Iran

Ballet dancers tiptoe around Iran dancing ban

 
Like all forms of dance, ballet is officially banned in Iran. Yet many women practice it at gyms around the country under the guise of gymnastics, and this, to a certain extent, is tolerated. Still, the ban makes it difficult for students to get proper training and even more so to hold performances. Read more...
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Iranians 'feel betrayed' by French companies

 
About a hundred French companies are currently in Tehran on a trade trip aimed at drumming up business in Iran now that sanctions have been partially lifted. However, our Observer reports that despite French products being quite popular, many Iranians feel betrayed by French companies and are angry at their lack of loyalty during the sanction years. Read more…
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The Observers’ travel guide to Iran

Long avoided by all but the most adventurous tourists, Iran seems to be making a comeback in 2014, thanks to the thawing of relations with the West. The Financial Times recently put it first on its list of top travel destinations for the year, and tour operators are reporting that more and more travelers are expressing interest in visiting the Islamic Republic. Here’s a little guide for foreign visitors, concocted with the help of our Observers. Read more...

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Drug dealers clash in Iranian border city

 
In the poorest neighbourhoods of Zahedan, a city in southeastern Iran, daily clashes take place between drug gangs, which include women and young children. The drug trade is rife there, due to the city’s location near the borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Read more...
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Iran’s ‘secret’ al Qaeda prisoners

 
Across the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iranians accused of being members of Al-Qaeda are being held in prisons – some even specific high security wings. Yet their vary presence is barely reported in the media and unknown to most Iranians. FRANCE 24's Observers explore the country's complex relationship with the terrorist movement. Read more...

Female bodybuilders try to lift sport's profile in Iran

 
Because they have to wear hijabs, Iranian women athletes cannot compete in many international competitions, and have to settle for competing at a national level. But for Iran’s female bodybuilders, any sort of competition is out of the question. Read more…
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The Iranian stars who were purged from history

 
History is written by the victors. This adage is glaringly true in Iran, where press and TV archives were shuttered after the revolution in 1979, as the country’s new leaders sought to suppress anyone who didn’t fit in with their ideal of an Islamic state. Actors, models, or athletes who were big stars just a few decades ago have been all but forgotten – except by a few people, like our Observer, who painstakingly track down the little information they can find. Read more…

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In Iran, Muslim youth are 'even more excited about Christmas than Christians'

Christians make up less than 1 percent of Iran’s population. And yet the storefronts in Iran’s cities are full of Christmas decorations. So who is supposed to buy them? According to our Observers, the holiday has become very popular with Iranian youth, regardless of their religion. Read more...

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