A Look at Life in Iran

The New York Times unveiled a new video series about Iran. Their Tehran bureau chief, Thomas Erdbrink, began the series with a brief look at what it’s like for him to live and work there:

New York Times: Meet Our Man in Tehran

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Iran takes steps toward a (slightly) more open internet

It’s no secret that Iran blocks access to a whole host of popular websites and services. If you’re in Iran and you try to visit a website that’s censored there — like WordPress.com — you’ll be faced with a page like this:

internet-censorship

However, a number of Iranians are pushing back against this censorship, including Iran’s Culture Minister Ali Jannati and even President Hassan Rouhani, who has active Twitter accounts in English (@hassanrouhani) and Farsi (@Rouhani_ir). And it seems that Iran is now open to unblocking certain sites — in a controlled, filtered way:

“We are not opposed to any of the entities operating in global markets who want to offer services in Iran,” the deputy telecommunications and information technology minister, Nasrollah Jahangard, told the Fars news agency on Sunday.

“We are ready to negotiate with them and if they accept our cultural rules and policies they can offer their services in Iran,” he said.

Assuming sanctions don’t get in the way, this move could make it significantly easier (and safer) for many Iranians to use services like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. And I’ll support any tiny step that encourages Iranians and non-Iranians to reach out, connect with, and better understand each other.

Give Peace a Dance

One important world issue + two hilarious comedians = a funny video for a good cause. Maz Jobrani and Elon Gold are advocating a peaceful, diplomatic resolution to the conflict between the US/Israel and Iran. That’s definitely something I support.

If you think that sounds good, too, you can sign the letter and give peace a dance. And if you want to go a step further (and you live in the US), try contacting the president and your representatives to tell them how important this is to you.

If you’d gotten that far, now relax with a couple of my favorite videos from these guys: