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What are your thoughts and questions on Iran?

Disclaimer : I am not a historian, humanitarian, politician, any group's representative, or good at English. Just an individual that lives here.

If you are Iranian, or curious about life in Iran, feel free to join the conversation.

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    Jun 2 2011: If you have time or interest, would you take a look at this youtube video that considers Iran and its role in the middle east? I find Noam Chomsky to be a man who seems to want to find the truth and justice. I would be very very interested in your feedback.

    If the conversation closes and If you do get a chance to see it and if it is interesting to you, please feel free to email me through TED.
    • Jun 2 2011: I can't see the video, It's banned in here. I trust Naom Chamsky to be always on the right side, Is it something about Iran?
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        Jun 2 2011: I'm sorry, I should have considered that problem. He was negating some of the statements by Netanyahu and Hillary Clinton about Iran in light of Wikileaks cable revelations. He quoted stong poll results from Arab nations that said just the opposite of what those leaders were saying.
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        Jun 2 2011: If I were to post it on my blog and then gave you my blog address would you be able to see it? Is there a way around the limitations you face?
        • Jun 2 2011: I found the video on, Still couldn't see the video, But I think the description is informative enough:
          Noam Chomsky: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal “Profound Hatred for Democracy on the Part of Our Political Leadership” In a national broadcast exclusive interview, we speak with world-renowned political dissident and linguist Noam Chomsky about the release of more than 250000 secret US State Department cables by WikiLeaks. In 1971, Chomsky helped government whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg release the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret internal US account of the Vietnam War. Commenting on the revelations that several Arab leaders are urging the United States to attack Iran, Chomsky says, “latest polls show] Arab opinion holds that the major threat in the region is Israel, that’s 80 percent; the second threat is the United States, that’s 77 percent. Iran is listed as a threat by 10 percent,” Chomsky says. “This may not be reported in the newspapers, but it’s certainly familiar to the Israeli and US governments and the ambassadors. What this reveals is the profound hatred for democracy on the part of our political leadership.”
        • Jun 2 2011: No need to, I read the script which Tim posted.

          I don't quite get it. There is a poll, And Arab's express they feel safe with Iran. So, profound hatred for "democracy "? what does he mean by that? he means Arabs should be the ones that get to decide for us? If Arabs have said Iran *is *a thread 100% what might have we done? Would then it be democratical?
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        Jun 2 2011: It is confusing as you read it. The profound hate for democracy is actually on the side of the Americans and Israels who manipulate the news, the diplomatic cables and the facts for the public.It was reported that Arab states believed that Iran was the greatest danger when the poll actually cited Israel, the USA and then Iran to a much lesser degree. Only the last part of the poll was reported for the American and Israeli purposes.
        • Jun 2 2011: It's a poll of who is more hated by Arabs. I can't bring myself to be shocked that US and Israel had manipulated the poll. I thought it is obvious that all governments do that.

          My point was where is the democracy of "US" asking "Arabs" about what should "Iran" do?It would had made more sense if it was a poll of who is more hated by "their own nation"?
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        Jun 2 2011: I am just awakening from a stupor that lasted most of my life. I was busy raising kids, being married, getting an education, being a good employee and I bought the picture of the world being a pretty good place with craziness happening 'somewhere - over there'. You will laugh at my naivity in believing that large scale lying could not be effective and that governments while not competent would not actually lie to their citizens. When it crossed my mind I really thought it was conspiracy theories that I did not have time for.

        Now that my kids are grown and now that I have lifted my head to 'smell the coffee' as the saying goes- I am royally pissed off at what they've done to my world- and the world my kids will inherit.

        Now that they have helped to sharpen my brain with a first class education- I plan to sing loud and proud about what I am learning and talk to as many regular people around the world as possible and NEVER SHUT UP!

        So you are way ahead of me my sister and I have much to learn from you but I am very willing to learn!
        • Jun 2 2011: The more people who care, the better the world would become.
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      Jun 2 2011: How about this link:


      it's a transcript of a recent Chomsky talk which may cover some of the same material.
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      Jun 2 2011: Actually, here's a link with the transcript of (I think) the original video Debra refered to:

      • Jun 2 2011: Thanks a lot Tim, this one helped.
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    • Jun 2 2011: Thanks, that was very thoughtful of you.

      Yes to your question, That's why I didn't give off any personal details. I haven't heard of anyone getting arrested by being monitored as you call it, There are thousands of anonymous people on the internet, They can't just break into all our houses and arrest all of us. And why should they pick me of all people for monitoring ?

      I don't see the Arab Spring having much of a direct impact on us either, People around me? are getting depressed, and frustrated more and more, All they ever do is cursing the authorities. We have no logic left to make decisions with. Did you hear about Hale Sahabi and his dad? That was the last straw. Maybe we are all too emotional to any outsider's eyes, But there is only much one can take.

      The big power group is breaking up into smaller power groups, That's for sure. I could say I wish they all turn against each other and fight till at least one outruns the other, But I know that's not going to happen, So I don't even wish.

      I predict a demonstration some time soon, But I can't say how it would turn out. (One might question what we ever gain out of demonstrations?)

      You mean that Al Jazeera reporter? That wasn't unexpected for me, Al Jazeera is pro-Palestine. Like they would pass an opportunity to make a good impression on Al Jazeera network and it's viewrs.

      Sorry, The short time was unintentional. And I wish you a joyful life too.
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    Jun 2 2011: Sha B, I would love to know what the most beautiful thing about your country is?. What makes you feel at home? What can you eat in Iran that you have never had any where else? and anything else you could tell us about what make life satisfying in Iran.
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    Jun 2 2011: Thanks for all these great links..I expecet to be a bit more learned than I am now when I finish.
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    Jun 2 2011: Being curious about Iran my thoughts about current IRAN is as below

    Lack of fresh air, choking environment, humanity breathless every moment .

    My question

    According to you ,am I wrong or right with my above expression ? What so ever you can say but would be happy to hear the reasons behind.
    • Jun 2 2011: Hi:))That isn't Iran, It's Tehran. And very true too, You have been to Tehran in Summer inside a subway car?

      Tehran is a very crowded city, With a population of over 15 million. I can't come up for with a reason for the lack of fresh air, You even sugar coated it . It's worse that that.The authorities don't care and to be honest neither do most people. Obviously as long as people don't do anything about it, it won't get any better.
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        Jun 2 2011: My friend thats symbolic "Fresh Air" i wanted to mean. I didn't mean what ppm Carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide in the air of any mega city like Tehran in world from environmentalists statistics of air component.
        Sorry I couldn't communicate right.
        I wanted to mean freedom of speech , freedom of expression of individual human being regardles of gender, race or religion.
        • Jun 2 2011: My bad

          No Iran is no utopia of freedom of speech.
          And why? That's a hard one. Because we are afraid.
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        Jun 2 2011: Thanks Sha for your expression
        So can I take as my expression to be right as expressed in my first post here ?
        • Jun 2 2011: It's shab(=night).

          Yes, it was very true.
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        Jun 2 2011: Thanks for your courage Sha. Hearing the voice of my dreamy Persia of Khayyam again through your voice here.
        Wishing all the best for you though I am undone to do anything for you in your time of need except just wishing best.
        • Jun 2 2011: It's certainly heartwarming to know that.
  • Jun 2 2011: Sha b, In a couple of instances you refer to "kind of family you are born into". What does this mean? Does it refer to the beliefs of individual families or is it a part of a class structure - wealthy family, educated family etc? Thanks.
    • Jun 2 2011: One can't classify them that easily, They could be wealthy and religious, or poor and educated or traditional and educated and poor. Or any combination of those.

      I meant as an Iranian woman there is a chance that you are born into a kind of family that decides for you to stop your education and marry someone they choose, I am not going to label them a traditional or religious family. Because there are many religious families that wouldn't do that. And also being wealthy or poor doesn't make a difference.

      I'll try to clarify more :nobody I know have had two wives, But there are people that live like that. I can't say in Iran women live with a possibility that their husbands might remarry, Because for me or and anyone I personally know that possibility doesn't exist, But I know there are Iranian women who live with that fear. We live in an small town and she may live in Iran's most modern city Tehran. So I don't really know how should I classifying them accurately, That's why I call them different kinds. One just can't tell from the labels.
      • Jun 2 2011: Very well explained - I understand much better now. Also, thank you so much for being so open and willing to take these questions. It is very much appreciated.
        • Jun 2 2011: Your welcome.
          This was a good experience for me too, I used to think of non-Iranians as prejudiced toward us. I am glad that I turn out to be wrong.
      • Jun 2 2011: Sha b, there is no prejudice, but perhaps concern. I grieve for the infringements on your rights and freedom. I wish you the very best and thanks again for the opportunity to chat with you.
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    Jun 2 2011: sha b: Thanks so much for answering all of these questions. It's sad to see your conversation is only going to last a short time.

    What do you think is required to improve the relations between Iran and the west?
    • Jun 2 2011: Your welcome,

      My new friends here asked me to start a conversation about Iran and since this was my first time I just choose 1 day out of blue. Now it seems I can't change that. Me and other Iranians here would be around somewhere anyway.

      Between Iran's government and governments of the west? I have no hope of that
      Between people of Iran and people of the West : By communicating more.
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    Jun 2 2011: Sha b thanks for your openness.
    here are something i would like to ask
    1 whats like to be a non-Muslism in Iran?
    2 how woman in Iran think of their own conditions?can woman choose their own way of living?what are the things that you think most of the woman want to change in terms of their rights?
    • Jun 2 2011: 1 -There is not much difference between being a non-Muslim man or woman. Other than being forced to wear hijab.

      2- We don't all think alike, But I can only say we all deserve more than this. / It depends on the kind of family she has and what she wants to go after. / Family laws.
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        Jun 2 2011: Sha b so you mean some dont like wearing hijab but are forced to ?
        whats family laws about ?
        • Jun 2 2011: I thought it was universally known, We have a morality police force for controlling that, Never mind not wearing hijab , We get arrested for wearing bad hijab(see this:

          The standards change during time, Like wearing boots during winter and sandals during summer.

          Family laws that comes to my mind :Children's custody, the women's right to get a divorce, men can marry again without their first wife's consent, girls inherit 1/3 each and boys 2/3. Wives need the husbands consent to work, study or leave the country. Fathers have the right to marry of their under aged daughters.
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    Jun 2 2011: What does Iranian Muslims( a majority of them are Shias, right?) feel about Sunni Muslims?
    • Jun 2 2011: Yes the majority is Shia. They think they are wrong. Most Shias I know don't know much about Sunnies and their ways. (It is required to read religion since first grade in school till getting a PHD in every major there is in university , But no mention of any other religion in our books, Expect to point out how wrong that other religion is. Minorities have their own special books)

      Shias and Sunnis in Sistan Baloochistan providence just plain hate each other, And they are constantly showing this to each other, Also consider that their authorities are all Shias. Another province with Sunni majority is Kurdistan, which is another story, in Kurdistan , The crisis is not between Shia and Sunni people, It's between Sunni people and Shia authorities.
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        Jun 2 2011: Middle east and Iran scares me.How is life there for you?
        • Jun 2 2011: I can't imagine living anywhere else, Sure if you are ambitious, you probably shouldn't choose Iran for living, I can't be as successful(career wise) as my classmates who left Iran to have a better life. And I do have problems with authorities, laws, ect. (Nothing scary thought).

          There are plenty of awesome people here and we are all in this(whatever it is) together.
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        Jun 2 2011: sha b, how do you tolerate with the injustice done to the non-muslims in Iran?
        • Jun 2 2011: Dear Muhammad,
          can you say some examples?
          do you know Iran is one of the Regions with significant populations (3th after Israel and US)
          they are living in Iran in peace.

          what you mean clearly?
        • Jun 2 2011: I am used to it, Some times I have to go to extra measures to act how they want me to.

          Like in high school there was praying time in which all students had to go to praying room, and pray . Even students that never learned how to pray would go and pretend that they are praying, I used to scape by staying in classrooms among girls that couldn't pray because they had their period. One day the dean confronted me about being there all the time. And from that day on I had to join to those who pretend.

          But most of the time nobody knows what your believes are So as long as don't give yourself off, it's ok. They sometimes ask you if you pray in job interviews for companies that are controlled by Sepah, (which the most important ones are)And I say yes.

          A somehow related fact : in 1988 thousands of political prisoners were hanged-their crime was being apostates of Islam.

          Edit:I can't speak on behalf of religious minorities, You should ask themselves. Especially Bahais.
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          Jun 2 2011: Am I right to worry about your safety because of being so courageous and open with us? Is my fear unfounded?
        • Jun 2 2011: @Debra Smith: If you didn't hear from me in next days I might be overrunning this treat with my interrogator.

          Just kidding. Thanks for your concern but It's not that scary. There are plenty of Iranian and non-Iranian forums full of anonymous people, actually I am very moderate compared to them. We can't all be jailed. Can we?
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        Jun 2 2011: Well, lets quote back what sha b told us,

        "There is not much difference between being a non-Muslim man or woman. Other than being forced to wear hijab. "-sha b

        A non-muslim being forced to follow Islamic rules? explain
    • Jun 2 2011: near or more than 90% of people in Iran are shia Muslim. and 5-10% are sunny and few other are Jew, christian,..
      the shias always consider sunny as brothers and respect them.
      the shia/sunny originally is about understanding and extraction of detail specific every day and new happening sharia (religion) laws from Koran and Sunna (behaviors of prophet) and hadith (sayings of prophet and Imams)(from peripherals). and based on understandings of sharia laws Muslims are in different branches ( prophet said after me my people will become 72 branch) that mainly are to branch of shia and sunny.
      but the problem is this differences always has been used for making conflict between them. the people of two group respect each other.
      the sunny countries are not the same in the level of conflict with shia. for example Egypt is sunny but moderate sunny and they all know and respect and follow Ah al-Bayt and government and religious leaders have no strict problem that people follow of even convert to shia. but the shia should not be officially advertised in Egypt while in real life shia and sunny are near to each other and recognize and use each other scientific resources.
      but in some sunny countries specially saudi arabia the situation for any branch of non-sunny is very sever. in saudi arabia the power is by saudi family and the Wahhabi branch are very powerfull there. the wahabi beliefs says that killing shais is free and has reward by God. shia people are minority in saudi arabia and have very very hard situation in there. if a shia leader advertise there immediately will go to prison. or even any other Islamic branch.
      mostly the level of problems with shia in sunny countries depend on the goverment of each country and not all are the same. people of most sunny countries like egypt like Iranians and shia's and few like saudi arabia (Wahhabi branch of sunny) have very sever problem with Iran even wish to kill all shia.
      saudi family has power has very strong tie with U.S.
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        Jun 2 2011: S.R. Ahmadi: Would you be more in favor of a government that allowed people to chose to believe as they wish, or do you favor a government which requires a single religious belief?
        • Jun 2 2011: I favor a government which requires TRUE ISLAM.
          not AMERICAN ISLAM or Islam of US friends.
          by US I not people US peoples. I mean the lobbies controlling US at background.
          in that case people will be happy and satisfied with government.
          this not mean Iran has true Islam completely. Iran has many problems.

          near 15% of all Muslims are shia and near 10% of Iran are sunny.
          Kurdistan is a large area that is in 3 country: Iraq, Iran, Turkey.
          Imperialism is a law for pleading:
          "make dispersion and get the power"

          shia/sunny is religious rather than political and muslims themselves had not much problem by shia/sunny and were and now mostly not have. but Imperialism use this for making dispersion.
          for example in a shia country terrors a famous religious leader and advertises that the sunny muslims has killed him. and do the same in sunny countries and try to make dispersion in muslims.
          the shia/sunny conflict is not as big as you hear in media. and shia and sunny Muslims are friend inside themselves. for example one shia said one time he went to saudi arabia and the people invited him to their home for dinner. after dinner they started to reading poems about Ahl al-Bayt (highly respected and followed by shia). he sais i thought they are doing this for respecting me but then I said all people in that meeting were reading that poem from their memory together. such examples shows shia/sunny people themselves have no conflict and all is some peaceful conflict within the religious experts. but at political level and media story changes.

          shia/sunny history is full of such examples.
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        Jun 2 2011: well, one thing is for sure here : I will treat you as if you are my brother regardless of your beliefs.Have a nice day.
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          Jun 2 2011: And I'll do my best to treat you the same. Nice hearing from you Muhammad. Hope all is well with you.
    • Jun 2 2011: "What does Iranian Muslims( a majority of them are Shias, right?) feel about Sunni Muslims? "
      this is what shia leaders (also me) feel about sunny brothers:

      but this mean sunny Muslims have no problem in Iran. some ignorant people from both groups make conflicts.
      the most important is about Kurdistan sunny Muslims that is has some political aspects out of religion.
      Kurd people in Kurdistan of Iran and Kurdistan of turkey and Kurdistan of Iran some times say some things that we want to make an independent country and this make some problems.
      but from religious only view there is no problem between shia and most sunny branches. shia only has sever problem with some few cults like Wahhabi (in saudi arabia) and Bahai.
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    Jun 1 2011: My questions are:

    what is life for women like in Iran?

    Is Shirin Neshat a name you would have recognized before the talk and can you identify with her story?

    Thanks in advance. This is a fantastic opportunity for us!
    • Jun 2 2011: It differs greatly, more than any other place I think, based on the kind of family you are born into. Women here are more powerful than you might think, They do all kinds of jobs and blend in well into the workplace.
      But in the case of government and rules, Yes, There is all kinds of injustice toward women.

      I knew her as the director of her film. Yes.
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    • Jun 2 2011: I am not sure where that region is, must be somewhere around Saveh.
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    Jun 1 2011: Do you think most Iranians would prefer a secular state?
    • Jun 2 2011: No I don't think it's most of them. Many of them, yes, but not most of them. Keep in mind that a great deal of opposition's most active forces inside Iran are people that are worried about the true Islam .
    • Jun 2 2011: Iran people have some problems with government mostly economical problems and political like unemployment, inflation,..
      but Indeed they not want any secular state.
      the Love of Ah al-Bayt and Imam Husayn ibn Ali is in blood of Iranian. in any form of state people do have relation with them.