Shaparak Shajarizadeh is an Iranian activist and co-author of “Freedom is not a crime”. She relates how she got “fed up with living a lie” and decided to take off her veil in Iran as an act of civil disobedience. Detained three times, she tells she faced “the most horrible things in the world” during interrogations. She warns about the violation of human rights that have been “worsening” in her country, in spite of the hopes raised by the so-called reformists over the last few years.
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In This Story: France
France is a republic and the largest Western European nation. Through expansion and colonisation in the 17th and 18th centuries France became a great power and still retains territories around the world. It has a seat on the UN security council and is the world’s fourth most wealthy country with a high standard of living and strong cultural identity.
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In This Story: Freedom
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In This Story: Iran
Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BC. The Iranian Revolution established the current Islamic Republic in 1979.
Iran’s political system combines elements of a presidential democracy and an Islamic theocracy. Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, OIC, and OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power and has large reserves of fossil fuels — including the world’s largest natural gas supply and the third largest proven oil reserves.
The country’s rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Historically a multi-ethnic country, Iran remains a pluralistic society comprising numerous ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris, Kurds, Mazandaranis and Lurs.