For an outsider, mind-eye coordination is a difficult art to master in Iran. Matching what one knows, through what one has heard or read, with what the eye sees on the streets, in homes, markets and campuses takes a while. And when they don’t, every stereotype lies shattered. The stereotype of a veiled and distressed society edging towards the end of its tether? Not true. The stereotype of an Islamic republic that only subjugates women? Not true. The stereotype of a country brought to its knees due to sanctions? Not true.
For a country pummelled by severe economic sanctions by the United States and its western allies for over three decades and considered an international pariah for years, Iran surely has done well to recover. If it bears scars and wounds from the years of economic deprivation, it does not easily show them. To an outsider, it does not give the impression of being a victim nation. On the contrary, Iran is keen to show off its progress and its ability to bounce back and cock a snook at the US’s elaborate machinery of control and punishment.