Series: Iran in Asia Games (Asiad) 2014 – Female Shot-Putter Leila Rajabi wins Silver Medal

The Iranian athlete won the silver medal with a throw of 17.80 meters at the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium.

“I am so happy because of winning the silver medal. My rival (Gong Lijiao) who won the gold medal is a world champion,” Rajabi said.

Intro Asia Games (Asiad):

Some 9,500 athletes from 45 countries are competing at the Games, the world’s second-biggest multi-sport event after the Olympics, with 439 gold medals in 36 sports up for grabs.

Iran has participated in the games with 276 athletes in 22 sports.

Farzaneh Sharafbafi – female professor of Aeronautical Engineering

Farzaneh Sharafbafi

When it comes to air transportation few people know that the first woman who got a Ph.D. in aerospace is the very person whose invention in college years made her Iran’s top student of mechanical engineering.

Today she is the director of Training and Human Resources Development at the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization, head of Iran Air Aviation Training Center, deputy managing director of Iran Air, and a legal expert who arbitrates disputes among airlines. She is also a professor at Amir Kabir University of Technology and Shahid Sattari University of Aeronautical Engineering.

Zan-e Rooz (Today’s Woman) weekly featured an interview with Farzaneh Sharafbafi about the path she has taken and her goals. What comes below is an excerpt of the interview:

How come you developed an interest in this field?

Basically, a child’s character forms at an early age, between 10 and 12, when s/he faces questions about their future job. When I was a child I would repair home appliances on the fritz. My family provided me with the opportunity to learn through trial and error. I could fix all devices […] and I was very much interested in technical issues. That I could repair the vacuum cleaner prompted my parents to call me “The Engineer” at home. I started with simple things.

My dad was a physics professor at Sharif University and this helped me see many lab tests objectively. I had some inventions like airbag shoes under which I had placed a pair of spring to help the wearer jump higher […]

I was always an active student in school and took extracurricular courses. When I was admitted to university, I wanted to change the world. […] I was admitted to Sharif University to study shipbuilding.

Right then mechanical engineering had two subdivisions: aerospace and shipbuilding. The latter was not all that popular among women because its job prospects were dim.

What was the focus of your undergraduate thesis?

I chose a scientific topic and went so far as building a plane wing. It turned out to be a good one. […] I built the parts needed for the plane wing all by myself; I tried to learn machining because I wanted to build it all by myself. It was not easy to make a part. Thanks to my thesis, I finished first in mechanical engineering in Iran. […]

It was when I was hired by Iran Air. […] There we were trying to make something to cushion the blow of landing when the plane touched down.

We found a plane, disassembled its wheels and collected the needed items from different places. […] Humans can develop a better sense of appreciation through touching something than just talking about it. I wanted to go ahead and build the item. We did it but we worked our fingers to the bone, so to speak. […].

Later I became a Ph.D. student in Sharif University. I never skipped class. I attended my first class two days after I gave birth to my second kid.

What did you work on for your Ph.D. thesis?

I studied aircraft structures for MS. I pursued my studies in fracture mechanicsat the PhD level. It deals with a part when it breaks as a result of aging. I picked that since I was working at Iran Air and I could see firsthand that the planes were aging. I wanted to solve this problem.

I wondered if I could find the cause of such breakage and prove it mathematically. It took me about three and a half years to complete it. […]

As for the air industry, I’m seeking to find self-healing parts for planes, something which can repair itself in case of malfunctioning. This may sound hard to believe, but it could be done if we think outside the box. We can copy the models God has placed in nature, for instance, human skin which has a self-healing ability. I floated the idea in a conference. I’m still following that. […]

When I proved the math equation, I was told that I couldn’t release it in Iran and I had to have an essay released through the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) before getting my Ph.D. I was also told I had to find a foreign professor to register the equation under his/her name. Earlier I had sent an essay to England where a gentleman released it in his own name! I didn’t want to repeat that experience.

I had bad feelings because nobody supported me and I was about to miss a deadline to complete my Ph.D. program. I couldn’t register the work under another person’s name either. Finally I found a place in England which accepted to assess the essay for £600. My husband paid for it and my essay was accepted.

I was asked to go there and personally prove the case. It was a tough situation. I had no visa and it wasn’t an easy job to get to England in a few days. Furthermore, the conference was to be held in Southampton, which was quite a distance from London. At last, I secured my visa after going through many hardships and my husband and I went there. […]

When I arrived at the conference hall having the Islamic covering on, all participants surprisingly asked me, “Have you come from Iran?” and I said yes. They didn’t expect to see me there. An Israeli man who was a full professor was in the front row. He would ask anyone presenting their article two very difficult questions.

I solved the math problem to the best of my knowledge and ended my speech on time. It earned me an almost one-minute standing ovation. When I was asked what my final words were, I turned to the Israeli man and told him that I was ready to answer his questions, if any. “No need for that since everything was perfect,” he said. I felt a sense of pride for the honor I had earned for my homeland.

Source – Iran Front Page:

Iran traveller Mike Milotte: Don’t skip Tehran’s unmissable sights

Tehran is the city travellers love to hate, with many avoiding a stay here altogether en route to Iran’s more popular tourist destinations. But as Mike Milotte discovers, the capital’s gorgeous galleries, sociable locals and exhilarating pace give it a beautiful side too.

Iranian friends and our guide/interpreter alike think we’re mad, but we persist with our plan to spend 10 days of our month-long visit to Iran in the polluted and architecturally unattractive capital, Tehran.

For my part, eleven museums, six art galleries and three bazaars later – not to mention two mountain trips, one cinema visit and a memorable night at home with a Tehrani family – I’m glad we persevered.

The plaza outside the main bazaar is a great spot for people-watching. The streets are teeming, not with mullahs or gun-toting police as I had anticipated, but with seemingly carefree shoppers, armed with mobile phones. There are lots of head-to-toe black chadors, but just as many women wear cheerful loose-fitting headscarves, tight jeans and dramatic makeup.

Meeting Tehranis is remarkably easy and richly rewarding. As we try to buy saffron, piled high at the very un-touristy Tajrish bazaar, a young woman asks in broken English if we need help. We get talking. ‘N’ is an artist, and one of her friends has an exhibition at the renowned Seyhoun art gallery. We’re invited along, and are soon chatting to half a dozen of the city’s brightest young painters, N’s friends, who excitedly show us their work on smart phones and tablets. We adjourn to a working studio, home to illicit life drawing classes, where we drink tea and leave with a fabulous landscape painting that will grace our living room.

Next day, in the unpeopled galleries of the Museum of Contemporary Art, a staff member tells us 3,000 works by western painters like Picasso, Van Gogh, Bacon, etc –  all deemed degenerate – languish in the basement while ‘safe’ Iranian art bedecks the walls. ‘That’s why no-one bothers coming,’ our informant asserts. Later, in the Carpet Museum next door, an attendant eagerly points out some 18th century Persian rugs depicting erotic imagery where more than female heads are laid bare. ‘How come they’re still on show?’ I ask. He just smiles back.

As the only foreigners in most of the places we visit, we are an endless source of interest to shyly curious Tehranis. One such encounter, during a lung-reviving mountain walk at Darband, ends with an invitation to dinner in the family home. The women all wear party dresses and have their heads and arms uncovered, illegal, even at home, when a male stranger is present. French wine and Russian vodka, smuggled from Iraq, are offered, and after an unforgettable meal of lamb with walnuts and pomegranate, we settle down to watch television.

An Iranian family go for a stroll in Tehran. Image by Amos Chapple / Lonely Planet Images / Getty

Zigzagging back to our hotel in a bone-shaking taxi without seatbelts, our driver, a talkatively wise man with reasonable English, points out ranks of enormous SUVs – gleaming Porsches, Mercs, BMWs and Audis – waiting for their owners to spill out of fashionable and expensive eateries in Tehran’s northside. ‘Sanctions’, he says, ‘have made a small number of businessmen with political friends fantastically rich.’

Am I imagining it, or is it beginning to feel more and more like home here?

A young couple admire the view of Tehran at dusk. Image by Amos Chapple / Lonely Planet Images / Getty

A young couple admire the view of Tehran at dusk. Image by Amos Chapple / Lonely Planet Images / Getty

Glass and Ceramics Museum 
Stunning artefacts from the 2nd millennium BC onwards, beautifully displayed and annotated. We were the only visitors which meant we could ooh and aah without embarrassment.

A display at the Glass and Ceramics Museum. Image by Mike Milotte / Lonely Planet

A display at Tehran’s Glass and Ceramics Museum. Image by Mike Milotte / Lonely Planet

Reza Abbasi Museum
The exhibits, starting from around 2000BC, are without exception quite exquisite – especially the gold work – and as few people seem to visit, you might have it entirely to yourself.

Jameh Bazaar
A massive Asian flea market staged on Fridays only, when the main bazaar is closed. Come prepared to buy stuff you neither need nor want but will treasure for ever. Increase the pleasure by haggling hard.

Carpet Museum of Iran
Look out for two enormous carpets depicting (among others) Napoleon, and see if you can spot the difference in how he’s depicted. The carpets are beautiful but unlike its Turkish equivalent in Istanbul, this museum’s signage isn’t great.

Colourful detail in the Carpet Museum of Iran. Image by Mike Milotte / Lonely Planet

Colourful detail in the Carpet Museum of Iran. Image by Mike Milotte / Lonely Planet

Taxi ride across town
You’ll probably survive it, and you’ll certainly never forget it. Tehran traffic seems chaotic yet it flows smoothly. The secret is in the weaving and dodging performed by drivers who appear mad but who never lose their tempers, let alone their bumpers.
Read more:



Series: Iranian Handicraft and Art – Khatamkari

Many objects can be decorated in this fashion, such as jewelry/decorative boxes, chessboards, pipes, desks, frames or some musical instruments.

Khatam can also be used in Persian miniatures, making it a more attractive work of art.

Based on techniques imported from China and improved by Persian know-how, this craft has existed for more than 700 years and is still practiced in Shiraz and Isfahan.

More details:

Academy Award winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi named Busan Film Festival jury president

Asghar Farhadi named Busan Film Festival jury president

Academy Award winning Iranian filmmaker has been selected to preside over the jury for the New Currents section at the 19th Busan International Film Festival in South Korea.

Farhadi will head the festival’s jury panel that is comprised of French philosopher Jacques Ranciere, Professor of film studies at the Scotland’s University of St. Andrews Dina Iordanova, Indian actress Suhasini Maniratnam, and Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho.

The Iranian director Mohammad Mehdi Asgarpour’s drama We Have a Guest is also scheduled to compete at the festival which will take place from October 2 to 11.

Academy Award winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi

Born in 1972, Farhadi received his Bachelors in Theater from University of Tehran’s School of Dramatic Arts in 1998 and his Masters in Stage Direction from Tarbiat Modarres University a few years later.

His 2011 family drama A Separation became a sensation and received rave reviews from numerous international film events and festivals.

The film won the award for the Best Foreign Language film at the Golden Globe Award and Academy Award in 2012.

“Farhadi is a filmmaker who makes one becomes familiar with the rich culture of Iran. His works remind us of Victor Hugo,” The mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe had earlier said during an award ceremony during which the Grand Medal of Vermeil from the City went to Farhadi for his latest drama The Past (Le Passé).

The Past has scooped numerous awards so far such as two prizes at the 66th Cannes film festival including the Best Actress award and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury (prix du Jury œcuménique).

Dancing in the Dust (2003), The Beautiful 2004), Fireworks Wednesday (2006) and About Elly (2009) are his other directorial works.

Iran’s Gilan Province: Photos (Part 1)

More photos of Iran: