Posts From Author: tehran

“There are no real experts on Iran”: An interview with Hooman Majd

Hooman Majd (website | Twitter) is an Iranian-American journalist, commentator, and author. His three books — The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran; The Ayatollahs’ Democracy: An Iranian Challenge; and The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay: An American Family in Iran (which we reviewed here) — present a view of Iran that’s at once insider and outsider. Born into a diplomatic family, Hooman has often been to Iran but has spent most of his life in the United States; his work reflects the tension and the correspondences between his two nationalities. Aside from his journalistic and authorial endeavors, he runs a very entertaining — and instructive — style blog called The House of Majd. I spoke to Hooman this week about returning to New York from the year he and his family spent in Tehran, Argo, and the state of US-Iranian relations. Charles Arrowsmith: I loved The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay, and particularly the passages about how your wife and son adapted to life in Iran. What was it like to come back? Hooman Majd: Coming back was, to use the old cliché, bittersweet. I mean, we got used to life in Tehran — […]
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A Year in Tehran

The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay: An American Family in Iran by Hooman Majd NY: Anchor Books, 2014; 272pp “I advise you not to hang around the Americans very much.” This friendly advice, given to the author and journalist Hooman Majd by a doorman at a hotel in Tehran, while he is travelling with a CNN crew, in some ways typifies his experience at the hands of Iranian officialdom. In The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay: An American Family in Iran, Majd chronicles the year he recently spent with his (American) wife and baby son living in his motherland. It was the year of what Majd calls Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s “big sulk;” the Occupy movement; the main events of the Arab Spring. At a fraught political juncture, there is perhaps inevitably a strong Kafkaesque flavor to much of Majd and his friends’ interactions with the police and the government. But while this excellent, concise work of social commentary doesn’t shy away from politics, its fascination and pleasure lie just as much in its gentle revelation of everyday life in Iran. Nostalgia, an insoluble emotion at the best of times, ghosts both what has been and what […]
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