Tehran Diary 'We Drink to the Freedom that Will Come One Day'


Part 2: 'A Bitter Disappointment Awaits Me at Work'

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The government stages an anti-terror summit in Tehran , attended by the presidents of Afghanistan , Pakistan , Iraq and Sudan . Iran accuses the United States of aggravating the security situation in the region through its military presence.

Ghazaleh Zarea, the social worker. I drive to the University of Khorramabad, where I will supervise an examination, even though I don't like playing the supervisor. But I'm doing a friend a favor, and I can use the money. Many people become overbearing in such positions and humiliate others. But whether it's a small group or an entire people, there are always two sides to everything. If our young people would make more of an effort, we would have more experts. That would be good for our people.

On the way home I see a drug addict with her baby. She is begging by the side of the road. We have so many drug addicts. Here in Khorramabad, we have established an organization specifically for such women as a private initiative.

Kouhyar Goudarzi, the activist. I'm addicted to the Internet. I'm on my laptop as soon as I get up in the morning. Many people are replacing their profiles on Facebook with photos of prisoners.

A friend and I make solidarity visits. At an intersection, we watch the morality police rudely reprimanding a young woman. The parents of Ali Akbar, who has been in prison for almost five months now, talk to me about my hunger strike. They heard about me on a foreign TV channel. We talk about the fact that five of the 19 people on hunger strike are doing very poorly. They were admitted to the hospital. My stomach ache is nothing by comparison.

Massih Talebian, the engineer. A bitter disappointment awaits me at work. I have been trying to import technical equipment from Europe for the last four months. To that end, I transferred €100,000 to a money transfer office in Dubai. The money was intended for a bank in Germany. Now I read in my email that the bank is not accepting my money, because of the embargo. The unsuccessful transaction will cost me 15 percent of the total sum.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Former President Khatami, who is closely aligned with the reformers, calls upon imprisoned members of the opposition to end their hunger strike to protest the deaths of dissidents. The military leadership announces that the 10-day "Great Prophet 6" maneuvers will begin on Monday. According to Western experts, missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads will also be tested during the maneuvers.

Samaneh Ahmadian, the artist. I meet with some girlfriends in a café. It's in a predominantly Christian neighborhood. People are more lenient there, and they don't bother us when we smoke.

We're all talking about the same thing today: Revolutionary Guards allegedly filmed bathers at a women's swimming pool. It's a scandal and the talk of the town, even if the women were wearing bathing suits. I only talk about politics with people I can completely trust. There aren't many of them. There was never room for politics in my family.

Massih Talebian, the engineer. There is good news at breakfast today. My wife, who works in a real estate agency, says that business is going very well. Many people are selling their houses and apartments because they want to leave Iran. Others have enough money to buy real estate. Where does the money come from? For self-employed people like me, our expenses are gradually becoming larger than our income.

Ghazaleh Zarea, the social worker. I take the bus back to Tehran. The man sitting in front of me is talking loudly on the phone. He says that he is on his way to a conference on moral depravity. The woman sitting next to me looks at me and quietly tells me about a pair of siblings she knows who were arrested on the street, because they had been taken for a couple. They were interrogated separately and asked about their families. The girl said she had two uncles and the boy said he had three. For that reason, the officials didn't believe that they were brother and sister. Only after many hours was the father able to get them out of jail and clear up the contradiction in their stories. The girl, the younger of the two, had never met the third uncle because he had died young.

Perhaps the man in front of us is one of those people responsible for such cases. The closer we get to Tehran, the tenser I feel.


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