More than two decades after their parents rose up against the excesses of the Shah, increasing numbers of young Iranians are risking jail for things their counterparts in the West take for granted: wearing makeup, slow dancing at parties, holding hands with members of the opposite sex. Arrests of youngsters oftentimes take place at parties raided by hardline religious paramilitaries of roughly their own age, brandishing AK-47s. And every day anxious parents queue at the courthouse to bail out their children, who - in furious defiance of Ayatollah Khomeini's brand of sombre religiosity - have been detained for 'moral crimes'. Kaveh Basmenji, who spent his own youth amidst the turbulence of the Islamic Revolution, argues that Iran's youth are in near-open revolt for want of greater personal freedom. Yet not long ago it was young Iranians who occupied the American embassy, or who vied for martyrdom during the disastrous Iran-Iraq War. Basmenji interviews members of one of the world's youngest-populated countries and tries to get to the heart of the matter: what do Iran's youth want, and how far are their elders prepared to accommodate them?
Kaveh Basmenji was born in Tehran in 1961, and started work as a journalist at the age of sixteen. He has translated several Western literary works into Persian, and has worked for Reuters and the Middle East Times, amongst others. He has published several collections of essays and poems and is currently working on his first novel. He lives in Prague.