Wednesday, 15 January, 2020

A View Inside Iran

Iran has appeared in numerous headlines around the world in recent months, usually attached to stories about military exercises and other saber-rattlings, economic sanctions, a suspected nuclear program, and varied political struggles. Iran is a country of more than 75 million people with a diverse history stretching back many thousands of years. While over 90 percent of Iranians belong to the Shia branch of Islam — the official state religion — Iran is also home to nearly 300,000 Christians, and the largest community of Jews in the Middle East outside Israel. At a time when military and political images seem to dominate the news about Iran, I thought it would be interesting to take a recent look inside the country, to see its people through the lenses of agency photographers.

A trader stands in Tabriz historic market, 633 km (393 miles) northwest of Tehran. The Tabriz market was located along the Silk Road trade route and comprised of interlinked structures and spaces for various commercial, religious and educational uses. This market was registered as a UNESCO heritage site on July 31, according to UNESCO’s website. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl)

Iranian Christians pray during New Year Mass at the Vank church in the central city of Isfahan, Iran. According to both Iranian and Western sources, approximately 300,000 Christians live in Iran, the majority of them belonging to the Armenian Apostolic Church of Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Iranian archer Shiva Mafakheri aims at a target during horseback archery competitions, in Tehran (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

The Chogha Zanbil Ziggurat near Susa, in Khuzestan province, southwestern Iran. The ziggurat was built around 1250 BC by the king Untash-Napirisha, and in 1979 it became the first Iranian site to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. (Reuters/Raheb Homavandi)

Noora (right) and Shahrzad Naraghi practice on a motocross track in the mountains overlooking Tehran. Shahrzad Naraghi started riding motocross eight years ago to spend more time with her daughter Noora who became interested in the sport after watching her father compete in races, and began riding motorcycles at the age of four. The pair raced against each other at first and in women’s only motocross races in Iran in 2009. In 2010, Noora travelled to the United States, completed training courses and raced in competitions sponsored by the American Motorcyclist Association. Women are banned from driving motorcycles on the streets of Iran. (Reuters/Caren Firouz)

Iranian grooms, Javad Jafari, left, and his brother, Mehdi, right, pose for photographs with their brides, Maryam Sadeghi, second left, and Zahra Abolghasemi, who wear their formal wedding dresses prior to their wedding in Ghalehsar village, about 220 mi (360 km) northeast of the capital Tehran, Iran
(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Sevan Shahmirian, a member of the underground music band “Wednesday Call” prepares for a practice session at a home music studio in Tehran. Many Iranian bands do not bother asking for the mandatory government permits to release their music and seek contracts with foreign companies or put their music on websites blocked by the state but still accessible to anyone with a modicum of technical skill. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl)

A weaver works on a carpet at a carpet workshop in Isfahan, Iran. Persian carpets can be mostly divided into three size groups: large (3×4 meters), medium (2×3 meters) and small (1×1.5 meters), which is called Ghaliche. For a larger 24-square-meter silk carpet, every 70 cm (27.5 inches) section takes about a month to make. The price of each carpet is set by officials from Iran’s national carpet company after examining each completed work. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl)

Nature lovers prepare before a trash disposal campaign in the Miankaleh area, 250 km (155 mi) northeast of Tehran. The Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation (PWHF), an NGO organization, arranged a symbolic trash disposal campaign with 200 environmentally friendly people, along the Caspian Sea. They collected more than 3 tons of trash. (Reuters/Raheb Homavandi)

An Iranian Sunni Kurd shepherd carries a lamb as he walks on a road next to a grassland in Divandare in Kurdistan province, 540 km (338 miles) west of Tehran. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl)

Iranian Ghashghai men play a traditional game called Dorna Bazi during a nomadic pastoralist festival in northern Tehran. The Ghashghai are Iran’s largest nomadic pastoralist group who live in Fars, Khuzestan and southern Isfahan province. Each year they travel with their flocks from Shiraz in the hot season to the winter pastures near the Persian Gulf. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl)

A woman poses for a picture in front of the beached Greek ship Moula F, during sunset off Kish Island, 1,250 km (777 miles) south of Tehran. The ship ran aground on the southwest side of the island en route to Greece and was abandoned after salvage efforts proved unfeasible. (Reuters/Caren Firouz)

Iranian female kart racer, Solmaz Hamzehzadeh, foreground, competes during an Iranian Karting championship race, at the Azadi sport complex, in Tehran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Iranian rollerbladers wait to hear whistle of referee, to start their competition, in a women’s rollerblading championship league, at the Azadi (Freedom) sport complex, in Tehran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

A view of Palangan village in Kurdistan province, about 660 km (412 miles) southwest of Tehran. Iranian Shi’ite and Sunni Kurds live in harmony with each other in Palangan, although Sunni is the religion of the majority of the people. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl)

Iranian Jewish men pray during Hanukkah celebrations at the Yousefabad Synagogue, in Tehran, Iran. Iran’s population of 75 million includes about 20,000 Jews, the largest community in the Middle East outside Israel, and they face no restriction on their religious practice, though they must follow Islamic dress codes such as head scarves for women. They have one Jewish representative in the parliament under the constitution. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Iranian women pray at the historical Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan on the first day of Eid al-Fitr in the predominantly Shiite Muslim Iran, marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. (Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images

Iranian Shiite Muslims beat their shoulders with iron chains, during an Ashura holy day ritual, mourning the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet Muhammad, in downtown Tehran (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Iranian villagers work in a rice field during the annual harvest season on the outskirts of the city of Amol, in Mazandran province, on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea. Rice is the main staple in Iranian cuisine. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

woman walks past corn as she arrives at a holy shrine to attend a mass prayer ceremony before breaking her fast during the month of Ramadan in northern Tehran. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl)

An evening view shows Tehran. (AP Photo)

Iranians Morteza Alavi and Mehdi Hagh Badri fly with a tandem paraglider over northwestern Tehran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Iranians enjoy their holidays, at the seaside, as kites fly, in Babolsar at the southern coast of the Caspian Sea, 150 mi (250 km) northeast of the capital Tehran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)


The eclipse of the moon is seen behind the Milad tower in Tehran
(Reuters/Raheb Homavandi)

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