The following is by an Iran expert who wishes to remain anonymous. Grave, soft-spoken, the exiled Iranian religious scholar Abdolkarim Soroush is a living record of the Iranian revolution. As a fanatical young supporter of Ayatollah Khomeini, he helped purge Iran’s universities of leftists and secularists in the early 1980s.
Asghar Farhadi’s film Nader and Simin: A Separation, is a fine account of Iran’s predicament; anyone interested in the mysteries of change and tradition—the difficulties faced by many people as they try and reconcile themselves to modern values and norms—will learn much from it. I saw it in Tehran this summer, and so movingly did it reflect what I was witnessing around me, I was surprised that the authorities had allowed it to be screened and its creator and leading actors to travel to Germany to be honored by the Berlin Film Festival.