BBC World Service - Children of the Revolution
Children of the Revolution
In 1979 Iran went through a major upheaval with the Revolution.
While this political and social transformation was just beginning the country
was thrown into a terrible and costly war with Iraq, that would last eight
During these years, the revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, encouraged
Iranians to have large families, to make 'Armies for Islam'.
At the time, Iran's population was 25 million: today the population is 68
million with nearly 70 percent aged 30 or younger - these are the Children of
the Revolution, (also known in Iran as "the burnt generation").
Today unemployment amongs this generation runs at 50 percent. Officially half
the population lives below the poverty line. Prospects for young people are not
good and many graduates are lucky to get jobs as taxi drivers.
This generation of young Iranians has experienced real extremes - the turmoil
of war, social and religious reform, and the conservatism and poverty that
Zohreh Soleimani is not a journalist - but she sets out to give a picture of
Iran that reflects the reality of day to day lives.
The picture is contradictory - Iran is governed by Sharia law but here it has
the lowest mosque attendance of any Islamic country. "To give you an example",
says Zohreh , "I can watch the American programme Baywatch illegally on
satellite television but then go out in the street and obediently cover my
Thirty years since the Revolution many young Iranians have found a way to move
with the times, be creative, technologically smart and fashion conscious. The
Children of the Revolution have come of age and are now destined to be the
religious leaders, run businesses, teach at universities, write books, edit
newspapers, shape the country and its future in the coming decades.
In Programme One, we hear how the war with Iraq acted as a continuation of the
Revolution. The eight years of conflict combined with the threat of a western
take over of the country, is the real cause of the extreme conservatism, fear
and isolation that now defines Iran.
We hear from women, angered that they cannot live independently, but how they
are using their appearance and sexuality to fight the regime. We also hear from
Dash and 5 Grams underground Rock and Heavy Metal bands who survive despite the
a.. Listen 23 mins
b.. Download (mp3)
Download or subscribe to this programme's podcast.