Tehran - The End of the Road

Set at what seems to be a political collision course with the west, Iran has found itself at a crossroad of sorts where most people inside and outside Iran feel uncertain over what the future holds for the republic.

©2017 Fredrik Härenstam

The central district was formerly the entertainment area of Tehran with streets lined with discos, restaurants and cafés. Following the revolution and the consequent nightlife regulations, venues where shut down and the area fell into neglect.

©2017 Fredrik Härenstam

Young Tehranis arm-wrestel for fun in one of the roof-top cafés in northern Tehran atop The White Tower, the oldest of the city’s high-rises. As the geographical centre of Tehran decay, the urban focus shifts north to the financial district and the northern suburbs, home to the wealthy and influential.

©2017 Fredrik Härenstam

Today, central Tehran mainly consists of numerous small car-repair shops to go with the heavily trafficked streets. The only remnant from before the revolution are several hotels, now turned relatively cheap and dirty.

©2017 Fredrik Härenstam

Tehran, often called “the mega-capital of Iran”, literally translates into “the end of the road”, from it historically being the furthermost outpost on the trade route. The city has endured a massive growth mostly through migration during the Iran-Iraq war in the eighties, in total nearly doubling the population since the revolution.

©2017 Fredrik Härenstam

During the war, Tehran was repeatedly bombed and much of the city’s old quarters were lost. Due to lack of funding and proper planning, the Tehran of today is a traffic-congested and heavily polluted capital, rebuilt with Soviet-style apartments. But being the capital, Tehran also attracts the youth of the nation due to its reputation as being slightly more liberal than other areas of the Republic.

©2017 Fredrik Härenstam

Following the Chinese example, many believe that the best way forward is through focusing on further economical development rather than altering the political system. Few are happy with the system as such, but there is no public desire for another revolution.

©2017 Fredrik Härenstam

Foreign earnings are almost entirely based on oil export revenues, a stumbling industry damaged by widespread inefficiency and corruption. During recent years, Iran has through national media advocated the development of nuclear energy as the sole key to further economical growth and prosperity.

©2017 Fredrik Härenstam
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