Amid brutal government crackdowns, dissent continues to simmer in Iran
Vanishingly few Western journalists have been able to report from Iran since the death of Mahsa Amini in September. Protests erupted after the 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman died in police custody after the so-called morality police accused her of not wearing her hijab appropriately. Five months later, NPR was granted a visa to visit Iran — the first time since 2021.
NPR's Mary Louise Kelly and producers Fatma Tanis and Connor Donevan spent a week in Tehran and Isfahan interviewing citizens and state officials about the months of widespread anti-regime protests and Iran's brutal government response.
"What we know of what's happening in that country is through social media accounts ... [and] the little bits that Iranian journalists have been able to get out," Kelly says. "And so we spent a week going everywhere we could — street corners, parks, people's living rooms, restaurants, wherever — and just saying, 'What do you think about what's happening in your country? What do you want Americans to know?' And then we listened.
"When you go to report from a place like Iran, you're not going to be able to see everything you want to see," she says. "My attitude has always been: what's the alternative? Isn't to glimpse something better than nothing?"
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