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When Iranian American anthropologist Pardis Mahdavi first visited Tehran in the summer of 2000, she expected to encounter the Iran she grew up imagining.Her family remembered violence and extremism, and these were the images that stuck: “women clad in black chadors, wailing and whipping themselves,” “black bearded men with heavy hearts and souls,” arranged marriages, and the fierceness of the “morality police.” But while she encountered this repressed side of Iran, she also heard stories of and witnessed signs of what some friends and informants called a sexual or sociocultural revolution. Now the youth are trying to figure out what to do with all these opening doors.” Understandably, young people experience confusion in the face of competing ideals and desires—traditional expectations versus contemporary temptations—and the stakes of personal decisions remain high.From exile in France, the Shi’ite cleric urged Iranians to overthrow the monarchy of the U.S.-backed Shah Reza Pahlavi, and with it the secular modernity that had unsettled millions of devout Iranians who had moved to cities from the countryside, a migration that also amounted to a dislocation, one scholars later understood as a significant contributor to what came to be known as the Islamic Revolution.Young Iranians also indulged in premarital and extramarital sexual escapades. One informant told Mahdavi that young men and women “go there, deep in the jungle, and have lots of sex, with lots of people; it’s really something to see.
Prostitution, however, remained — both off the books and on.Abbas Milani lecture about Modernity Iranian Identity Iranain Identity: in three narratives-by Ahamd Ashraf Iranian Identity - BBC Persian (August 9, 2010) How to be an Iranian Today -Lecture by Dr.Ramin Jahanbegloo Feminism How Iran's feminist genie escaped - BBC Islamic Feminists Transforming Middle East (NPR) "Islamic feminism": compromise or challenge to feminism?To this day in Iran, clerics will issue licenses for “temporary marriage,” authorizing assignations that may last for decades, or for as little as an hour.The latter are common even in the backstreets of Qom, the holy city crowded with seminaries and lonely seminarians.