Jan03

Iran 2018

Iran, where does one start – the Facebook status proclamation said it best; “It’s complicated“.¬†And so is deciding where to start this blog post… Iran has a long and complicated history – a history that includes invasion, oppression, glory, opulence and revolution. And not necessarily in that order. If the first thing that comes to your mind is Axis of Evil or “Allahua Akbar” and ISIS, you are in for a big surprise! Edit – 1/4/2020 – I can no longer advise American’s to visit Iran. At least not while Trump is president. It would be irresponsible of me to state otherwise. Now with the killing of General Soleimani, all bets are off the table. If you still decide to travel to Iran you run the real risk of being used as a political pawn. You’ve been warned, for the time being! Why Iran? A fair question – particularly for Americans. Firstly, I’ve wanted to go to Iran for over 10 years for photography reasons. As you will see in the proceeding photographs, it is an absolutely beautiful country with world class attractions (23 UNESCO World Heritage sites!). Secondarily, Persians (As Iranians prefer to be referred to as), are legendary for their hospitality and accommodating nature, particularly for guests/tourists. This proved true everywhere we went…. People were extremely friendly – from people asking about Trump to just wanting to practice English, it was a real delight having people wanting to converse with us and getting to know their way of life. Lastly, western media or more specifically American media has portrayed Iran in a very negative light for over 40 years. Some of that was earned and some of it due to external influence. (More on that later). but if you do a little bit of independent research, you’ll see that Europeans, Australians, Chinese, Russian and more folks have been touring Iran for decades. It’s like we didn’t get the memo that it was worthy to travel to… while the rest of the world is enjoying all it has to offer. Wasn’t it scary? Not one bit. As i mentioned above, people from other countries have been going there for years. It’s a popular destination for seemingly everyone but Americans. No police, no military on the streets, apparently little to no crime (Even in Tehran, their biggest city)… so what gives? Why are Americans so afraid of this place? I think it can be summed up in two words: Islam and Terrorism. Foreigners are treated very kindly in Iran and even more-so when they hear you are from America. I already knew this from watching Rick Steve’s Iran episode on PBS. But wait, haven’t people been detained in Iran and sometimes even imprisoned? Yes – there have been cases of this. If your family history originally descends from Iran, even if you are an American citizens – sometimes the Iranian government likes to harass and/or detain folks of this background. There have been isolated cases of tourists without Iranian descent also being detained, but usually for reasons like taking photographs of embassies or military installations etc. If you are not of Iranian descent and don’t take pictures or write journalism of sensitive subjects, it seems you are pretty safe in Iran. Some Background I’ve written a long and detailed page about my views and why i care about Iran which you can view by clicking this link. The short version is that yes, Iran’s government is a bit… stubborn, blowhards, prideful and support terrorism in some form. And ultimately, the regime needs an enemy to justify their existence in order to claim to be protecting the people from foreign adversaries. I don’t want to get too political on this page as to detract from the photographs i took there, so that’s why i created this second page to discuss these subjects without cluttering my main message through photography. For...