World class US and European skateboarders skating in Iran

While skateboarding has a firm footing across major cities of the world, Iran certainly isn’t a name you’d associate with skating. Bridging an in-depth skateboarding video with documentary film, Thrasher Magazine and producer Patrik Wallner venture into Iran for an episode of “Visualtraveling.”

Here, they meet MJ, skateboard enthusiast and skate deck craftsman who takes the crew through the country. Running into their fair share of challenges, the crew of skaters find out first hand what it’s like to skate in the Persian region. Clocking in at just under 30 minutes, the film is a mind-expanding piece that’s definitely worth your while.

Other USA – Iran related articles: The other Iran | Tag | USA

Source:
HYPEBEAST | Thrasher Magazine travels to Iran for “Visualtraveling: The Persian Version”

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Blog recommendation: American woman backpacking in Iran

Read the blog and enjoy Silvia’s descriptions and pictures. Here are the links to the posts on Iran:

http://www.heartmybackpack.com/blog/backpacking-solo-through-iran/

http://www.heartmybackpack.com/blog/kafka-cigarettes-tehran/

http://www.heartmybackpack.com/blog/isfahan-iran/

If you are lazy just read some quotes here and go to the links to enjoy the pictures:

“I mean, Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, hosts thirteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and boasts beautiful landscapes stretching from dense rain forests to snowcapped mountains to desert basins. Plus, so many travelers whom I met in Central Asia absolutely raved about Iran. The hospitable people, delicious food and historic sites – how could I not add Iran to my travel itinerary?”

“My first Couchsurfing hosts in Tehran, a young Ph.D. student and her roommate, said they were so excited to be hosting an American girl, and that they hope more tourists will start to come to Iran. They were incredibly warm and welcoming hosts, cooking delicious Persian food and asking me countless questions about Norway and the U.S. and foreigners’ impressions of Iran.”

“The thing is, I haven’t felt alone once since I landed in Iran. The receptionist at my first hotel took me in as her daughter, accompanying me to breakfast and lunch and suggesting sites for me to visit, my Couchsurfing hosts were like cool older sisters, chatting with me about religion and politics as well as the plot twists of Lost and J-Lo’s divorce (I’m so out of touch), and Rana truly has adopted me as her sister, with an invitation to lunch turning into a trip to visit Esfahan and then several days with her family in Tehran.”

“So far my experience in Iran has only been one of warmth and hospitality, and really, really amazing food! Though, in a few hours Rana and I are heading to Marivan, a small Kurdish city on the border to Iraq. So you know, maybe I’ll have some more eventful things to share from there! (Kidding, family, Kurdistan is of course totally safe.)”

“My stay in Tehran was far too short and left much of the city unexplored, but I did leave with an overwhelming crush on a city so full of life and passion. Shopkeepers greeted me with warmth (if also a degree of surprise), and the discussions I had with people there were always filled with genuine interest and reflection. ”

“While now a bustling modern city, Isfahan was once one of the largest cities in the world as it sat on a major intersection of the main north-south and east-west  routes crossing Iran. We seemed to stumble on reminders of Isfahan’s past glory around every corner, from impressive squares and tree-lined boulevards to covered bridges, palaces and mosques.”

“Moreover, while Isfahan might be dominated by Islamic architecture, the city is also home to important Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian sites. Rana and I visited the Church of Saint Joseph of Arimathea, built by an Armenian community that settled in Isfahan in the early 1600s.”

Ok if you read so far, just make sure to visit the links above

Italy’s former ambassador to Iran: No, Iranians Don’t Hate You

Roberto Toscano - Italy’s ambassador to Iran, 2003-2008

Roberto Toscano – Italy’s ambassador to Iran, 2003-2008

In 2004, when I was Italy’s ambassador to Iran, I had the occasion to tour the country together with a couple of American friends, at the beginning rather hesitant to come and visit, but then overwhelmed by the hospitality and politeness that are so typically Iranian and even more by the “extra” of both hospitality and politeness that came out when people realized that they were American.

One episode has remained marked in their memory (and in mine too): at the end of a visit to the tomb of the poet Saadi in Shiraz a mullah, who had been listening to the English translation of our guide, and had asked him where those tourists were from, went up to my friend, shook his hand, said (in English) “God bless you” and left.

[…] Most people who have seen the recent movie Argo […] are convinced that what they see is contemporary Iran: still hostile, still radical, still violently and massively anti-American. The truth is rather different. Certainly the regime finds in anti-Americanism a sort of marker of identity […] What is interesting, however, is that anti-American rhetoric is not focused on what America is, but on what America does. […] the 1953 Anglo-American coup against Mossadeq or the support given to Saddam in its 1980 aggression against Iran.

The fact is, however, that this regime narrative, and the hostility toward the U.S., is not really shared by the majority of Iranians. […]

Iran — and this will surprise the average American — is not a closed country, and its citizens can travel abroad, if they get the necessary entry visas, of course. In the second place, educated Iranians (not a narrow minority, differently from other countries in the area) have access to reliable information about the world and also about the U.S., in spite of the attempts of the regime to filter “subversive” material in both TV programs and internet traffic. […]

Actually, I found that in Iran there is a lot of admiration for America: not necessarily for its policy, but for its economy and for its culture, wildly popular especially among Iranian youth. […] A strong proof of the fact that America is not hated by Iranians came with September 11, when thousands of Iranians went spontaneously to the streets for a candlelight vigil in homage and solidarity to the victims of the attack on the Twin Towers.

The lack in Iran of the generalized and often virulent anti-Americanism that characterizes Middle Eastern populations is something that Americans traveling in Iran, even in the present tense political situation, can testify. Not only is there no hostility toward American citizens, but instead we see curiosity and friendship at the same time, though often combined with criticism for specific U.S. policies and behavior.

Definitely crowds chanting ‘marg bar Amrika’ (death to America) are today both very rare and not very much convinced: they tend to be formed by activists bused to the demonstrations. […]

Many, if not most Iranians, may be fed up with the regime, especially in its present incarnation in President Ahmadinejad, but they are a proud, patriotic people. They have problems with their leaders, but not with their country, especially in the event of an external attack.

The full article: The Huffington Post | Roberto Toscano | No, Iranians don’t hate you

Video: Impressions of US musician Bob Belden on Iran

The audience members in Tehran’s Vahdat concert hall rose from their seats, clapping wildly as the frontman Bob Belden, a fun-loving New Yorker with a predilection for loud shirts, rested his soprano saxophone on a nearby stand.

“We love you Bob!” someone shouted in English from the balcony after Mr. Belden, 58, finished his third song of the night. A Grammy Award-winning producer, composer and jazz performer, he smiled broadly. “It is an utter honor to be here in Iran,” Mr. Belden said, drawing even more cheers.

The concert last Friday was the first by an American musician in Iran since the 1979 revolution.

View Bob’s impressions on Video (Playlist: 4 short videos – keep on watching):

Officials from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance sat in the front row, nodding their heads to renditions of tunes by Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Mr. Belden’s own compositions. The Iranians who filled the 1,200-seat theater clapped and cheered. They recorded video with their mobile phones of Mr. Belden and his four bandmates, who did little to suppress their own enthusiasm, waving, smiling and taking their own pictures of the audience.

The Tehran gig was the end of a short, wild tour through a country that officially considers the United States its enemy, but where people go out of their way to please guests, especially when they are American.

“This guy comes up to me, an Iranian; asks me where I’m from. I say, ‘America!’ He says, ‘I love you!’ ”

Mr. Belden said before Friday’s concert. “I tell him I’m a jazz musician. He says, ‘I love jazz!’ ”. “Everybody is nice to us here,” he added.

Source: The New York Times | Rebirth of the cool: American music makes a return to Iran

Meet Our Man in Tehran : Dutch New York Times Journalist in Iran

Erdbrink, Thomas - www.lindanieuws.nl (image)Dossier: Thomas Erdbrink
Date of birth: Jan. 27, 1976
Hometown: Leiderdorp, Netherlands
Lives: Tehran
Education: B.A. in journalism, Hogeschool of Utrecht
Employment: Tehran bureau chief, The New York Times

Life Experience: I moved to Iran in 2002 and I’ve been married since 2003 to Newsha Tavakolian, a well-known Iranian photographer and artist. In 2008, I became the bureau chief for The Washington Post, where I was succeeded in 2012 by Jason Rezaian, my colleague who has been jailed without charge since July.

When I tell people that I have lived in Iran for 13 years, they’re often shocked. How, they ask, can one live in a country where angry mobs roam the streets denouncing Westerners, burning flags and shouting “Death to America”? Are you not afraid?

No. I am not.

Iran is more modern, livable and friendly than some portrayals would have you believe. The country’s modernity goes beyond symbols, such as the number of skyscrapers in Tehran, or the fact that Porsche sells more cars here than anywhere else in the Middle East.

Dutch New York Times Journalist Thomas Erdbrink - Iranian photo journalist Newsha Tavakolian

Dutch New York Times Journalist Thomas Erdbrink – Iranian photo journalist Newsha Tavakolian

In the time I’ve been living and working here, Iranian society, under the influence of the Internet, satellite television and inexpensive transportation, has undergone fundamental changes: Iran became an urban country, with 70 percent of its people living in or near cities. Illiteracy has been almost wiped out. More than 60 percent of university students are women. More than 150,000 highly educated Iranians leave the country each year. The Internet, though censored, is widely available, as is software to get around those censors.

I live here with my wife and our cat in a three-bedroom apartment in a 26-floor residential building, constructed before the 1979 revolution by an American company. Newsha has been my guide to this complex society, and she continues to be my most important critic. I have made many Iranian friends and I learned to speak Persian, which makes it easy for me to get around in this city of 12 million. And though I am married to an Iranian woman, I am a Dutch citizen and my visa is good for only six months at a time.

I am an accepted foreigner, but I am a lonely foreigner, too. Iran is a very isolated country and there are only a handful of Westerners living here.

After four years of requests to the Ministry of Islamic Guidance and Culture, the same office that allows me to work here as a correspondent, I received a special permit to film for five weeks a documentary series with the Dutch director Roel van Broekhoven for the VPRO network in the Netherlands. The reaction to the series in the Netherlands, a small, liberal European country whose citizens enjoy looking beyond its borders, was overwhelmingly positive.

Iranians are used to foreign media portraying their country as sinister — from the movie based on Betty Mahmoudi’s book “Not Without My Daughter” after the 1979 revolution, to Ben Affleck’s Academy Award-winning film “Argo.” People here — especially those in power — would rather showcase the country’s natural beauty, ancient culture, hospitality and great food.

“Why doesn’t the West understand how nice we are?” one Iranian official asked me. “If only they see our beauties they will love Iran.”

Iran has some very impressive sights, but for me the real attraction is its people. You will meet some of them in this series as we examine together complicated issues that illustrate how Iran is slowly changing.

Related article: The other Iran | Newsha Tavakolian – Iranian photojournalist

Sources: The New York Times | Meet our man in Tehran, Thomas Erdbrink’s Photo: Linda.

Italian jazz pianist Stefano Battaglia performed in Iran

The two-part rendition by the famous Italian pianist Stefano Battaglia and the renowned German clarinet player Ulrich Drechsler saw music fans fill the hall leaving no vacant seats.

The duet, performed Saturday night, in the international section of the festival at Tehran’s Rudaki Hall, had the audience mesmerized for the high quality musical by the two virtuosos, IRNA reports.

Read more what Ulrich Drechsler said about Iran and Iranians here

Sources: Italian Embassy Tehran, Financial Tribune, IRNA | Photos

 

Austria-based German clarinet virtuoso Ulrich Drechsler: “I like Iranians for their kindness, politeness, and hospitality.”

Austria-based German clarinet virtuoso Ulrich Drechsler attended the 30th Fajr International Music Festival in Iran.

Austria based German clarinet virtuoso Ulrich Drechsler

Austria based German clarinet virtuoso Ulrich Drechsler

“I am addicted to food. When I came to Iran and a friend took me to a restaurant in northern district of Tehran and had kebab with a taste of saffron, I was in high spirits,” Ulrich Drechsler told the Persian service of ISNA on Sunday.
“Pomegranate juice and saffron ice cream, these are incredible and awesome. You make use of a variety of spice and vegetables in your food. I think I would own a restaurant in Iran if I could come back to this world once again,’ he exclaimed.

He continued that this is his second trip to Iran and hoped to return again in spring or summer.

“I have only stayed in Tehran during these days and have got to know only a little part of your culture. My friends have shown beautiful places like the Music Museum of Iran, and I was surprised to see such numbers of Iranian musical instruments,” he stated.

“I must say that the main thing in my life is my family, then food and after that music. I have fallen in love with Iranian life and the Iranian mentality,” he stated.

Drechsler also noted that he has got familiar with Iranian traditional music through works of Kayhan Kalhor, the famous Kamancheh (knee fiddle) player, and is a big fan of his works. He believes that music in Iran comes from the heart of the players so the factor of emotion “is so prominent in it.” Coming for the second time to Iran, he said, “I like Iranians for their kindness, politeness, and hospitality.”

Ulrich Drechsler and Italian jazz pianist Stefano Battaglia have given two performances at the festival, which will come to an end on February 20.

The Iranian audience was highly entertained by a series of lullabies that Ulrich Drechsler performed at his concerts during the festival.

All posts about Music and foreign musicians in Iran on this blog:
http://theotheriran.com/tag/music/

Sources: Financial Tribune, Tehran Times