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Iran Journal

07/01/04 12:00AM By Steve Zind

Karim Khan Zand ruled Persia in the mid-1700s. VPR Reporter Steve Zind, a descendant of the ruler, takes us on a remarkable journey through the villages and cities of Iran in search of his family history. Along the way we experience the people, the beauty and at times the danger in this unique country.


Part 1: Arrival
It's 2 a.m. in Tehran's old and cavernous Mehrabad Airport. Everything is foreign. Outside, on one tall building there is a mural of a huge American flag and a skeletal Statue of Liberty.



Part 2: Tehran
City life in Iran is a pastiche of old traditions and youthful energy - from the tranquility of the bazaars to the pandemonium of the streets.



Part 3: To Pari
This mountain village is the birthplace of Karim Khan Zand, Steve Zind's ancestor who ruled Iran in the 18th century. It is still home to many Zands.



Part 4: Making Friends
A tense meeting on the train turns friendly, and young Iranians describe their love of the ancient culture and constraints of the Islamic government.



Part 5: Keeper of the Flame
Steve Zind meets a 95-year-old Zand patriarch. He is a direct descendant of Karim Khan Zand who has dedicated himself to preserving Zand sites and family history.



Photo Album
See Steve Zind's pictures of the people and places he describes in the series.



References on Iran


Online Resources:

Tehran Times - English language daily newspaper
Payvand - Roundup of Iran news coverage in world wide media.
Iran Chamber Society - information on art, culture and history
Mage - Listing of links to Web sites with Persian content
Karim Khan Zand - Information from the Iran Chamber

John Malcolm on Karim Khan Zand:
"The happy reign of this excellent prince, as contrasted with those who preceeded and followed him, affords the historian of Persia that kind of mixed pleasure and repose, which a traveler enjoys on arriving in a beautiful and fertile valley during an arduous journey over barren and rugged wastes. It is pleasing to recount the actions of a chief who, though born of an inferior rank, obtained power without crime, and who exercised it with a moderation that, for the times in which he lived, was as singular as his humanity and justice." (The History of Persia, 1829)

Books on Iran:

  • Sandra Mackey, The Iranians: Persia, Islam and the Soul of a Nation (Plume Books, 1998)
  • Elaine Sciolino, Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran (Free Press, 2000)
  • Christiane Bird, Neither East Nor West: One Woman's Journey Through the Islamic Republic of Iran (Washington Square Press, 2002)
  • John R. Perry, Karim Khan Zand: A History of Iran 1747-1779 (University of Chicago Press, 1979)
  • Related Links

    Iran Today Report from Iran
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