Monday, 18 May, 2020

Tehran appears to be a Modern City, BBC’s Correspondent says

Despite years of tight economic sanctions against Iran, the capital Tehran appears like a modern city, BBC’s correspondent Kim Ghattas reported.

According to the Iranian media, Ghattas spent the last week in Iran. It’s the longest time a BBC  correspondent has been granted permission to report in Iran since 2009 and sent this report from the capital Tehran.

During her week in Iran, Journalist Ghattas spoke to the youth of Tehran to find out about daily life in a country that has just signed a landmark nuclear deal.

A radio piece by Ghattas on the BBC website presents a first-person account of driving into Tehran, a visit to a market and even a taste of a local ice flavor – saffron.

Saffron ice-cream and beautiful mounds of blackberries can be found in abundance throughout Tehran’s bustling Bazaar, reports Ghattas.


Tajrish Bazzar, northernTehran (Photo by Kim Ghattas) 

BBC’s correspondent also describes the Iranian women, “all veiled of course,” as “clearly trying to push the boundaries.”

She also comments on the fact that Tehran does not look “dilapidated,” despite years of tight economic sanctions.

Ghattas announced that 60% of Iranians are under 30 and many of those who spoke to her were eager to connect with the rest of the world.

The population of Iran, noted the BBC journalist, is overwhelmingly young and “very eager to connect with the world.”


Ghattas in Tehran

The BBC’s Washington-based State Department correspondent also interviewed one of the country’s vice-presidents, Masumeh Ebtekar.

Ebtekar, a reformist, said that Iran’s agreement to limit its nuclear activities in return for the end of sanctions represented a step forward. “It means a new era of working with the world in terms of different dimensions of trade, cultural exchanges,” she said. “It means that Iran is going to be a more prominent player in this part of the world.”


The BBCs Kim Ghattas (right) interviews Iranian Vice President Masumeh Ebtekar in Tehran in a clip published on the BBC website on August 18 2015. Ghattas is the first Western journalist invited to the country in years.

The BBC interview was the latest sign of a concerted effort by Tehran to ease access for international media and to improve the image of the Iran following the nuclear deal, the result of months of intensive negotiations with the US and five other world powers.

According to British paper The Guardian, the last BBC correspondent in Iran, Jon Leyne, was expelled from the country after the 2009 presidential election.

 The only previous BBC journalist to visit Iran since 2009 was Lyse Doucet, the station’s chief international correspondent. Doucet traveled to Tehran as part of the press entourage of the EU’s foreign policy chief after the nuclear agreement in Vienna.

According to the Fars news agency, 17 foreign media organisations have been granted press visas this month alone, including the Forward, France’s Arte channel, Science magazine, Le Monde and France Culture, as well as the BBC.

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