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Barbie and Other Stories

August 2, 2017
Weekly Roundup
2 min read
Barbie and Other Stories

Dear friends,

Searching for Barbie in Tehran! One man’s quest for a perfect nose has all the elements of an early Almodovar movie. We caught up with Rodrigo Alves, aka “the human Ken Doll,” and his plastic surgeon yesterday. “According to my research, because people perform a lot of nose jobs there, Iran is the number one country in the world for rhinoplasty [nose jobs],” Mr Alves told IranWire in a phone interview from his hotel in Tehran. 

Rodrigo — sorry, Ken — arrived in Tehran a few days before President Rouhani’s inauguration, on August 5. But we still don’t know who will be in Rouhani’s cabinet. He’s busy planning, but since the Supreme Leader must approve some of the key appointments, he really has limited control over how it will take shape. In fact, people from quite a few political alignments are making their views heard, and reformists will probably lose out in all but a few minor roles. 

In recent weeks, Iranian hardliners, especially the Revolutionary Guards, have been criticizing Rouhani and his ministers because of the new deal between Iran and the French oil giant, Total. As we said last week, the main reason for the criticism is that the hardliners really wanted to benefit from the contract themselves, and now they’re doing everything to scuttle the deal between Rouhani and the French. In our five-part series on the Total deal, we look at the 15 criticisms raised by hardliners, and how Rouhani and his allies have responded. We also present two expert analyses from Bijan Khajehpour and Sara Vakhshouri, who say full understanding of the contract is necessary, including the role confidentiality plays and technology transfer, to really get a grip on what the Total deal could mean for Iran’s economic and industry development prospects. 

Unemployment continues to take its toll on Iranian communities, and the country’s women are badly hit. As many as 90 percent of Iranian women of working age have no employment, but one of the problems is how this data has been presented and incorporated into economic policy. Until the government takes an honest look at why millions and millions of women have no job prospects, the problem will only get worse. 

I would also like to share a profile published in the London's Evening Standard about our new mural in Shoreditch to remember the Grenfell Tower disaster — which includes the words from Ben Okri's moving poem: "You saw it in the tears of those who survived." You can also watch the beautiful video we made about the wall. 

As always, please let me know if you have any comments. 

Warm regards 



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