The Current

Beyond the headlines, what life is really like in Iran

As a diplomatic deadline approaches between the West and Iran for a nuclear accord, we're asking about the regular people of Iran... living far from the glare of foreign news. In the end, it is their opinions that will determine any real change between Us and Them.
The latest deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran is looming, has the media focusing on diplomacy and foreign policy and perpetuates a Western misunderstanding of what life is really like in the country. (REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi )
Tehran carpet seller Majid, is confident that Iran's future looks bright. (CBC News)

There's a lot of attention focused right now on what he and his counterparts have to say, in advance of a June 30th deadline for sealing a final nuclear deal with the West. 

And as important as this diplomacy may be for a more peaceful future Middle East, there is a danger in focusing too closely on it -- That hanging on to the officials' every last word could pull our attention away from the region's bigger story: the one of social and cultural change, happening on the ground.

Iran's youth are disappointed they are so isolated, they want to embrace Western countries, says CBC's Derek Stoffel in Tehran. (EUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl )

It's happened before, after all. Think back to the dying days of the Soviet Union.  Western headlines were focused on talks over mid-range missiles.... ignoring the story of the crashing Soviet economy which ultimately led to real change.

So today, we're looking for the story outside the official story -- the one that's happening at street level. At that's where we've reached the CBC's Derek Stoffel, in Tehran.

Ramin Jahanbegloo is an Iranian-Canadian and world renowned philosopher. He's an Associate Professor and the York-Noor Visiting Chair in Islamic Studies in York University's Department of Political Science. He feels Canada should pay more attention to Iranian civil society. 

One barrier to understanding between Iran and the West is that there are few conversations between everyday people on both sides of the divide. But an art project called Portal is trying to make that happen. Portal uses today's technology and life-size, two-way screens, to get people talking.

Michelle Moghtader is the Co-Founder of Shared Studios, the art collective behind the Portal project. She was in New Haven, Connecticut. 

This segment was produced by The Current's Sarah Grant, Howard Goldenthal and Acey Rowe. 


A Place Between Amnesia and Vengeance - Ramin Jahanbegloo, Iran Wire

Iran parliament bars key nuclear concessions - Reuters