Astride tradition and innovation

Freedom, happiness, civil rights, secularism. The surprising figures revealed by interviews with Iranians in and outside Iran.

Persepolis, rugs and pistachios are the main icons that Europeans first associate with Iran.

Yet there is an interesting divergence between the younger generations (aged 20-40), who know the country better as Iran, and the older (aged 40-60) generations, who are more familiar with it as Persia. A study conducted on Europeans’ views of Iran and of Iranians living abroad provides clear indications that Europeans perceive the country differently if they were adults in the years before the Iranian Revolution – the years of the Shah and his wives Soraya and Farah Diba – and younger Europeans, who have grown up with the Iran of the Ayatollah Khomeini, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Green Wave.

The former have a nostalgic view of Persia’s monarchic past, while the latter, albeit critical and suspicious of its Islamic regime, generally hold a positive view of the country, in particular of Iranian women and its younger generations, whom they often deem “modern and progressive”. 

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