WEDER GEFANGEN NOCH FREI The economy is weakening in Iran, life is guarded, controlled by the Iranian guardians of public morals and the family. Obeying Islamic rules and the family is necessary. The constantly increasing unemployment created the people‘s dissatisfaction. Obviously a university degree does not automatically ensure a job these days in Iran. The younger generations is disappointed with president Hassan Rouhani; they expected life to get better when sanctions were lifted after a deal was reached in 2015 And during all this, a whole generation is on the run from political and religious persecution missed with a lack of perspective; with a glance at Europe, Australia and Canada without wanting to leave the country at the same time; knowing they will miss sometimes their cage.

Nearly eight years have passed since the Movement when on the 28th day of december 2017

demonstrations began in the northeastern city of Mashhad before spreading throughout the entire Iran

after the country dramatically cut subsidies for its citizens to bolster the nation‘s sagging economy;

it taken on an Anti-Government Movement and the slogans quickly changed from the rising food and gasoline prices to target the country’s president, Hassan Rohani. Iranian had hoped that the economic would boost after the nuclear deal relieved the country of sanctions after a deal was reaches in 2015 with six world powers, including the United States. It would opened it up to international markets. They expected life to get better. Instead, the constantly increasing unemployment created the people‘s dissatisfaction. The younger generations is disappointed with president Hassan Rohani.


Thousands take to the streets to protest against the regime; shout for freedom and speak their voice of discontent while Anti-Government demonstrators ripping down posters of Iran´s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, including setting fire and unprecedented calls for Khamenei to step down, shows a video on social media even when the Ministry of Interior threats with consequences. In another video, Iranian chanting “We don´t want an Islamic Republic” and “Death to the dictator”, which is also circulating on socail media which has helped to organized tens of thousands in the protests, such as Iran´s religious centers Qom and Mashhad; Compared to 2009 when protests primarily occurred in Tehran. It seems to be this time a direct challenge to the rule of the Supreme Leader which didn´t happen 2009.

Perfect shaped eyebrows, a tiny bit of foundation, light and shiny lipstick while her hair is held back from a black headscarf; the young woman is very careful concerned to cover her anxieties and feelings of insecurity through her outer beauty. As a way of alleviating their lack of freedom; under the restriction of a dress code in Iran. With a melancholy gleam in her eyes Shirin - not her real name -  remembers the Green Movement in 2009 when there was a feeling of anger and the desire for justice tangible in the air that was so heavy and thick as the smoky roads of Tehran. “The streets smelled the nauseating stench of blood” includes Shirin with a strong voice, scrunch up unconsciously her face, still lies deep the experiences of the brutality during the Green Movement 2009. „It is cruel that the Iranian Government forces us to escape.” a bit harsh to underline her opinion. They are on the run, not in the classical sense, but migration through education.

She also wants to emigrate, preferably to Germany and hopes to do her doctorate at the Max Planck Institute. If not German it will be Australia where her boyfriend´s family settled down some years ago.

One thing is certain; at any price Shirin wants to leave Iran for a better life abroad.


Man is crossing the street early in the morning in west Tehran.

Mahta whispers the sentences again and again while her fragile forefingers follow to keep the track. She underlines in between some of the words; each one with a different colour.

Her english exercise book is strewn with long or short rectangular areas in mint green, pale apricot and baby blue; soft colors are reminiscent of spring. She hopes to burns the words indelibly into her memory. Every morning, before even her roommates wake up, Mahta leaves her room and takes place at her usual table in the cafeteria downstairs; close to the window facing the door. The 32 year-old woman decided to move out from her parents, to focus on her studies without any disruption. Since than, she lives in a Pension in Tehran´s city center where every young women either came to study in the capitol or want to apply at the German Embassy for Visa. With passing her IELTS in June there will be nothing stopping her journey Australia. “No, I don´t want to marry” says Mahta with a clear voice. In her eyes being married means to be dependent to a man and she would need her husband‘s authorization for almost everything.

The events of the Movement in 2009 in T


She says “ I think the Revolution in 1979 was staged from USA and Europe. They wanted to

weakening Iran intentionally.” convinced that “America and Europa want to oppress Iran´s power” when

remerbering how she stayed home and followed entranced the interrupted television broadcast of the events on BBC in front on the television screen when people took to the streets at the Green Movement; too afraid to step outside the house. She makes always sure not to stand out and to attracting attention on herself in public linked to her anxiety.


Men in long white clothes combined with turban on their head and mostly long light black coat. Akhoonds, common know as Mullah are Islamic priests who are responsible for leading religious services in a community, the prayers in the mosques, deliver religious sermons and perform religious ceremonies, such as birth rites and funeral services, dominate

President Hassan Rouhani warned that violence would not be tolerated and videos posted on social media showed a heavy police presence; armed police march in the streets and anti-riot police were riding on motorbikes with sticks on the streets of Tehran. Social media apps like Instagram and Telegram, which have been used by Iranians to share news about the protests, had temporarily limited the access.

A tank dummy is an eyecatcher for countless visitors at the giant Behesht-e Zahra cemetery, not far away form   the holy shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to visualize Iran´s power.

The Holy Shrine of Ayatollah Chomein contains his tomb enclosed in a stainless steel zarih, a cage-like casing through which pilgrims pay their respects. Men and women approach respectfully from different sides while guardians ensuring that both sexes do not cross the invisible line which begins at the chair.

The complex covers 20 sq km, construction began 1989, but parts of it are yet to be completed. The plan is for the ceiling of the interior to be covered with tiny mirrors.

 Thousands of Iranian emigrate every year for an abroad university because most of them are afraid of what may happen in future. Another reason is the parents, they want their children to study in a country with less conflicts and a chance of a better living based to high unemployment among the Iranian youth. Many graduates take up unfulfilling careers as “pseudo taxi-drivers” than virtually everybody goes to university. Both men and women are increasingly educated in Iran while according to the Statistical Center of Iran, more than half of university students have been women since 2000, and the number reached in the next years. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) reports that more than 48,000 Iranian students were studying abroad in 2014 compared to 2008 when under 27,000 Iranian were at foreign institutions. A whole generation is on the run from political and religious persecution missed with a lack of perspective; with a glance at Europe, Australia and Canada without wanting to leave the country at the same time; knowing they will miss sometimes their cage.

Looks over Tehran  towards the Kooh mountains.


Among the youth, social media platforms like Instagram and Telegram are very popular since it is not filtered either and is easily accessable, if it is not (yet) been blocked by the regime; seeing how people enjoy their rights and freedom besides Iran. Social media platforms become crucial to antigovernment demonstrators to organizing and delivering messages and videos to other citizens in Iran. One million Iranians had smartphones when Iranians took to the streets in 2009 in protests while today more than half of the country’s population own a smartphone - why the goverment cut off sporadically  the internet access to several cities since Dec. 31 2017 when protest erupted throughout the entire country.





A young women surrendered by students celebrating birthdays, playing backgammon in a cafe in the backyard of a bookshop; separated from the noises of this city with the hum of cars and horns. Her bleached blond hair is covered by a loosely sitting black headscarf as many other Iranian women.

A thick strand of hair covers her right eye before placing them behind her ear, she speaks clear but quite which indicated her shyness and young age. Samira was in those days of the protests too young to witness the Green Movement. Even struggling hard with Iran´s restrictive rules for women, the young music student is convinced that there is a slow improvement in the past thirty years to show in Iran why she

cannot see the point to fight against the government; thanks to the liberalization the last two years the little by little when Iranian women cover their hair just at the back of the head. Sliding forward in her chair “We tast the freedom and does not want to give it back” says the women while declares at the same time, almost ignorant, she is not interested in politics because nothing is going to chance anyway, whoever who may be in power.

Murmurs and whispers on their lips increases slowly to deep and strong voices that echoes on the streets of Tehran; suppresses the city noises. Thousand of Iranian are craving for their civil right from every corner of the city, from Azadi street over Azadi Station and Jenah Highway and desire to know “Where is my vote”.

On this days in Tehran, June 2009, the streets were crowded with people, young and old, men and

women, gathered together in a calm and peaceful protest after President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad was announced as winner with 62,6 percent of the vote while Iranian were still waiting in line to vote.

The City Theater in Tehran built with the initiative of Shahbanu Farah Pahlavi, wife of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran. Today, a meeting place for many Iranian.

“I fled to a mosque, to the women‘s part where old traditional women wore black chadors, the hijab.

They allowed me to stay next to them, we have thought that they would think she was my mother when the police came on their motorcycles and also beat the women there with sticks. I started to run again after the women next to me was hit in her face.” He was 19 years young then, and had just started to study in Tehran when he participated in the protest during the Green Movement. Out of the corner of his eye a pregnant woman was beat in her belly on the street. In order to escape the crowded streets, Massoud jumped over the wall into a empty house where he hid for five hours. The experiences of those days still wander like a ghost in his memories.

“I cannot describe it, you need to feel it. It was a ware zone like in the movies.” says the 27 year old with a deep voice, including how frustrating it is to be born in a country where you can not live when he faced the brutality often enough. Following the current demonstration in Iran, hesitating to participate have strengthen his decision to study in Germany; convinced when the Arab Spring erupts in Iran as well, then it may be just a small step to civil war which will cause brutal conflicts in the Middle East.


 Iran is a moderately conservative Islamic country but more and more social etiquette are flouting by the Iranian youth while the morals police are not as active as they once were. People holding hands in the public, sitting tight to each other in the park even that unmarried couples are living together. Manteaus continuing to grow progressively shorter and tighter. The headscarf hang on a small, pointy bun on the back of women’s heads. And being arrested for “violating” the social etiquette by showing too much hair or , ends often with a fine of 20 Euro. It turned to a routine affair for them.


Golestan Palace

Golestan Palace

Two boys on their way to school.

Women getting taught how to be a leader in a company and talks about marketing strategy.

Iranian culture is adult-oriented with parents being involved in making major decisions for their children, such what profession they should have; to make sure their children will have the best possible education. Therefore plays education a large part in their life.

Parents are waiting in front of a school in west Tehran.

Iranian culture is adult-oriented with parents being involved in making major decisions for their children, such what profession they should have; to make sure their children will have the best possible education. Therefore plays education a large part in their life.

Parents are waiting in front of a school in west Tehran.

The  Golestan Palace (Palace of Flowers) is one of the oldest groups of buildings in Tehran why construction works are necessary due also to countless visitors; the Shah reign enjoys still respect among mostly young Iranian curious what life was like before the Iranian monarchy was abolished and nostalgic for the past.

the Laleh Park in central Tehran with small food stands has become a popular meeting place for young people and families to enjoy the evening accompanied with cardamon tea.



The shrine is fan impressive complex lanked by four 91m-high towers which symbolise Khomeini’s age when he died. The huge gold central dome is adorned with 72 tulips, which symbolise the 72 martyrs who fought and died with Imam Hossein in Karbala.

The holy shrine is surrounded by the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery which commemorates the killed Iranian soldiers who died 1980-88 in the Iran-Iraq, as well died fighting against IS.

“Getting killed for someting sacred is the secret o victory” is written in blue; praising the martyr´s death. Families make excursions to pray and show their respect for those killed soldiers at the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery.

The Golestan Palace (Palace of Flowers) is one of the oldest groups of buildings in Teheran, became the seat of government of the Qajar family, which came into power in 1779 and made Teheran the capital of the country and is located in the heart and historic core of Tehran used for formal royal receptions and most important ceremonies were held in the Palace during the Pahlavi era when the Shah was deposed.


Today, the former Palace, a colorful and impressive complexe turned into a museum where Iranian

sympathy for the Pahlavi Family called as the father of modern Iran