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Lesson Transcript

Mohammad: Hi everyone! Mohammad here!
Becky: Welcome back to PersianPod101.com! I’m Becky, and this is All-About, Lesson 8 - Introduction to Persian Society.
Mohammad: In this lesson you’ll learn some basic information about Iran.

Lesson focus

Becky: There are so many interesting aspects of Persian society, it's hard to know where to begin!
Mohammad: Well, since the title of this lesson is "Introduction to Persian Society" I’ve picked four topics.
Becky: (laughs) Alright, what are they?
Mohammad: Major cities and city life, family life in Iran, Persian work culture and economy, and politics.
Becky: Great! Let’s start with major cities in Iran.
Mohammad: Ok. Let’s talk about the three most important cities in Iran after the capital - these are Yazd, Kish, and Mashhad.
Becky: Yazd is located in the center of Iran, and being the center of native and original Persians from the beginning of Iran's history, makes it one of the most important cities.
Mohammad: Its main inhabitants are Zoroastrians from Aryan branches, and their symbol is fire and sun.
Becky: One of the interesting points about Yazd is its Desert Architecture, which contains minarets, domes, and wind-catchers. Mohammad, can you tell our listeners what a wind-catcher is?
Mohammad: Sure. The wind-catcher is a long and narrow structure above a house that has holes, which catch the wind's flow and cool down the building.
Becky: That sounds like a great idea! Okay, now what’s the second city we’ll talk about?
Mohammad: Our second city is "Kish", which is located in the South of Iran, and is a port island.
Becky: Because it’s a port island, the city is considered to be the center for sea trade and political and economic connections, through export and import. It’s also a provider of the country's fishing industry.
Mohammad: And there’s more. Kish is also an amusement and travel destination because it has big shopping centers and seaside amusements. The city attracts so many travelers from everywhere, and becomes so crowded during holidays.
Becky: Ok, the next city is "Mashhad", which is the capital of Khorasan province in the North-West of Iran. It’s the second most populated city after Tehran. It was chosen as Iran's capital in the times when Nadershah was king.
Mohammad: Because of the existence of the Imam Reza shrine, and the must-see tomb of Ferdowsi the precious poet, many pilgrims and visitors come to this city. And also, this city is considered the main hub of leather production in Iran, and is home to the unique "Charm Mashhad" company.
Becky: Okay, now let’s move on to the next topic. What about family life in Iran? I know that Iranian families are also getting smaller.
Mohammad: That's right. In the old times, in most families Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, and Grandparents were all living together. However, the size of families has been getting smaller recently, and now having more than 2 children is no longer popular.
Becky: What about the relationships between the family members?
Mohammad: That’s a good question. Although the size is decreasing, there is still a culture of respecting the elders in a family. Therefore, parents or grandparents are still the first ones to be greeted in feasts by children.
Mohammad: Also unlike the old days, despite the tendency for individuality, it’s hard for people to become financially independent until marriage, and it might even be later than that.
Becky: Good to know. Okay, Mohammad, why don't we move on to the Persian Economy and Work Culture?
Mohammad: Of course. Let’s start with the Persian Economy.
Becky: Alright. In 2011, Iran was ranked as the world’s 17th country by size of economy. But in terms of GDP, it is in 78th place worldwide. Iran’s economy has been called a “Transition Economy”, which means it’s changing from a planned to a market economy. And also, the UN classifies Iran’s economy as semi-developed.
Mohammad: Iran’s economy is based on the one big element.. which is..?
Becky: I know the answer! It’s petroleum exports, right?
Mohammad: That's right! Foreign trade, and particularly import and export of petroleum, is one of the main features of Iran's economy, and the results of its income affect all parts of the country.
Becky: Okay. Now let’s move to Politics.
Mohammad: Sure. The Islamic Republic of Iran was formed after the successful Islamic Revolution in February 1979. It's a system based on the religion of Islam, and the people's public vote.
Becky: And in Iran, they have a special name for the political leader, right?
Mohammad: That’s right. We call the person “Vilayat-e-Faghih” meaning "Guardianship of Islamic Jurists" or “Supreme Leader of Iran”. The leader can be chosen by the Assembly of Experts of the Leadership.
Becky: And the members of the assembly will be elected by the peoples’ vote.
Mohammad: That’s right.
Becky: So what are his duties as the Supreme Leader of Iran?
Mohammad: The leader's duty is to determine the general policies of the country, and its total commandership.
Becky: What about the president? Does he have the same power as the leader?
Mohammad: Actually, the president is considered the second biggest power. He is at the top of the administrative forces - with the cooperation of ministers and vice assistants.
Becky: And people vote for the president, right?
Mohammad: That’s right. And he has a 4 year-term.
Becky: Okay. Now let’s talk about the "Parliament" or the "Islamic Consultative Assembly" in Iran.
Mohammad: Its members are the peoples’ representatives, and are selected through their vote. Their duty is to make legislation. There is also the "Guardian Council" that makes sure that the Parliament-approved laws match the Constitution.
Becky: Wow! That's some detailed information. Well, now we’ve covered all our topics for this lesson.
Mohammad: We hope you learned a lot, and enjoyed this lesson.
Becky: Yes, and be sure to join us to learn more about Iran in the next lesson!


Becky: Okay,that’s it for this lesson. See you next time!
Mohammad: Bye.