Skip to content
Think Again Podcasts

Land of paradoxes: the inner and outer Iran – with Delphine Minoui

Secret Spice Girls dance parties of the wives of anti-western morality police. Book deals for political prisoners still in jail. Iran is a land of contradictions where oppression and freedom uneasily coexist. Born in France, Delphine Minoui lived in Tehran for 10 years to understand her grandparents' country from the inside.
Key Takeaways
  • Why even liberal Iranians think the revolution was worth it
  • What the west gets right and wrong about Iran

I remember visiting New York when I was 18 and thinking about coming here for college. How badly I wanted to be “from” New York. How cool, how real, how substantial that would be.

What does it mean to be “from” any place? At what point do you own the culture like you own your native language? Your very own little shard of the broken mirror that adds up to New York. Or Irkutsk. Or Tehran?

Actually, you can’t own a culture: it owns you. And you can’t immerse yourself in a different culture without turning into a different person.

My guest today, investigative reporter Delphine Minoui, grew up in a relatively orderly, secular France. She wanted to know what it meant to be from Iran, her grandfather’s country, under the veil of the Islamic Republic. Over a decade living there, she found out. Her book I’M WRITING YOU FROM TEHRAN is the story of that investigation and how it changed her.

Smarter faster: the Big Think newsletter
Subscribe for counterintuitive, surprising, and impactful stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday

Surprise conversation starters in this episode:

Robert Sapolsky on religious faith in the brain


Related

Up Next