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Tehran's Transformation: Urban Evolution and Political Aspirations

April 9, 2024
You in IranWire
Despite its proximity to Keshavarz Boulevard, this square remains primarily a conduit for transient foot traffic rather than a destination unto itself
Despite its proximity to Keshavarz Boulevard, this square remains primarily a conduit for transient foot traffic rather than a destination unto itself
Venturing southward from the depths of Vali-Asr square, one encounters a serene enclave adorned with a central pond encircled by stately white columns
Venturing southward from the depths of Vali-Asr square, one encounters a serene enclave adorned with a central pond encircled by stately white columns
However, the communal spirit of this space has been obscured by the imposition of a glass barrier, marking its transition into an enclosed realm
However, the communal spirit of this space has been obscured by the imposition of a glass barrier, marking its transition into an enclosed realm

By Matin Sajjadi, citizen journalist

Tehran - For more than twenty years, Tehran has functioned as a springboard for ambitious individuals seeking to attain political prominence within the Islamic Republic. 

The Tehran Municipality provided the launching pad for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's successful presidential campaign, while the BRT buses and scenic Chitgar Lake played pivotal roles in shaping Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf's image as a Jihadi manager.

Presently, the contentious discourse surrounding the construction of a mosque in Qeytarieh Park, led by Alireza Zakani, is intimately intertwined with his aspirations for the mayoralty of Tehran. 

Tehran's Transformation: Urban Evolution and Political Aspirations

At the heart of Tehran's urban fabric lies a central square characterized by a towering billboard, reflecting the pulse of current events and cultural celebrations. 

Whether broadcasting updates on conflicts such as the Hamas-Israel war or commemorating occasions like Yalda, alongside governmental anniversaries, this space serves as a commanding podium for the authoritative institutions of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). 

What was once a serene pond has now transformed into a cavernous pit, perpetually primed to host cost-effective religious and governmental gatherings. 

Tehran's Transformation: Urban Evolution and Political Aspirations

Despite its proximity to Keshavarz Boulevard, this square remains primarily a conduit for transient foot traffic rather than a destination unto itself.

Venturing southward from the depths of Vali-Asr square, one encounters a serene enclave adorned with a central pond encircled by stately white columns. 

However, the communal spirit of this space has been obscured by the imposition of a glass barrier, marking its transition into an enclosed realm. 

Today, it stands as a silent testament to the plight of its visionary architect, Mir Hossein Mousavi, marooned behind barriers inaccessible to the public eye.

Tehran's Transformation: Urban Evolution and Political Aspirations
Tehran's Transformation: Urban Evolution and Political Aspirations

Continuing along the thoroughfare, one arrives at a raised platform nestled between a bustling take-out cafe and a renowned ice cream parlor. 

Once a vibrant nexus where patrons savored coffee and ice cream amidst lively conversations, it now lies desolate, punctuated only by barren cement pots and obstructive metal fences.

The construction of an underpass at the Vali-Asr intersection aimed to streamline pedestrian flow. 

However, its labyrinthine layout, lined with vendors hawking food and clothing, renders navigation a formidable challenge. 

Tehran's Transformation: Urban Evolution and Political Aspirations
Tehran's Transformation: Urban Evolution and Political Aspirations

Emerging from the subterranean maze, the city theater comes into view, its grandeur overshadowed by the imposing silhouette of a newly built mosque.

Continuing eastward, past landmarks like Ferdowsi Square and Darvazeh Dolat, lies Roshandelan Bridge. 

Tehran's Transformation: Urban Evolution and Political Aspirations

Yet, its poorly lit walkways and desolate underbelly cast a pall over the nighttime traveler's experience.

For those returning to Tehran after a decade-long absence, the metamorphosis of Imam Hossein Square into a dystopian realm of foreboding structures may evoke a profound sense of disorientation.

Tehran's Transformation: Urban Evolution and Political Aspirations

Originally envisioned as a pedestrian thoroughfare connecting Imam Hossein Square to Shohada Square, its current iteration serves as a hybrid crossing and parking facility, occasionally hosting official ceremonies in its northwest quadrant.

Tehran's Transformation: Urban Evolution and Political Aspirations

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