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


Part 4: 'My Body Feels Practically Electrified'

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

President Ahmadinejad objects to "politically motivated" arrests of advisers associated with him, who are being accused of corruption, and insists that they are innocent. In London , Foreign Secretary William Hague announces that British intelligence has discovered that Iran is secretly building launch vehicles for nuclear warheads, once again violating United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Ghazaleh Zarea, the social worker. I'm going to the Majlis, our parliament. I hope to receive some support for our aid organization. In front of the building, I meet a woman who is begging for mercy for her drug-addicted son, who is in prison. A father is requesting assistance for his three children. They all have university degrees but can't find jobs. A woman who works as a public servant tells me that she has been coming here for a year and a half, because she wants to be transferred to the city where her husband works. I have the feeling that thousands have gathered here, searching for support. I feel discouraged and go home.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

In a letter to the UN human rights envoy for Iran, the families of US citizens Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, who have been imprisoned in Tehran on espionage charges for almost two years, claim that the two men had been tortured. The Iranian attorney Shirin Ebadi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who is currently in exile, predicts the overthrow of the system in Tehran .

Samaneh Ahmadian, the artist. I go to my girlfriend's café. An acquaintance is making a video, in which I take part. That makes me happy. I meet my friend Sherwin. He touches me on the neck, in the middle of the city. My body feels practically electrified.

Massih Talebian, the engineer. I have to work, even though it's just answering emails. I try to explain the problems we are having with the embargo to my business partners. We could set up a shell company in a neighboring country, so that we could somehow get the equipment to Iran from there. Would this be an option? My emails don't solve the problems, but they remove a burden from my soul.

Ghazaleh Zarea, the social worker. You can live well here, as long as you don't think about things. But the holidays are horrible. They seduce you into thinking. The programs on TV offer no distraction. I work on my screenplay. I think about censorship. Anyone who hopes to find answers in the books that have gone through our censors is often disappointed. But everything has its time, and I'm a patient person.

Kouhyar Goudarzi, the activist. My friend Mahan has taken his first vacation after seven years in prison. We want to drive to the Caspian Sea. But we should have known better. Everyone wants to get out of Tehran, even though gasoline has got so expensive now that subsidies have been cut. Men stand along the side of the road selling gasoline in canisters. They want twice as much as the gas stations charge. But at least you don't have to wait in the long lines.

I'm at the sea for the first time in nine years. Iran can be so beautiful. But all Mahan and I do is talk about our common friends in prison and those who have already left Iran.


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