For seven months, Tami Dean and her husband Hossein Rojhantalab traveled over 16,000 miles across Iran. Married for ten years, Dean had yet to meet most of her husband’s family, who live in Iran’s capital city of Tehran. Together, they decided it was time to make the trek.
Rojhantalab says he was “a little nervous” about bringing his wife back to his native country. He has childhood memories of seeing women harassed on the streets, and that had him worried for his wife’s safety. However, they both report that they didn’t encounter any aggressiveness, and that commonplace harassment appears to be a thing of the past.
Dean says she is still touched by the hospitality they experienced throughout their travels. She says her attempts to blend in were futile, despite the headscarves she donned and the smoky-eye make-up techniques she employed. She says people would come up to them to ask about the United States, and were pleasantly surprised when she answered in Farsi, the native language of Iran. These random conversations often led to invitations to tea and even meals with complete strangers.
Rojhantalab and Dean were also present for the election of Iran’s new president, Hasan Rowhani. They say Iranians expressed excitement about casting their votes and that Rowhani’s election prompted parties that lasted all night and poured into the streets.