Sam Khanlari
Last updated: 22 February, 2014

Always wanted to discover Iran? These photos take you halfway.

From Qom, a historic hub for Shia Muslims, to borj-e Milad, the towering symbol of a modernizing nation, Sam Khanlari's trip to Iran took him places he had not encountered while growing up in the capital.

My flight landed at Imam Khomeini airport only days before President Rouhani’s speech at the UN General Assembly in New York last September. As a friendly reminder of the prominent role politics plays in greater Iranian society, the long drive into Tehran provided the cab driver with a lengthy interrogation as to how Western, in my particular case Canadian, media portrayed Iranians.

“The diversity of Iranians past and present was evident at every turn”As the newly elected President was embarking on an international campaign to counter “Iranophobia,” some Iranians contemplated the prospects of reintegration with regional and European countries as well as less confrontational relations with Western capitals like Washington and London. So far, the Rouhani government has made several positive steps to that end.

From Qom, a historic hub for Shia Muslims, to borj-e Milad, the towering symbol of a modernizing nation, my trip to Iran last September took me to places I had not encountered while growing up in the capital. From Masouleh, a thousand-year-old town built into the mountains, to Golestan palace, a Qajar attempt to cement Tehran as Iran’s capital, the diversity of Iranians past and present was evident at every turn.

The following images are from a two-week trip to Iran in autumn 2013.