Travel guru Rick Steves sheds light on Iran, calling it the most misunderstood country he has ever visited. He discusses his travels through the country and his new special airing on PBS.
From Friday prayer in a leading mosque to anti-American murals, Steves presents his message and experiences to help us better understand a nation that continues to be shrouded in mystery and clouded by myths and mistruths.
Rick Steves grew up in Edmonds, Washington and studied at the University of Washington where he received degrees in Business Administration and European History. Since 1973, he has spent 120 days a year in Europe.
Today he employs 80 people at his Europe Through the Back Door headquarters in Edmonds where he produces 30 guidebooks on European travel, the most popular travel series in America on public television, a weekly hour-long national public radio show, and a weekly column syndicated by the Chicago Tribune.
Country, Middle East, southwestern Asia. Area: 636,374 sq mi (1,648,200 sq km). Population (2009 est.): 74,196,000. Capital: Tehran. Persians constitute the largest ethnic group; other ethnic groups include Azerbaijanians, Kurds, Lurs, Bakhtyari, and Baloch. Languages: Persian (Farsi; official), numerous others. Religions: Islam (official; predominantly Shi'ite); also Zoroastrianism. Currency: rial. Iran occupies a high plateau, rising higher than 1,500 feet (460 metres) above sea level, and is surrounded largely by mountains. More than half of its surface area consists of salt deserts and other wasteland. About one-tenth of its land is arable, and another one-fourth is suitable for grazing. Iran's rich petroleum reserves account for about one-tenth of world reserves and are the basis of its economy. It is a unitary Islamic republic with one legislative house and several oversight bodies dominated by clergy. The head of state and government is the president, but supreme authority rests with the rahbar (leader), a ranking cleric. Human habitation in Iran dates to some 100,000 years ago, but recorded history began with the Elamites c. 3000 BCE. The Medes flourished from c. 728 but were overthrown in 550 by the Persians, who were in turn conquered by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE. The Parthians (seeParthia) created an empire that lasted from 247 BCE to 226 CE, when control passed to the Sasanian dynasty. Various Muslim dynasties ruled from the 7th century. In 1501 the Safavid dynasty was established and lasted until 1736. The Qajar dynasty ruled from 1796, but in the 19th century the country was economically controlled by the Russian and British empires. Reza Khan (seeReza Shah Pahlavi) seized power in a coup (1921). His son Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi alienated religious leaders with a program of modernization and Westernization and was overthrown in 1979; Shi'ite cleric Ruhollah Khomeini then set up an Islamic republic, and Western influence was suppressed. The destructive Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s ended in a stalemate. Since the 1990s the government has gradually moved to a more liberal conduct of state affairs.
Shame on you Mr. Steves. At 00:45 :00 of this clip you say: "if you are Bahii, I'm sorry, but get out of Iran". How much of apolgist of that regime can you get to insult our beloved Bahiis who are Iranians and who the hell are you to tell them to leave the mtherland?! Why don't you tell the occupyiers of our motherland the agents of BP (your sponsor) to get out of Iran?!
Just like the appeaser celebrities who visited Nazi Germany before 1939 and sung its praises.
Oh, did he also say "if you are gay, lesbian, or protest against the IR, I'm sorry, but get out of Iran." It amazes me that people who bristle at the slightest hint of encroachment upon their freedoms at home, have no problem waving off the feedoms of those who live in totalitarian regimes. Really impressive standards Mr. Steve has.
RICK STEVE is better off staying away from taking OIL money from the rapist terrorist Islamic Barbaric regime installed by the British Terrorist AYATOLLAH Elizabeth and BP.... SHAME ON RICK STEVES for not speaking against the Terrorist Islamic regime and talk about their cruelty against their own citizens...
RICK STEVES keep repeating himself "HE WANTS TO HUMANIZE IRAN".... He doesn't mention It's the government of IRAN which a Terrorist Rapist Fascist regime but he includes the IRANIANS which are PERSIAN and not ARABS like the terrorist Islamic Regime's leader.. DEATH TO ISLAMIC REGIME OCCUPYING IRAN ILLEGALY FOR 32 YEARS and THOSE WHO INSALLED THEM AND DEATH TO BLOOD SUCKING BP MAFIA AND BRITISH ISLAMIST SUPPORTERS !!!!
Everytime you ask the hard questions He goes off into I don`t want to do that, no I don`t want to know that, I`m sorry He just doesn`t get it, needs to whitness a stoneing, lashes, torture in prison. Usa does the same, Rick needs to stay at home and work with homeless. Leave Iran to the Iranians. Obviously Israel was not mentioned, not much on Nukes or Supreme being, I think all his film was filtered by the Iranian republic guard.I wonder how much they paid Rick for this unnecessary adventure of ignorance, ignoring the important Human issues of a fear based society, that tortures their YOUTH! Death to America is still the mantra in the Mosques!
I am Iranian but not Bahai, I loved everything Rick said about Iran and I loved the video but the only thing that bothered me was his comment about Bahais in Iran. why Bahai should leave there country because suddenly an Islamic government came to power. what if a bahai government comes to power in Iran then all the Muslims should vacate the country. plus leaving Iran is not that easy for any Iranian even if they had the money. many Bahai's in Iran even don't have the money. I have Bahai friends in Iran they just simply want to practise there religion in private but they are not allowed. in my school in Tehran teachers said nasty stuffs about Bahais and used the F words to describe there mothers and sisters knowing there are Bahais among the students. and they could not say a thing to defend them selves yes this is how Islam is a religion of god.
I was born Muslim but I don't like Islam or any religion but I have respect for those who believe it.
I'm also "what he calls a product of the new Islamic generation" and living in Iran right now, but I don't agree with you on "the crying for help" impression and that Mr Steves is even optimistic. Indeed, I think he's very realistic. Maybe the Iranians you know are "crying for help", but I know many Iranians who are enjoying their life and are happy with the system, albeit they may regret certain acts (the same as in the US), and they welcome foreigners warmly (e.g. the mullah in the Imam mosque whom Steve talked with).
It's important to understand the perplexing variety in Iranian attitudes: some are deeply secular, some are very religious, and most are between. I recently saw a Zogby poll in a Reader's Digest issue which found that 36% of Iranians want a more Islamic state, while 31% want a more secular one. This divided-ness in Iranian opinions fools many Iranians and non-Iranians who try to conclusively label Iranians as "religious", "supporting their government" or "secular", "wanting to throw the mullahs out".