Iran’s isolation from global society in the last few decades has largely rendered its society undefined and its people unknown, particularly amongst minds in the West. The process of moulding and shaping perceptions of Iran and its people has been left to the whim of western media, which has undoubtedly failed to depict Iran in its true light. As a result, first-hand, on-the-ground accounts of Iran and its people often bill themselves as expository pieces, typically with titles in the lexical vicinity of Beneath the Veil or Unmasking Iran.
What I saw in Iran is a country in the incipient stages of economic, political and social modernisation. But for a country that, for so long, has been both voluntarily and coercively isolated from global society, it is inevitable that forces of change are being counteracted by forces of stagnation, fuelled by proponents of tradition and conservatism. With the lifting of sanctions and increased efforts to integrate Iran into the global community, from both the Iranian government and the global community itself, what is becoming increasingly apparent is that Iran is no longer cloaked by some banal, metaphorical veil, undiscoverable and hidden from sight. Iran is there to be known and learnt about, as long as you are willing to do so. And you should, because what I saw in Iran in the short period of 10 days is one of the most beautiful, fascinating, captivating, welcoming and intellectually stimulating countries I have ever visited.