#9 2013

Janus face

“It was them who took her out of the frying pan of homosexuality and put her, with no refuge, into the fire of transsexuality.”

President Ahmadinejad states that homosexuality does not exist in Iran and it is a crime according to the country's laws. What is even more rarely discussed is the perception of transsexuals, and how homosexuals are expected to “solve their problem” by changing their sex. In this short story, Ramesh Safavi effectively describes one day in a transsexual prostitute's life.

An open letter to Ahmadinejad – My green vote was not your black name

A poet and journalist, Naeimeh Doustdar was one of the millions of people who took part in the violent protests in Tehran in 2009. She was imprisoned shortly thereafter and stayed in the infamous Evin prison. Before the

Five poems from prison

On September 7 2011, the police arrested the poet Alireza Roshan, who was accused of being part of a nonconformist minority group named “Gonabadi”. He was convicted on the basis of Article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code: “

The songs will disappear one by one

Alireza Behnam, born in 1973 in Tehran, is one of the most influential young poets in Iran right now. Since 1991, he has published four collections of poems and translated a number of books into Persian. Here, he writes a

What about democracy in Iran?

Sanctions against Iran tighten with every year that passes—all in an effort to force the regime to account for its nuclear program. How do the sanctions affect the Iranian people and their fight for democracy? Trita Parsi,

How censorship makes itself absurd?

Iran is the country full of paradoxes. Especially when it comes to censorship of literature. Hossein Shahrabi, publisher, emphasize the lack of a consistent censorship law which means that the regime can do as it pleases.

Creativity's battles with censorship

What happens to a country where many writers have shelved writing or have given up trying to get published? The author and publisher, Arash Hejazi, writes about self-censorship, which has taken root among many Iranian

“Buying alcoholic beverages takes 17 minutes”

The Islamic Republic does not allow alcohol. In the wake of other social problems, alcohol abuse has increased, even in Iran. Under an ideologically shiny surface, one can find the same social problems as in other parts of


Author Saeed Tabatabaee was one year old when the Islamic Revolution took place. He belongs to the generation of young people who has grown up in the regime's big brother society—always guarded, always reviewed. In this

Tehran girls just want to have fun

Over 30 years have passed since Iran's Islamic revolution. An entire generation of young women has grown up without knowing any other society than the one created by the conservative mullahs—a society full of oppression

“Iran's economy is on the road to collapse”

Inflation, rising unemployment and an irresponsible economic policy seems to be the Ahmadinejad administration's political legacy. The next president will face severe challenges, writes financial journalist, Sara Damavandan

What do we really know about what is currently happening in Iran?

The country that tops the British Guardian’s list of countries in the world that have the most intense censorship of the web is Iran. In some ways Iran tries to block the web content even more severely than China does.

Reporters without borders assess the situation in the same way. The Iranian authorities not only use the method of closing down particular foreign sites, but have also forced the internet cafés to keep a log of who does what on the internet. Also, the internet traffic to other countries is deliberately slowed down. And it seems to have become even slower the nearer we are the elections in June. Apart from these more technical measures there are also the more familiar ones such as harassments by the police, and other similar groups related to those in power, of people who express themselves digitally. Reporters without borders claim that the authorities have closed down websites for the religious minority the Sufis and that they have arrested several bloggers and several lawyers who have defended these bloggers.

This rings of the familiar suppression of speech camouflaged by ideological excuses as it is encountered around the world. And so it is. But the interesting question is why Iran is salient in the statistics over countries that are desperately attempting to control the internet.