How a fatal car crash in Iran exposed growing anger towards super-rich

Ordinary Iranians feeling the pinch of sanctions lash out at occupants of luxury cars that have come to symbolise the opulence of Tehran’s ‘rich kids’

Many Iranians believe the income gap between rich and poor wider than ever.

The death of a glamorous 20-year-old woman in a high-speed car accident in a canary yellow Porsche in Tehran has stirred up anger about the growing wealth gap in Iran.An immediate media buzz led curious social media users to an Instagram page set up by friends of Parivash Akbarzadeh, and this soon became a clearing house for all manner of sentiments regarding Akbarzadeh’s death.

Followers of her personal Instagram page increased from 20,000 to 40,000 in just a few days, while users shared 18,000 comments. Stunning photos decorating the page contrasted with many comments expressing hatred and disgust.“You should have known this day would come after you walked around outdoors looking like that,” wrote a user named Sara. “You got what was coming to you.”“This is what happens to jumped-up rich kids,” a user named Elahe wrote repeatedly under the stream of Akbarzadeh’s photos.

Akbarzadeh had her supporters. Many regarded her as a celebrity. They mourned her and honoured her life through comments and poems, and attacked those who spoke ill of her. “You savages are the lowest of the low, circling her grave like a bunch of drooling hyenas,” wrote Nasser. “Get bent, you aren’t worth a fraction of what she was.”The passenger in the Porsche, Mohammad Hossein Rabbani-Shirazi, died a few hours after the accident. He had purchased the car just a few days earlier and had allowed Akbarzadeh to take him for a spin.

But his identity added further drama because he was the grandson of Ayatollah Rabbani-Shirazi, once an aid to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the 1979 Revolution. Ayatollah Abdolrahim Rabbani-Shirazi took part in the revolution and then acted as the representative of Khomeini in three of Iran’s provinces and sat on the body tasked with writing a new constitution. He was also a member of the Guardian Council, the Islamic constitutional watchdog, until his death – ironically in a car crash – in 1982.

This regime connection to the fatal accident in a Porsche, the symbol par excellence of Tehran’s rich kids, further inflamed many social media users and may have prompted an intervention by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Khomeini’s successor as Iran’s supreme leader. On 26 April, Khamenei strongly criticised young Tehranis flaunting luxury cars as a sign of “emotional insecurity” and accused them of being “intoxicated by pride in wealth”. He called on the police to produce “a plan for confronting all of the different aspects of insecurity facing society”.Nor was Khamenei the first to speak in such terms.

Whether he knew it or not, he was echoing the words of someone he has kept under house arrest for four years for supporting street protests after the disputed 2009 presidential election.“We’re opposed to this kind of unabashed affluence,” Mir Hossein Mousavi told voters in the poor southern Tehran neighbourhood of Naazy Abad in March 2009, in the first speech of his presidential campaign. “When the wealthy parade their luxury cars in front of the less fortunate, it constitutes an oppression of the working classes.”

The increasing sight of luxury vehicles has brought the issue of inequality onto Iran’s streets. Just past the prominent overpass on grand Mir Damad Avenue, I run into Yaqoub. He’s 40-ish and dressed in a tattered shirt that seems tailor made for his face. Yaqoub’s appearance illustrates the Tehrani colloquialism of “carton-sleeper” because with the most basic lodgings in the capital beyond his means, he has to sleep in a cardboard box.“I swear to the eighth Imam [an 8th-century Shia leader whose shrine is in Mashhad, Iran], I haven’t eaten for a whole day. I have no work and no money. When I panhandle, no one gives me anything. I’m not old enough for them to feel pity for me yet. People slap me around and tell me to go get a job.”

If an empty belly weren’t enough, Yaqoub has nicotine craving to nurse. He fishes a packet of cheap Farvardeen cigarettes out of a pocket, strikes a match, and takes a drag.“I swear to God, it’s debilitating,” he says. “Well, I was only a kid then, but I well recall that during the revolution they spoke of the oppressed, ‘the revolution of the barefooted’. Look at me, and there are thousands like me in this town, a million even. How is it that we don’t have something to eat or a place to lay down our heads?….

Read on at:-

İran filmleri;insanı filmin içine hapseden hayatın acı gerçeklerini yüzüne gözüne acımadan vuran filmler. Ben bu filmlerde içimden ağladığım için donuk bir ifadeyle filmi izleyip bitiriyorum ..
Gözlerimi ekrandan kaydırıp,Savaş'ın ortasında aç susuz yalnız kalan hayat mücadelesi veren insanların yanına gidiyorum.
Sonra tekrar oldugum yere dönüp kaldığım yerden başka bir İran filmine kadar hayat çok güzel-miş gibi ..
aç susuz savaşın ortasında çocuklar babalar anneler insanlar yokmus gibi..
bütün Katliamlar Savaşlar Halepçe yasanmamıs gibi ..
yasamaya devam ediyorum senin gibi herkes gibi ..

One contestant, graphic artist Massoud Shoajaei Tabatabaii, told Press TV the contest was being held “in order to reveal the true nature of Daesh” (the Persian name for Isis). He said: “Daesh tries to associate itself with Islam but in essence it has no idea about Islam.”

Ignorant People

Me: Do you know anything about Cyrus?

Girl: Laughing, “NO one knows anything about Cyrus”

Me: *silently tells self not to blow up in rage*

Teacher: “Isn’t he from a movie? 300?”

Me: *silently tells self not to shoot anyone in the face*

Okay, lets start this out. I don’t usually rant, but I’m doing it, and you can read it if you want to. If not, keep scrolling. If someone comes from a background different from yours, please don’t insult their history. Especially when their history shaped your present day activities/language. Especially when people have been trying to alter their history for years, trying to make it look bad. Especially when you don’t know enough about the history in general to make a negative statement. If I didn’t go to a Catholic School, God knows what could’ve came out of mouth or the magnitude of force behind my fists to the girl who made such a statement. Degrading Cyrus in front of a Persian person is like telling an American that Thomas Jefferson doesn’t matter. Or like telling a British person that Queen Elizabeth I doesn’t matter. Of course, none of these examples can resemble how a great of a degree that Cyrus insult was.

Sure, Some of you may think I’m overreacting. But, I’m not. Why? Because Ancient Persia has been invaded by Greeks, Arabs, Mongols, and many more. All of them enslaving, raping, decapitating, stoning. All of them forcing their own religion through Perisan bodies with the point of a sword. All trying to change a language that contained no cuss words. All trying to change the alphabet because it didn’t match theirs. Did any of them try to compromise with Ancient Persia? No. Was there any ruler in ancient history, who tried to compromise with different languages and culture? Yes, the Persian king of kings, Cyrus the Great. Deserving to be called the Great, Cyrus created the first charter of human rights, the Cyrus Cylinder(No it wasn’t the Magna Carta). He freed the Jews from Babylon when they were being slaughtered, he allowed for gender equality(and we still have problems with gender equality today), created the first taxing system, he allowed NO slavery, created the first postal system(Royal Road), and the Jews referred to him as the Messiah. The fucking messiah. Do you know who else is called that? Jesus fucking Christ. Now, there are many, many, more accomplishments that Cyrus did, but here were just a few. If you have read this, you probably now understand why he was such an important guy. Can you think of any other ruler BEFORE him who established such laws?

If anyone didn’t know about Cyrus, especially the Persians, that would essentially mean that they didn’t know a specific part of their history. If someone doesn’t know their history, they don’t know who they are. If someone says, “No one knows anything about Cyrus” that means you’ve told me that Ancient Persia’s history is not that important and that you’d rather have that information swiped under rug so that information is never discovered. Persians have had to put up with this type of shit for ages. For example, you know why Iran is one of the only countries in the Middle East that isn’t Arabic? Because a man named Ferdowsi wrote an epic called the Shahnameh, that was entirely written in pure Parsi(not farsi, because when the arabs came they got rid of the P because they don’t have that letter in their language). By the way the Ferdowsi single handedly saved the written and oral language and history. The purpose of the longest epic ever written by a single poet was to prevent this history from being lost to future Persian generations. The Arabs cut off the tongues of the people who spoke Parsi. Did that scare Ferdowsi? No, because he knew we weren’t going to put up with their shit. Or how about how Greeks claim that the English word “Paradise” comes from the Greek word “Parádeisos.” Nope. The Greeks got it from the Persian word “پردیس” I know that some of you can’t read that, but it’s pronounced “Pear dees.” How about the concept of the Phoenix rising from its ashes? That’s not Greek, it is Persian. Or how about Christianity? That religion is based off Zoroastrianism, the first monotheistic religion that created the dualism of good and evil, heaven and hell, angels, and the concept of ONE God. Or how about the 18th century German Philosophers who compared the linguistics of Farsi and German and concluded that similar languages must equal similar heritage? So they concluded that if Iranians were Aryan that would mean they are too. This of course led to Hitler creating the Holocaust and saying that all Germans are Aryan and they have blonde hair, blue eyes, blah, blah, blah. The word Iran itself translates to “Land of the Aryans.” If someone ever asked me what I was, I could say Aryan. But of course they would think I’m racist because freaking Hitler ruined the term for Iran, Northern India, Kurdistan and other countries.

Persians are tough and resistant, they don’t give up. You trying to put me down by trying to erase my history? I will write and preach about the richness of my background until I lose my breath. It is not my fault that you were not as lucky to be born Persian.

So, when the girl laughed and said “NO one knows anything about Cyrus” all of this stuff was rolling through my head. Telling her off on the spot wouldn’t have solved anything, because I didn’t want to waste my time with someone who has a mind that is closed with a limited capacity. Then a guy says “Oh, Cyrus like in 300?” It’s like, are you fucking kidding me? 300 is a damn comic book. Are you actually going to believe Herodotus, also? He’s one of the first accounts of historic bias.

So, I’m still angry, but I just wanted to get that out. If you read all of this, congrats. You are smarter than you were before because schools don’t teach this information(even though Ancient Persia contributed so much to our present society). If you read this and already knew this information, then you are a blessing on this Earth.



Mahdi Ehsaei’s “Afro-Iran – The Unknown Minority“ Photobook is Now Available for Purchase.

Earlier this month, we talked to German-Iranian photographer Mahdi Ehsaei about the history of Africans in Iran and his experience creating his photo series documenting Afro-Iranians in southern Iran.

After publishing his photos online, his book “Afro-Iran The Unknown Minority” is now available for purchase. The first of its kind, publication features a series of 60 portraits and mood pictures, in colour, as well as essays that explore the historical and cultural significance of an often unacknowledged minority that has shaped culture in both southern Iran and other parts of the country. It also describes the more than 500 year old history of Africans in Iran, from enslavement by traders up to their emancipation in 1928.

Support the Afro-Iran project on Kickstarter and receive exclusive rewards. You can also purchase the book directly on Mahdi’s website

Read our interview with him.

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Banu Goshasp: The Heroine Ancient Iran Wanted

(for more detailed version, with footnotes and citations, click here)

The mythology of ancient Iran comes across, to some extent, like (really) old-school superhero movies. Each of the characters has solo adventures, but when the country is endangered, they all band together to break out the industrial-size cans of whoop ass. A mainstay of these o.g. Iranian Avengers was Banu Goshasp: accomplished butt-kicker and daughter of team leader Rostam.

But unlike most female superheroes, Banu Goshasp got her own movies. Plenty of them.

The cycle of stories which feature Banu Goshasp are collectively known as the Sistani Cycle, and revolve around the heroes of the Sistan region. The most famous piece of literature featuring them is the Shahnameh, which, in most versions, doesn’t actually feature Banu Goshasp. She does, however, show up in a ton of other texts, primarily her own 900-verse epic poem, the Banugoshaspnameh. Which is pretty great.

Banu Goshasp’s first big adventure was one of rebellion. Although her father Rostam strictly warned her not to go into the neighboring kingdom to hunt, she and her brother Faramarz, being teenagers who knew better than everyone else, went anyway. In response, Rostam: disguised himself as an itinerant wanderer; threatened to beat them up and sell them into slavery; and started wrasslin’ with them.

Rostam had some unorthodox ideas about parenting.

After Rostam narrowly beat each of them one-on-one, Banu Goshasp said “fuck it, I ain’t gonna be a slave,” and started going at her father with a sword. After a couple rounds of stabbing, she realized she was actually cutting up her dad and stopped short of killing him. (he, being the Superman to the Sistani heroes’ Justice League, was fine)

In the second of her adventures, Banu Goshasp was adventuring about when a prince from a neighboring country fell in love with her. Soon thereafter he left, but a Turkish warrior, figuring that she’s probably pretty awesome if a prince fell for her, decided the thing to do was to abduct her.

She then cut him in half. The end.

Adventure three was also one of potential suitors – this time three Indian kings, whom she challenged to a joust. The rules were simple: first one able to knock her out of the saddle, she’d marry. The end tally: 1 dead, 1 injured, 1 runaway, and 1 unmarried woman.

Her longest story revolved around the man she did finally marry. This was an arranged marriage, set up after her dad heard that there was a banquet of drunk guys nearby who all wanted to marry her. Figuring that a frat row’s worth of alcoholics was a fine place for matchmaking, unconventional father Rostam went forth to present them with a challenge. He laid out a big carpet and had all 400 of the fine upstanding young drunks sit on it. He then shook the carpet vigorously, and only one lush was able to stay on: the mighty hero Giv, who was now to be her husband.

Giv, however, was no match for Banu Goshasp – at least if she had anything to say about it. Come their wedding night, she beat him up, bound him with rope, and stuffed him in a closet. Once he got free, she did so again. And again and again and again. In the end, Giv had to get Rostam to intervene in order to prevent her from stuffing him into closets. Finally she relented and they had a pretty decent marriage afterwards, or so the story goes.

Although those are the biggest of her adventures, she had a number of others:

  • She once rescued a fairy king from the king of all djinns (who had himself transformed into a fierce lion). In the end, she killed said djinn king, which I didn’t even think was possible.
  • She went on adventures in India, where she fought and killed demons alongside her brother, Faramarz.
  • She embroidered her own portrait, which was reproduced and spread over the world, letting everyone know how gorgeous she was. Not a shy woman, Banu Goshasp.
  • In a war with one of the toughest opponents in the entire myth cycle (the guy actually ends up killing Faramarz), she defeated an endless stream of warriors, humiliating them in the process. After a particularly nasty warrior insulted her for being a woman, she informed him she that was going to: shave off his beard; kill him; chop him up; and feed him to dogs. Not necessarily in that order, either. She carried through on around half of said threats.

Sadly, none of her adventures have been directly translated into English, and as of this writing, only summaries exist for her various exploits.


I had a ton of fun making this one! I put a lot of callbacks to her various adventures in her room.

  • Chief among them is her awesome self-embroidery on the right wall. I figure if she was going to depict herself, it’d be on top of a mountain of corpses, with sparkles and rainbows. Because that’s just doing it right.
  • Her closet, to the right of that, has no clothes in it, just armor and weaponry.
  • Mounted on the wall above her bed are the heads of a demon and the transformed djinn king. I like the idea that it’s the first thing she sees in the morning.
  • There’s a sword underneath her pillow, because of course there is.

Here’s her embroidery in greater detail:

Also: this is the fiftieth illustration I’ve put online! Woo, milestone!


First off, I want to thank my flatmate Ladan for helping out with some of this. Tracking down concrete info on Banu Goshasp was a process of many months, and involved some translation from Farsi. I’m quite grateful.

Now, as for the guesses: I am pleased that I was able to throw a lot of you. Many assumed I was talking about Scheherezade, but she’s got nothing to do with the Shahnameh! *evil cackle*

25/59 (42%) guessed correctly:
Swanface, fontrum, Lily, Amber Glenn-Thomas, Ria Cajucom, Jojo Mellow, Steampunk_Gypsy, Satan’sPixie, awsmpup, Andraya, Tessa, Whit, cookiemomster, CMG, theclumsiestninja, Maggie Canby, blueinkblot, Kristin Impellizzeri, appletrap (who guessed multiple times, you sneak), LynnG, xbeccuhb0o, Kate McFadden, Arabella Caulfield, Alana Ju, Keith McComb


Since this is illustration number 50, and I need a breather, I’m using next week to catch up on book entries. I’ll see you in two weeks, and here’s your hint:

Setting fire to your Viking suitors: fun, but bound to earn you an unflattering nickname.

(submit guesses here, and if you’re right, I’ll list you under ‘shout-outs’ next week!)


Iranian Cartoonist Faces Prison, Floggings for Mocking Birth Control Bill

A 29-year-old Iranian artist and women’s rights activist is facing up to two years in prison, plus corporal punishment, for a cartoon she drew last year criticizing a bill that would outlaw some forms of birth control. Atena Farghadani’s trial finished in just one day this week, but the judge said he may take “anywhere between a week and 20 days” to render a verdict.

Read more…