Tag Archives: People

Photo gallery: Lunar eclipse July 2018 in Iran

A total lunar eclipse took place on 27 July 2018: The Moon has passed through the centre of the Earth’s shadow.

This eclipse was the longest total lunar eclipse in the 21st century, since it occurred near apogee (the Moon’s orbit point farthest from the Earth). It lasted approximately 103 minutes. The moon remained at least partially in Earth’s shadow for a total of four hours. The eclipse occurred simultaneously with the perihelic opposition of Mars (Mars is closest to the Sun and particularly close to Earth), a coincidence that happens once every 25,000 years.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes within Earth’s umbra (shadow). As the eclipse begins, Earth’s shadow first darkens the Moon slightly. Then, the Earth’s shadow begins to “cover” part of the Moon, turning it a dark red-brown color (typically – the color can vary based on atmospheric conditions). The Moon appears to be reddish because of Rayleigh scattering (the same effect that causes sunsets to appear reddish) and the refraction of that light by Earth’s atmosphere into its umbra. The Moon’s brightness is exaggerated within the umbral shadow.

Sources: ANA, Fars News Agency 1, Fars 2, Fars 3, Fars 4, Fars 5, IRNA 1, IRNA 2, IRNA 3, ISNA, Mehr News Agency 1, MEHR 2, MEHR 3, MEHR 4, Tasnim News Agency 1, Tasnim 2, Young Journalists Club (YJC) 1, YJC 2, YJC 3, Wikipedia, timeanddate.com, NASA

Photo gallery: Fans in Iran celebrate the 2018 FIFA World Cup

During the world cup many Iranians watched the matches in cafés, restaurants, shops or public screenings. After each match people flooded the streets to celebrate and show their support for the team; Iran achieved their best performance at a world cup. They finished third in their group with four points and overall in 18th place out of 32 squads.*

An own goal by Aziz Bouhaddouz (90+5′) allowed Iran to win their first match 1:0 against Morocco. Spain won the second match 1:0 (Diego Costa 54′) but the Europeans struggled to create chances against a very disciplined Iran that defended brilliantly, showed plenty of tactical cohesion and looked dangerous going forward. Saeid Ezatolahi had a goal disallowed for offside.

The third match against Portugal ended in a draw 1:1 (Quaresma 45′; penalty Karim Ansarifard 90+3′). Morteza Pouraliganji rose up to the challenge and kept Cristiano Ronaldo in check. In the second half, Ali Beiranvand managed to save Ronaldo’s penalty kick. Seconds before the final whistle, Iran went all out for the winner and a desperate Saman Ghoddos effort was deflected onto the path of Mehdi Taremi who found himself one-on-one with Portuguese goalkeeper Rui Patricio. Taremi hit the wrong side of the netting, consigning his side to finishing third in their group. Iran needed all three points to advance to the knock-out stage.

In The Guardian, Paul Doyle rated Ali Beiravand’s overall performance with an 8 and chose the Iranian goalkeeper in his best eleven of the group stage.

*Note: In 1978, Iran finished in 14th place out of 16 participants on their first World Cup appearance.

Sources: Borna News Agency, Fars News Agency (FNA) 1, FNA 2, IRNA 1, IRNA 2, IRNA 3, IRNA 4, IRNA 5, IRNA 6, IRNA 7, ISNA 1, ISNA 2, ISNA 3, ISNA 4, ISNA 5, ISNA 6, Mehr News Agency (MNA) 1, MNA 2, MNA 3, MNA 4, MNA 5, MNA 6, MNA 7, MNA 8, MNA 9, Tasnim News Agency (TNA) 1, TNA 2, Tehran Picture Agency (TPA) 1, TPA 2, TPA 3, Young Journalists Club (YJC) 1, YJC 2, YJC 3, YJC 4, YJC 5, YJC 6, YJC 7, AFC, The Guardian (TG) 1, TG 2, Wikipedia 1, Wikipedia 2, Wikipedia 3

Easter 2017 in Iran (Photos)

This Easter was celebrated by all Christian denominations on the same day, which is unusual. The date usually differs, often even by weeks, between Eastern and Western Christianity, since the calculations are based on the Julian calendar and Gregorian calendar respectively.

Like last Christmas, Muslims in Abadan joined on Easter Sunday the single Christian family in the city at Surp Karapet Church.

The majority of Iranian Christians are ethnic Armenians and Assyrians, who follow the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East respectively. Armenians celebrate the Nativity and baptism of Jesus on January 6, at the same time as the Epiphany. The Assyrians today celebrate Christmas on December 25.

Photos: St. Grigor Lusavoritch Church and St. Sarkis Cathedral in Tehran

Sources: Tasnim News, IRNA, Mehr News, Fars News, Payvand News, Wikipedia

U.S Wrestlers welcomed by chanting Iranian fans with gifts and flowers at the Freestyle World Cup 2017

The applause began as Team USA walked into the crowded stadium here at the Freestyle World Cup Wrestling championships in Kermanshah, Iran. The Iranians in the crowd whooped, cheered, and began chanting the name of Jordan Burroughs, the best known athlete here. […]

So it was again in Kermanshah, as Iranian fans welcomed Team USA — a powerhouse of the sport — with gifts and flowers. […]

“The welcome has been so gracious, it’s great being here,” said Burroughs, who has more Instagram followers from the Iranian capital Tehran than any other city in the world. “The reaction I get from fans here is more than what I get back in the States.” […]
— Source: Time

Unlike in politics, in wrestling there is a great deal of awe and respect between the US and Iran. “I have been wrestling overseas for three years now and every Iranian I have ever come in contact with has been extremely respectful, extremely polite,” US Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder said during a training session. “[While] there’s a little bit of turmoil politically, you definitely don’t see that within the sport. We respect each other as competitors and as people,” Snyder told CNN.

Wrestling is one of Iran’s favorite sports and many of team USA’s wrestlers are celebrities here. “In America we are misfits. In Iran we are heroes, so it is really cool to see,” Burroughs said. We’ve come to win before any political stance, but we think it’s an opportunity to show how cool and how great of a relationship we have on such an intricate level, “Burroughs said before Friday’s final. “[It’s about] seeing the people, being engaged with them and understanding their culture as much as we can before we make any big decisions about who they truly are.”
— Source: CNN

Winning the Freestyle Wrestling World Cup title for the sixth time in a row, Iran defeated USA in the 2017 final match, while Azerbaijan placed third with a victory over Turkey.

Later the US team wrote on their Instagram: “Thank you to the wonderful Iranian fans for cheering on our men throughout the World Cup & being gracious hosts!”

Detailed finals results: IRAN (IRI) 5 : 3 UNITED STATES (USA)
57 kg – Hassan Sabzali RAHIMI (IRI) df. Anthony Joseph RAMOS (USA), 6-0
61 kg – Masoud Mahmoud ESMAEILPOORJOUYBARI (IRI) df. Logan Jeffery STIEBER (USA), 6-2
65 kg – Meisam Abolfazl NASIRI (IRI) df. Frank Aniello MOLINARO (USA), 5-4
70 kg – Mostafa Mohabbali HOSSEINKHANI (IRI) df. James Malcolm GREEN (USA), 2-0
74 kg – Jordan Ernest BURROUGHS (USA) df. Peyman Morteza YARAHMADI (IRI), 3-2
86 kg – David Morris TAYLOR III (USA) df. Hassan Aliazam YAZDANICHARATI (IRI) by FALL, 10-4
97 kg – Kyle SNYDER (USA) df. Amir MOHAMMADI (IRI), 6-0
125 kg – Komeil GHASEMI (IRI) df. Nicholas Edward GWIAZDOWSKI (USA), 5-0

Other sources: teamusa.org, Instagram @alliseeisgold, Instagram @usawrestling, Instagram @unitedworldwrestling, unitedworldwrestling.org, Azad News Agency, BORNA, FARS 1, FARS 2, IRNA, ISNA, Tasnim News

Photo series: Winter in Iran – Snow sliding

Iranians enjoying winter in Alborz, Markazi, Hamedan and other provinces.

Sources: Mehr News Agency (MNA) 1, MNA 2, MNA 3, MNA 4, ISNA 1, ISNA 2

Photos: Christians and Muslims celebrate Christmas in Iran

The bell of Surp Karapet Church in Abadan, Khuzestan Province, rang before noon of Christmas Day on December 25, for the only Christian family of the city. Muslim citizens of Abadan joined the feast to wish this family a happy Christmas and to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with them.

Surp Karapet, the church of Abadan’s Gregorian Armenians, lies adjacent to Imam Musa Ibn Ja’far Mosque. It was constructed in the 1950s, repaired in 1996 and reopened in 1999, since 40% of the building was damaged during the eight-year war. It is registered as an Iranian national monument and used to serve as the largest hall of meetings for Abadan’s Armenians.

Iran is one of the safest places in the Middle East for Christians with many Iranians loving the flashy side of Christmas. Shoppers gathered over the past month in the Armenian districts of Somayeh and New Julfa — the biggest Christian areas in Tehran and Isfahan — to pick up fake trees and stock up on baubles, reindeer toys and plastic snowmen.

The majority of Iranian Christians are ethnic Armenians and Assyrians, who follow the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East respectively. Armenians celebrate the Nativity and baptism of Jesus on January 6, at the same time as the Epiphany. The Assyrians today celebrate Christmas on December 25.

Early traditions observed the birth of Jesus Christ on January 6 but by the end of the 3rd century, Christmas in Rome was moved to December 25, to override a pagan feast dedicated to the birth of the sun. Since 1923, the Armenian Apostolic Church has mainly used the Gregorian Calendar. The only exception is the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, where the old Julian calendar is used, putting Nativity celebrations on 19 January in the Gregorian calendar.

Photos: Christmas shopping in Tehran and Isfahan, Surp Karapet Church in Abadan (Khuzestan) and liturgies at Surp Mesrob Church in Arak (Markazi), Vank Cathedral in Isfahan, and St. Grigor Lusavoritch Church, St. Joseph Church, St. Sarkis Cathedral, St. Targmantchats Church and Surp Vardanantz Church in Tehran

Sources: France 24, armenianchurch-ed.net, Wikipedia | Christianity in the Middle East (Iran), Wikipedia | Christmas traditions (Assyrians), Wikipedia | Armenian Apostolic Church, Mehr News Agency (in Persian), Tehran (BORNA 1, BORNA 2, ISNAIRNA, ANA), Isfahan (IRNA), Surp Karapet Church, Abadan (Iran Front Page, Twitter @afptehran, instagram @sara_kaabii, instagram @majid.rahimi1), Surp Mesrob, Arak (ISNA), Vank Cathedral, Isfahan (IRNA, Tasnim News Agency), St. Grigor Lusavoritch, Tehran (BORNA), St. Joseph’s, Tehran (Twitter @ali_noorani_teh, Mail Online), St. Sarkis Cathedral, Tehran (Mehr News Agency, IRNA 1, ANA, IRNA 2), St. Targmantchats, Tehran (ANA), Surp Vardanantz, Tehran (BORNA)

Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in Iran (Photos)

Iranian Armenians rallied to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire, demanding the Turkish government to recognize the Armenian Genocide. In Tehran a memorial service was held at the St. Sarkis Cathedral.

Related article: The other Iran | Iranian Armenians rally in Tehran to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Sources: Mehr News Agency, Azad News Agency, Jam-e Jam Online, Tasnim News Agency, Young Journalists Club

Iran’s Alborz Province: Dizin Ski Resort hosts snowboard competition (Photos)

Iran hosted earlier this month a snowboard and freestyle ski competition event in Dizin Ski Resort, north of the capital Tehran. Eight female and twenty eight male athletes competed alongside, defying the unexpected, unfavorable weather conditions at the beginning of the tournament.

Dizin, established in 1969, is one of the larger Iranian ski resorts in the Alborz mountain range, 120km from Tehran by car. The ski season in Dizin lasts from December to May, because of the resort’s high altitude.

Related article: The other Iran | Dizin Ski Resort

Sources: IRNA, Mehr News Agency (MNA) 1, MNA 2, Tasnim News Agency, Fars News Agency, Young Journalists ClubISNA, PressTV

Photos: Sand sculptures in Kish Island, Iran

Kish is a duty-free, resort island in the Persian Gulf 19 kilometers from mainland Iran, in Hormozgan Province. It has a population of 26,000 residents and about 1 million visitors annually. The island is located on a narrow strip of tropical vegetation in the Northern Hemisphere and has a semi-equatorial climate. Along its coast are coral reefs and many other small islands.

Sources: kish.ir, Tasnim News Agency, Mehr News Agency, Wikipedia | Kish Island

Photos: Sizdah bedar ( Nature day ) in Iran

Sizdah Be-dar, literally “thirteenth in outdoors”, is an Iranian festival, and part of the Nowruz celebration rituals, held annually on the thirteenth day of the first month of the Iranian calendar (Farvardin). It is celebrated by leaving the house to spend the day outdoors, picnicking and enjoying nature. Thus this festival is also known as “Nature Day”.

A ritual performed at the end of the picnic is to throw away the sabzeh (greenery on the haft-sin table) part of the traditional table setting for Nowruz in Iran. Doruq-e Sizdah, the Iranian version of the prank-playing April Fools’ Day is also celebrated on this day.

Sizdah Bedar is customary to Iraq, Armenia, Azerbaijan and some parts of Central Asia. In cities with large populations of Iranians, like Los Angeles, it is common to see families celebrating Sizdah Bedar across the city.

Related article: The other Iran | Sizdah Bedar 2015

Photos: Sizdah Bedar 2016 in Iran – Picnicking outdoors on a sunny, rainy and even a snowy day!

Sources: Wikipedia | Sizdah Be-dar, kish.ir 1, kish.ir 2, IRNA 1, IRNA 2, IRNA 3, IRNA 4ISNA 1, ISNA 2, ISNA 3, ISNA 4, ISNA 5ISCA News, Mehr News Agency (MNA) 1, MNA 2, MNA 3, MNA 4, MNA 5, Fars News Agency, Tehran Picture Agency (TPA) 1, TPA 2, TPA 3, TPA 4, TPA 5, TPA 6, Borna News 1, Borna News 2, Borna News 3, Borna News 4, Borna News 5, Borna News 6, Tasnim News Agency (TNA) 1, TNA 2, TNA 3, TNA 4JameJam Online, Young Journalists Club (YJC) 1, YJC 2, Azad News Agency (ANA) 1, ANA 2

Photos: Earth Hour 2016 across Iran

Tehran and other major cities like Rasht, Shiraz, Kerman, Ahvaz, Urmia, and Isfahan celebrated Earth Hour 2016. Iran has taken part of this universal movement, switching of the lights of important elements all over the country since 2011.

Earth Hour is a worldwide movement for the planet organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The event is held annually encouraging individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. towards the end of March, as a symbol for their commitment to the planet. It was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide.

Related article: Photos: Earth Hour 2014 in Iran

Sources: earthhour.orgWikipedia | Earth Hour, IRNA 1, IRNA 2, IRNA 3earth-hour.ir, pgnews.ir, kojaro.com

Chaharshanbe Suri – Ancient Iranian Fire Festival (Photos)

Chaharshanbe Suri is an ancient ceremony dating back to at least 1700 BCE. Iran’s largest dictionary, Dehkhoda, describes it as: “A festival arranged on the last Tuesday evening of the old year, where you light fires and jump over them, to achieve happiness and good health in the New Year.”

The celebration usually starts in the evening and people leap over the flames, singing “zardi-ye man az toh, sorkhi-ye toh az man”, literal translated as “my yellow is yours, your red is mine”, asking the fire to take their pallor, sickness, and problems and in turn give them redness, warmth, and energy.

Traditionally, it is believed that the living were visited by the spirits of their ancestors on the last day of the year. Many people specially children, wrap themselves in shrouds symbolically reenacting the visits. By the light of the bonfire, they run through the streets banging on pots and pans with spoons (“Gashog-Zani”) to beat out the last unlucky Wednesday of the year, while they knock on doors to ask for treats. Sometimes the treat is a mixture of seven dried nuts and fruits (pistachios, roasted chic peas, almond, hazelnuts, figs, apricots, and raisins) and is called “Ajeel-e Chahar Shanbeh Suri”. The practices are very similar to Halloween, which is a Celtic version of similar festivals celebrated throughout the area in ancient times.

Photos: Chaharshanbe Suri in Iran, 2016

Families customarily enjoy snacks during the evening and a supper at night after the end of the festivities. In Ker­man and Shiraz the main dish is usually polow with pasta soup (“ash reshte“); the longer the pasta strands, the better the chances for a long life for each member of the family.

The ancient Iranians celebrated the last 10 days of the year in their annual feast of all souls, Hamaspathmaedaya (Farvardigan). They believed Foruhars (faravahar), the guardian angels for humans and also the spirits of dead would come back for reunion. These spirits were entertained as honored guests in their old homes, and were bidden a formal ritual farewell at the dawn of the New Year. The ten-day festival also coincided with festivals celebrating the creation of fire and humans. Flames were burnt all night to ensure the returning spirits were protected from the forces of Ahriman. This was called Suri festival. Zoroastrians today still follow this tradition.

The celebration was not held on this night before Islam and might be a combination of different rituals to make them last. Wednesday is likely to have been prompted by an Arab superstition where it represents a bad omen day with unpleasant consequences. This is contrary to Zoroastrian cosmology where all days were sacred and named after a major deity. By celebrating in this manner Iranians were able to preserve the ancient tradition. The festival is celebrated on Tuesday night to make sure all bad spirits are chased away and Wednesday will pass uneventfully.

Today, there is no religious significance attached to it any more and is a purely secular festival for all Iranians (Persians, Azerbaijani people, Armenians, Kurdish people, Assyrians, Bahá’í, Jews, Christian and Zoroastrians). The night will end with more fire works and feasts where family and friends meet and enjoy music and dance.

Chaharshanbe Suri in Tehran, Iran – 2016

Fire Festival in Sweden
In Gothenburg, Stockholm and Malmö, Sweden they celebrate Eldfesten, a Swedish version of the Persian Chaharshanbe Soori. This year, 2016, is the 25th anniversary of the festival in the city of Gothenburg, where it has become one of the most popular public cultural celebrations in the city. Thousands of people, including non-Iranians, attend each year to celebrate the arrival of spring with crackling fires, music, fireworks and fragrant Persian dishes.

Photos: Eldfesten 2016 in Sweden

Sources: Iran Chamber Society, Enciclopædia Iranica, Wikipedia | Chaharshanbe Suri, IRNA 1, IRNA 2, IRNA 3, IRNA 4, IRNA 5, ISNA 1, ISNA 2, Mehr News AgencyFacebook | Eldfesten 2016, Göteborgs-Posten, goteborg.com, Huffington Post Canada

“Fridges of kindness” across Iran

Thousands of volunteers all over Iran are helping to eliminate homelessness through a group called Payane Kartonkhabi, ending homelessness, or more literally, ‘ending sleeping in cardboard boxes’. The group not only distributes food among the homeless but also installs fridges on the street so that the neighbours can leave homemade meals for those in need. Payane Kartonkhabi is active in more than 20 cities including Tabriz, Isfahan, Kermanshah, Arak, and Shiraz, thanks to Instagram, Facebook and mostly Telegram.

In Tehran, some shops have reportedly put out refrigerators and invited people to leave food they do not want for homeless people to take. At least one bakery has put out a box of bread for those who cannot afford it. “Bread is free for those who can’t pay,” reads a sign on the box.

A combination of the “wall of kindness” with this initiative has lead to build cottage-like frames with not only a fridge in it but also a closet where people can put their spare clothes. Some even have bookshelves for books donations and others have cabinets where kids can leave their extra toys for others.

About Payane Kartonkhabi
Ali Heidari, an advertising manager in Tehran, told The Guardian about the tragedy he saw when he delivered meals to the homeless living in Harandi, a neighborhood in south Tehran, with his wife and son in May 2015. After going to friends and relatives, he used social media to ask for help.

On a Wednesday in July, the first group of volunteers went to south Tehran and distributed food. This is now regular. Every Wednesday, at 10pm, volunteers take thousands of food portions to Shoush neighbourhood. “Our record is 5,000 meals in one night,” says Heidari.
The installing of fridges began in October. The idea is simple: those who can afford it will put food in the fridge, and anyone who’s hungry, be it a homeless person or a neighbour, can open the fridge and take something to eat. In addition to that, the group also helps fight addiction among the homeless, taking an approach different from the official organisations. Payane Kartonkhoabi’s goal is to put an end to homelessness in Iran. It holds training workshops for those who are drug-free and tries to find jobs for them.

Sources: The Guardian 1The Guardian 2Borgen Project, Mehr News Agency (MNA) 1, MNA 2, Instagram @payane_kartonkhabi, Tasnim News

Photo series: Winter in Iran – Enjoying the snow in Sepidan, Fars Province

Sepidan, which means “The Whiteland” in Persian, is a County located in the Zagros Mountains, in Iran’s Fars Province.

The beauty of the region – Sheshpir Lake, vineyards, forests and rivers – coupled with the mild climate in the summer makes Sepidan a popular destination for ecotourism. Roanj and Barmefirooz, 3.720 and 3.706 meters above sea level, are the highest peaks of the county and are covered with snow throughout the year. Margoon Waterfall, Beheshte Gomshodeh (Lost Paradise) and Pooladkaf, one of the best ski resorts in south Iran are at the foothills of these peaks.

Though Sepidan is visited mostly for its nature and landscapes, it can be a destination for historical and archeological tourists. Anshan, which is considered the Cradle of the Achaemenid Empire and Golbahar Tower, built by the Safavids are located also in this county.

Sources: Borna News, ISNA 1, Wikipedia | Sepidan (in French), Wiki Voyage | Sepidan

“Walls of kindness” across Iran (Photos)

Walls typically create divisions. But not always. With the addition of a few hooks and a splash of paint, walls across Iran are being reinvented as part of an outdoor charity initiative in which strangers leave goods they no longer want for those who need them.

The message above a row of hooks reads “Wall of Kindness”. It is a place where passersby are invited to “leave what you do not need” or “take it if you need”. Similar messages have turned up throughout the country as Iranians take matters into their own hands to help homeless people.

In Mashhad, where someone installed a few hooks and hangers on a wall, next to the words: “If you don’t need it, leave it. If you need it, take it.” Donations of coats, trousers and other warm clothing started to appear. The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, set up his charity wall on his own property in October, he told Hamshahri: “I saw a picture from Gilan [Province] where a place was designated for people to leave their extra clothes for whoever needed them. I also heard that in Tehran they’ve installed a fridge where people leave food [for the needy].”

It is not clear who started the trend, but in a country where use of social media networks is widespread, it has swiftly caught on. In Tehran, some shops have reportedly put out refrigerators and invited people to leave food they do not want for homeless people to take. At least one bakery has put out a box of bread for those who cannot afford it. “Bread is free for those who can’t pay,” reads a sign on the box.

Civil society in Iran is strong, and a number of non-governmental charities have had a significant impact recently, including the Mahak society, a Tehran-based organisation founded by the philanthropist Saeedeh Ghods that supports children with cancer.

Some charitable organisations have been hampered by sanctions imposed on Iran. One unintended consequence was that imports of life-saving medicine were made difficult as international banks refused to handle any money associated with the country. With sanctions relief, there are rising hopes that such charities will once again be able to work as normal.

Sources: The Guardian, BBC News, Payvand News of Iran, ABC, CNN, Mehr News Agency (MNA) 1, MNA 2, MNA 3, MNA 4, MNA 5, MNA 6, MNA 7, MNA 8, MNA 9, Tasnim News Agency (TNA) 1, TNA 2, TNA 3, ISNA 1, ISNA 2

Photo series: Winter in Iran – Dizin Ski resort

Dizin is one of the larger Iranian ski resorts in the Alborz mountain range, near Tehran (43 miles north of the capital city) and also near the city of Karaj. It was established in 1969.

The ski season in Dizin lasts longer than in European ski resorts, from December to May, because of the resort’s high altitude. The highest ski lift reaches 3,600 m (11,800 ft), making it one of the 40 highest ski resorts in the world.