Contrary to Popular Belief! — Aahoo Pourang

It’s fairly easy to write on the negatives of Iran when Western news presents the Middle East as a nuclear infused country that bows down to the forsaken Ayatollahs of the Islamic Regime. That goes to say there actually are a lot of negatives that comes with the Iranian government (like the many negatives that come with the American government). What major American news outlets fail to mention are the rising number of millennials and Gen Z Persians who blatantly ignore rules set by the regime, organizing underground events on social media and creating large-scale social gatherings that are either diffused by security forces or held underground. 

But these underground parties aren’t a recent thing—it’s been going on since the revolution of 1979. A night of dancing, drinking, and wearing too much makeup may be against the law, but it doesn’t mean the Persian youth don’t find a way to create an environment the Islamic Regime deems ‘radical’. The Guardian even wrote an article claiming Tehran was a secret (but not so secret) party town, and VICE covered the desert party scene in secret locations throughout Iran that create a rave-like environment. They call it grey zones, where bootleg liquor, premarital sex, and party drugs are a thing. After the arrest of an Iranian Instagram star for posting a video of herself dancing, it’s no wonder these parties are an access to certain social freedoms a lot of Americans take for granted. If caught, the common punishment for offenders are lashes and being sentenced to jail. It’s a common risk the younger generation will take for a few hours of freedom.

There’s even a weekly magazine connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards that stated generations born after 1990 are “a serious threat to the Islamic Public’s regimeâ€. In hindsight, anything being a serious threat to the Islamic Regime is a good thing. Actually, it’s a great thing. The youth of Iran frustrations stem from viewing the outside world through a window, their lack of social and sexual freedoms, and ability to travel. Their frustration, however, has led to creative ideas to create their own social world without consequences from the police. According to the report connected to Iran’s Police, it concluded that younger generations have a protesting nature to current conditions and pose a threat to cultural and political systems.

It’s strange that the Islamic Republic connects socialization, social media, and dancing to Western culture when in reality, these are basic human instincts tied to the modern world. Their ultra-sensitivity to pleasures of life reflect the regime’s weaknesses and inability to evolve. It reflects the regime’s inability to see that Persians are in fact proud of their history, culture, and Iran’s contribution to art, architecture, education, and sciences.

It also raises the question as to why the Middle East is afraid of sexuality. Dancing is prohibited unless it is on stage and by a man, which goes to show the war on women is arguably very strong. It also goes to show that while Iran’s citizens are progressive, the regime continues to possess social and sexual anxiety.