Currently, Iran has one of the youngest populations of any country in the world. Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iran’s population has grown to 76 million people — and 70% are under 35. But due to the policies of the current regime, the youth are deprived of basic social freedoms.
Iran is a theocracy. The government is based on Islamic and traditional beliefs, and thus tries to bring up traditional, Muslim youth. In the education system, instruction on the sacred and the religious begins in kindergarten. It continues unabated throughout the student’s time in school.
Some percentage of Iranian youths do adhere to the state-mandated traditions, but the rest try hard to live trendy, up-to-date lives. They would like to pursue romance, have sweethearts, go to parties and even drink alcohol. They want to live in the way they prefer.
Because they are deprived of basic social freedoms, many Iranian youths feel desperate. According to the Iranian Psychiatric Association Secretary, between 15 to 20 percent of Iranian youths suffer from depression. Many dream of immigration and living more freely somewhere abroad.
Many Westerners have a negative perception of Iran in their minds. They see images of fanatical Iranians and assume these beliefs are held by the whole population. My project aims to convey a portrait of the daily lives of Iranian youth, the ones who dream of pursuing “a free life”. I am trying to introduce the Iranian youth to the world and narrate their stories in ways that are true to their hopes.