Here's What Nicholas Kristof Saw On A Road Trip Through Iran

nicholas kristoff


The New York Times’ resident globe trotter Nicholas Kristof recently took a trip to the Iranian regime, and filmed a video about his experiences.Kristof has already outlined his position on Iran in one op-ed for the paper, arguing that the country is a “complex and contradictory” place and explaining his rationale for taking his children on the reporting trip with him. Another op-ed pointed out how many Iranians want amusement parks rather than mosques.

Kristof began his trip at a beach.

The beach is a good example of the constraints on Iranian society — women are allowed on the beach but cannot show their forearms.

Women have their own area, boarded off from the rest of the beach.

Lifeguards keep the men out.

Kristof is making a 1,700 mile road trip.

His plan is to find out what the average Iranian thinks.

A scary journey considering Iran's roads are some of the craziest in the world, with 20 times the global average for traffic fatalities.

Generally, many Iranians seemed to like America.

But many were scared to talk, a marked contrast to 2004, when Kristof had last visited.

Many who Kristof spoke to refused to go on camera. Kristof reasons this is probably due to the aftermath of the student protests in 2009.

Outside of the city, Kristof was able to find many more people who supported the government.

This man, a supporter of the government, explain how they got around $3,000 in state loans after he got married.

Kristof reasoned that a nuclear strike on Iran would only widen the number of government supporters.

A key factor in people's viewpoints is satellite TV, illegal but ubiquitous in most areas.

In a town with little satellites, Kristof noticed a big difference in the opinions of people.

Another key factor is education. The fact that there is now more women than men in higher education is vital, Kristof argued.

Kristof also visited the holy Islamic city of Masshad.

Kristof even got a chance to speak to a Grand Ayatollah about the lack of faith in young people.

However, Kristof seems most confounded by women in Iran.

Many don't seem to sense the unfairness of their situation, he reasons.

For example, these women were happy to talk about the unfairness of Iran's inheritance laws.

But when Kristof challenged them about their veils, they told him he was wrong.

The affects of economic sanctions were everywhere he went.

Prices were doubled in some places.

And many businesses were crippled.

It's in these sanctions that Kristof sees hope...

And also within the numerous young, educated, and frustrated people he met in the country.

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