Iran’s Next Generation

Mehrnaz, Iranina university student, age 19 - Photo by Ziyah Gafic / VII for Newsweek

The Iranian Future Lies with the Young Generation.

To see the future of the Islamic Republic, don’t look at the political leaders in Tehran. With some 70 percent of the population under the age of 30, photographer Ziyah Gafic chose to look at Iran’s young people through a series of portraits.

Two years ago this June, the young people of Iran burst onto the geopolitical stage when they poured into the streets to protest the contested results of the country’s presidential election. As the regime in Tehran cracked down, a highly educated and technologically savvy generation offered the world a street-level view of deep dissent via tweets and grainy YouTube videos, Many are pointing to the protests in June 2009 as inspiration for the Arab Spring now sweeping across the Middle East.

Sitting down with young Iranians recently, NEWSWEEK found artists and university students who were optimistic, yet unsure of the future. They were eager to be seen and  heard by Westerners, who, they say, don’t really understand them. Considering their country’s demographics, these are some of Iran’s most important voices.

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3 thoughts on “Iran’s Next Generation

  1. Too bad Iranian leaders are prone to subsidize international terrorism, especially against Israel. Israel’s new generation looks about as pretty as that of Iran. I bet the Albanian new generation of youths looks pretty too, some with Beckett’s portrait hung in the background, to “subtly” denote culture, intellectual superiority, right? This whole gallery of photos and the message accompanying it (“We’re not terrorists”) are somewhat missing the point. The people are responsible for their regime, no matter how pretty they are. Go back and march through the streets in Tehran; raise your fists. That’s the PR that works, not these advertising photos.

  2. Interesting that all of the Iranian people featured were women. That says great things about their future. Woohoo young leaders!

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