Statement

New York Time’s “Tales from Persia” is an affront to the people of Iran

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December 7, 2015
New York Time’s “Tales from Persia” is an affront to the people of Iran

Earlier this year the New York Times decided to organize luxury trips to Iran. The planned trips, ostensibly buoyed by the new found relationship between Iran and the outside world was no doubt organized with cooperation by Iranian regime. The fact that a reputable outlet like the New York Times would pursue such an endeavor with an totalitarian regime raises serious concerns about the motivation and objective of this collaboration.

“Tales from Persia” is the orientalist name given to the trips to see “beautiful landscapes, arid mountains and rural villages.” To be sure, Iran is a beautiful country. But it should not have been lost on New York Times that the country is ruled by a regime is not only a leading state sponsor of international terrorism, but has the highest execution rate in the world.

The regime in Tehran has an abysmal human rights record, which includes the systematic repression of dissidents and journalists. The regime continues to enforce barbaric censorship of the press, and routinely imprisons individuals for their thoughts and ideas. The world witnessed this brutality and repression in 2009 when peaceful protestors were met bullets and batons.

The questionable timing and odd decorum surrounding this trip raises a number of questions for Iranians and Americans, particularly in regards to whether the New York Times has any regard for the rights and freedoms of the Iranian people and journalists in the country.

Apart from the exotification of Iranian culture, the tour seemingly trivializes the reality of the Iranian people who continue to live in one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world. The call to visit a country and discover its “secrets”, while the regime executes individuals at a record pace, is disrespectful to the people of Iran and their aspirations for change. The New York Times should seek to be a voice for the people of Iran in their quest for change, and bring to light the stories and struggle of Iranian dissidents, activists and journalists who remain imprisoned inside the country.

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