Iranian perspectives | World| Breakings news and perspectives from around the globe | DW | 27.05.2013
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World

Iranian perspectives

On June 14, Iran will elect a new president. But what is it like to live in this theocratic police state? If you're curious about the stories behind the headlines, you've come to the right page.

Iranian perspectives: about this project

On June 14, Iran will elect a new president. But what is it like to live in this theocratic police state? If you're curious about the stories behind the headlines, you've come to the right page.

Images are powerful. They form our preceptions and influence our judgements. That applies both to photographs and to written portraits. The images that we in the West associate with Iran are almost all negative. Iran is a "rogue state" governed by "fundamentalist mullahs," it is striving for a nuclear bomb, and its president wants to "wipe Israel off the map."

Such verdicts might be right, but they are only part of the reality, only the surface. The western image of Iran is no more than the country's politics, it is lifeless and one-dimensional. That's partly because Iran's censorship and repression mean that very little certain and direct information escapes the country.

What is it like to live in a state where the government imposes drastic measures against any form of criticism? Where the economy is on its knees, and not only because of western sanctions? Where religion and politics are bound together inseparably and form a dense, opaque network? How has everyday life changed in the four years since the Green Movement?

These are the questions we examine in our multi-media DW-Special "Iran: Inside Perspectives on a Theocratic State." This project is only possible because DW has now been reporting in Farsi, Iran's official language, for five decades, and because our Farsi service has excellent contacts in Iran and the Iranian community around the world. And because more than 130,000 people use our Farsi service every day, respect it as an independent source, and interact with us - both through our website and through social media like Facebook or Twitter.

Eye witness reports as well as information from our correspondents in Iran offer us these inside perspectives. People talk about their everyday lives, offering us rare insight into a life permeated with state control and religious convention.

And their participation is not always risk-free. Any form of criticism in an authoritarian state like Iran is unwelcome and ruthlessly punished. And it's not just journalists and opponents of the regime who have to live under constant state observation. Artists also face scrutiny. Some of the protagonists and interview partners we planned to include have gone into hiding or left the country in the past few weeks, since the state repression became even stricter in the run-up to the presidential election.

In 2009, during the Green Movement, bloggers formed a visible front of resistance. The slogan was, "You have weapons, but we have cellphones!" Since then the regime has restricted Internet access more and more as well: "Halal Internet," a clean web in which there is no more independent information.

In "Iran: Inside Perspectives on a Theocratic State," we take a look behind these barricades at the people in the country and their lives. Join us.