Wojtek Ganczarek (IF+IM UJ), http://fizyk-w-podrozy.blogspot.com/
You probably know that Iran is not Iraq. But quite a lot of people do not. Anyway, probably also for you the first association with this country is “terrorism” or “atomic bomb”. During my talk I tried to convince the audience that this is - to say the least - not true.
Alcohol and most of the Internet is banned in Iran - so they do not use it? Ahmedinejad said that there are no gays in Iran - but also this is not the case. Western TV is blocked, but I got used to watch BBC exactly in Iran. How come? What kind of freedom do they really need? And, finally, how is it possible to wear jeans pants while it is as hot as 48 degrees?
I presented a bunch (like 100-200, most of them you can see here) photos from Iran that I made during my two travels to this great country, in 2010 and 2011. Starting from a compact review of the XX-century history of Iran, especially: Islamic Revolution, I presented how does Iran look like nowadays. I was talking a lot about people: how open-minded, intelligent, well-educated, hospitable and just very nice they are. Then, I said something about habits, unusual situations, about what is banned and how do people circumvent that and much much more various things and observiations derived from my own experiences, many conversations with Iranians in Iran and abroad and some books that I read. Just everything what contrasts with all the stereotypes that are growing over the world about Iran, mainly "thanks to" mass media. Take home message: do not identify people with totalitarian regime.
If you would like to know my view of Iran, just go to my webpage. I elaborated quite a lot of materials about this country: including some practical information (like: visa) and detailed description of my 1-month-long trip in 2011: http://fizyk-w-podrozy.blogspot.com/p/iran.html . If you do not feel like reading in Polish I can offer interesting article in english written by my friend from Iceland, about freedom in Iran: http://fizyk-w-podrozy.blogspot.ch/2012/06/o-iranie-i-wolnosci-goscinnie.html .
Among many books one can find about Iran I would suggest Shirin Ebadi "Iran Awakening. A memoir of Revolution and Hope" [polish edition: "Broniłam ofiar"] and a little bit older, but "classics": Ryszard Kapuściński "Szachinszach" [english edition: Shah of Shahs"].
You can also get to know a little bit of Iran from some good movies that are last time in cinemas, I mean: "Jodaeiye Nader az Simin" [english edition: "A Separation", polish edition: "Rozstanie"] by Asghar Farhadi and "Poulet aux prunes" [english edition: "Chicken with plums" , polish edition: "Kurczak ze śliwkami"] by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud. There is also a famous comics and a cartoon "Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi. If you would like to see how religious hierarchy of Iran abuse their power in a particular case of women, check on youtube a documentary called "Prostitution behind the vail".