority of the Iranian public love Westerners — Americans in particular — making Iran one of the safest countries on our list even for female travelers. Opinion polls show the majority of Iranians hold a favorable opinion of Americans, making Iran second only to Israel as the most supportive population in the Middle East.

The Azadi tower (freedom tower) is an impressive gateway to the city, built to symbolize 2,500 years of Persian culture.

The Azadi tower (freedom tower) is an impressive gateway to the city, built to symbolize 2,500 years of Persian culture.To travel as a Westerner is to be routinely stopped on the street and welcomed by curious and generous Iranians. When I was there last summer I was constantly offered with cold drinks, invited to parties, and given free tours by locals.

 

There is a ton to see there: cheap ski resorts in the Alborz mountains north of Tehran, ancient clay-baked mosques in Kashan, the stunning central square of Isfahan, the Tatooine-like ruins of Na’in, and the ancient ruins of Persepolis near Shiraz.

While Western sanctions mean you can’t use your Visa or MasterCard in the country, you won’t have to take much cash. All expenses — including transport, food, and accommodation — amounted to less than $200 for my 11-day trip last year. 

Inexpensive, air conditioned buses run frequently between most cities, and a full falafel sandwich will often only set you back 25 cents. There’s amazing rosewater ice cream almost everywhere in summer for about 10 cents a cone.

persepolisJohn Moore/GettyPersepolis, literally “city of the Persians,” was the capital of the first Persian empire 2,500 years ago.

Iran is safe for female travelers. Iranian women dress fashionably, and the level of respect on the streets could be considered high even by Western standards. However, it is mandatory to wear a headscarf in public at all times. Headscarves are skimpy, colorful, and barely attached in Tehran, but in regional areas more conservative coverings are the norm.

Nain Na'in IranThe old city of the tiny town of Na’in.

Source:

ABC Australia – Misunderstanding shields us from Iran’s reality

Don’t believe all the stereotypes: the mood inside Iran is hopeful for change and increased positive engagement with the West…

When I told my friends I was travelling to Iran they didn’t believe me.

“That’s the sort of place people go missing and don’t come back,” they said.

“Don’t worry,” I reassured them, “I’m white and Jewish, nobody will be able to miss me, and they won’t be wanting me to stay.”

I was right on the first count, wrong on the second.

Despite a sophisticated English-language tourist infrastructure, there are almost no Western visitors, so Iranians are especially excited to meet Europeans or North Americans. Seemingly insecure, many would ask us whether we were enjoying Iran, responding with scepticism when we said yes.

In a dusty desert town in the centre of the country, a father encouraged his young daughter to ask my Dutch colleague for a photo with him.

“You look just like Louis Tomlinson from One Direction,” she told him excitedly.

People on the street were constantly stopping us, they would ask where we were from, give us drinks, and generously welcome us to their country.

The image of Iran as being full of wild-eyed Arabs chanting ‘death to America’ is wrong on many levels, not least of all because Iranians aren’t actually Arab (and they’re sick of pointing that out).

In the cafes of Tehran the headscarves are skimpy and men and women laugh together over cans of coke, you’re more likely to see iPhones in the streets than AK-47s, and while it’s true that you’d better keep homosexuality behind well-padlocked doors, the prosecution and persecution of gay people isn’t a popular public sport the way it is in a number of other countries.

Don’t get me wrong, Iran is no liberal Mecca, but it’s no worse than many other countries where the West has chosen to use engagement, rather than isolation, to encourage progress.

Don’t Believe the Hype

Tehran itself has a lively and well-educated youth population which bucks at the regime at every turn.

Iranians have access to illegal alcohol, openly mount banned satellite dishes, hold lively house parties, and hack their way around internet restrictions on social media.

Indeed, when we spoke with a group of young Iranians, the only topics off limits were spoilers to the season finale of Game of Thrones.

Even on Israel, the views we encountered were surprisingly moderate. Broaching the subject with one group made them bashful. They thought that as Westerners we would be offended by their ‘extreme’ views.

They supported a two-state solution based on the 1967 border agreement. Imagine their surprise when I told them this was roughly official US policy.

Misunderstanding, it seems, goes both ways.

Western leaders talk tough on Iran to make themselves look strong and Israeli politicians exploit Iran’s nuclear intentions to gain traction internationally.

We have short memories in international affairs, only 35 years ago Iran was ruled by a relatively liberal dictatorship and was a key Western ally, but our distorted perceptions are not entirely our fault. Stereotypes have been encouraged not only by films like Argo, but by authority figures with their own agendas.

Western leaders talk tough on Iran to make themselves look strong and Israeli politicians exploit Iran’s nuclear intentions and poor engagement to gain traction internationally.

Even Iran’s own leaders are prone to spout hatred of the West to pander to their own support bases of hardliners and clerics.

Such statements will gladly be emphasised and taken out of context by those on the other side, and so the cycle continues.

One Iranian told me when he was a kid they were offered the day off school if they would take a bus to Tehran to shout anti-western slogans for international cameras. The kids were enthusiastic because they got the day off school, but when the cameras were off even adults went up to journalists to ask about US culture and tell them how much they wanted to visit New York.

The gap between the rhetoric on Iran and the reality amongst Iranians is perhaps best demonstrated by this month’s inauguration of the country’s new president.

Hassan Rohani was the most liberal of the six candidates permitted to run, and he won just over 50 per cent of the vote.

Rohani is a former nuclear negotiator, has appointed numerous women to high-level government positions, and spoke of the US-Iranian relationship as a ‘wound which must be healed’.

The mood inside Iran is hopeful for change and increased positive engagement with the West, but it would be wrong to say most are optimistic.

A Narrow Path

Iranians have had their hopes crushed before. Every young person we met in Tehran had a friend who was killed in the green movement protests against the legitimacy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s 2009 re-election.

The demonstrations were brutally crushed by the regime, and many of the protestors who weren’t killed have simply vanished, their friends have no idea where they’ve gone.

Iran is a proud country with many sophisticated and well-educated people who remember their liberal past, but it is also a country with a clandestine religious government, not impervious to its own internal power struggles.

With Rohani assuming the presidency, and still holding the goodwill of the people and the religious leadership, now is an opportune moment for the West and for Iran.

The path to a peaceful resolution of tensions is narrow but walkable, and will and restraint is required from both sides.

Remaining cool and rising above provocation isn’t naïve and it doesn’t excuse the often brutal Iranian government, but it does offer the best chance of progress for both the West, and the millions of Iranians who suffer from their regime’s intransigence.

Information about the author:

Ben Winsor is a Law and International Studies graduate currently undertaking a placement with the Presidency of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He is studying a Masters in Law at the Australian National University. All views expressed are his own and do not reflect those of his employer. View his full profile here.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-06/winsor-an-australian-in-iran/4937548

Series: Female British biker on Iranian roads

This is what she writes on her blog:

In autumn 2013 and spring 2014 I spent two months riding 3000 miles around Iran. Of all my journeys, this is the one that has affected me most profoundly.

The popular image of Iran here in the West is of course, hardly welcoming, and I admit I set off with some trepidation – was it really wise for me to ride a motorcycle alone in this pariah nation of Islamic extremists, with all its gruesome facts and figures surrounding women’s rights, free speech and treatment of political prisoners?

But if I’ve learned anything from my travels it’s that a nation’s government and its people are entirely unconnected (I mean, really, would I want a foreigner to judge me on David Cameron’s actions?!). And as soon as I crossed the border it became apparent that the Iranian people were going to make me fall head over heels in love with their country.  I have never experienced such a warm welcome and effortless kindness and hospitality from a nation.

http://www.loisontheloose.com/my-adventures/iran/

The Telegraph writes:

“I was run off the road a lot of the time; at first I thought people were trying to mow me down, or Islamists; and it turned out they just wanted to give me bags of pomegranates.”

“You find that you just can’t eat any more food. It’s mad. I had heard Iranian hospitality was legendary, and it really is. There was none of the dour religiosity you usually hear about.”

Other aspects of the country have also given her a taste for more, including the “incredibly beautiful” architecture and mosaics of the mosques, striking modernist buildings such as the Azadi tower in Tehran, and the “unique” desert city of Yadz.

“My bike is still out there with some wonderful people I stayed with in Tehran,” she says. “I’m hoping to go back next year and visit the areas I missed.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/activityandadventure/10462760/Iran-one-womans-solo-motorbike-tour.html#disqus_thread