Every day, hardliners in Iran and the United States try to paint a picture of an Iran wholly opposed to Western modernity. But behind the political posturing are the actual people who live and work in Iran, and they don’t look as different as these leaders might like us to imagine. Just as there is no single understanding of what an American looks like, there is no essential Iranian, either. Like many countries, oppression and violence are a reality of everyday life, but overall Iran is a country striving to find a middle ground between staunch traditionalism and modern sensibilities, most notably in the area of Tehran, Iran’s cultural and industrial capital.
This photo gallery highlights the Iran most of us don’t normally get to see, and reminds us that an entire country should not be judged by its government, extremists or political landscape.
Though Islamic officials have set out to ban dogs as pets (saying that they are unclean and owning them is an imitation of Western practices) people will be people, and we tend to value the loyalty and friendship of canines. Here a woman bearing food donations for a non-government charity animal shelter plays with a homeless dog.
Source: New York Daily News
Snow is not what we usually think of in Iran; here are some skiers ready for some slope action. Even though men and women have been made to ski separately in the past, now it often is a co-ed activity (though such behavior is not formally authorized). Source: NPR Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Sattar's business has fallen on some tough luck, like when a swindling business partner left him broke. But he had a friend to help him get through it. “There was a time I had completely lost faith in Tehran and its people," says the 61-year-old Azeri native. "But just when I thought I've had enough, along came a friend, who was -and still is- so amazing and so good, that I found myself falling in love with the city all over again.”
Humans of Tehran
These young women only have smiles for the camera.
Source: The Roosevelts
An All That’s Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she’s designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.